Ali Asgar who is known for his role as Kamal in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, currently stars in Sab TV's Jeannie Aur Juju with Giaa Manek. The actor is also known for playing female parts in Comedy Circus, but now, after his family has voiced their displeasure about it, he has decided not to dress up in drag anymore.
After many comedy shows, what attracted you to Jeannie Aur Juju?
I took on the show due to producer Rajiv Mehra, who gave me a break years ago. Also the fact that it was a remake of I Dream Of Jeannie and everyone loves fantasy stories. That was my connect. There was also a bigger reason…
In the Comedy Circus Ke Tansen season, which Kapil Sharma and I won, I played female characters, such as mother-in-law, teacher, dancer etc., in over 17 episodes. I was watching the semi-final with my eight-year-old son and in that episode I was playing yet another woman's role. He turned around and said, 'What is this papa? Aap ko kuch aur nahin aata kya?' (Don't you know anything else?). It really hurt me but I realised that my family didn't want me to play such roles. People have told me time and again that I mimic Basanti (Hema Malini's character from Sholay; 1975) very well. My family felt that I can do better.
That's when I promised my son that I will not play a woman's role. He told me that his friends even teased him about this. So now I always turn down such roles even if I have been offered potloads of money.
Was playing the lead role also a factor?
I never think of anything but the role. I call myself God's child, as there has never been a dearth of work for me. Yes, I am enjoying playing the lead, but there are a lot of pressures for the same. People just wait to point fingers at you.
In Comedy Circus, TV serial actors are usually mocked for their acting skills. What do you think of that?
In that show you have to deliver every day and the pressure gets to you. The writer too gets exhausted writing week after week. So we joke about our co-stars as a crutch to help our act. I won't say it's good or bad, but everyone is in the know and no one minds it if we poke fun at them.
You do films some times, but usually you concentrate more on TV roles. Why is that?
I have never been the kind to chase after a medium. For me, working is more important be it in films or on TV. I am not dying to work in films, but whenever I have got any offers luckily, they have been good and noticeable parts. It is tough to do films and TV simultaneously, so I would rather focus on one at a time.