There is never a dull moment with Vinay Pathak be it on the screen or off the screen. Even during the telephonic interview the actor he doesn’t miss a beat to crack a joke.
The 48-year-old who began his career with films like Bombay Boys (1998) and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), reminisces, “Initially all the offers I got were to do the exact same role. I was always the foreign return cousin brother or a relative. I realised that’s all that I was going to get offered in Bollywood. I did Jism (2003) and after that I stopped doing commercial films. I went on to do television. Time and again I can’t be dealing with the same issue. I had a lot of fun doing The Great Indian Comedy Show. After Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) and Bheja Fry (2007) it felt like if one has the platform to tell one’s own stories.”
While talking about choosing small-budget films over big commercial ones, Vinay says, “Commerical offers are always there. But funnily, after doing a commercial film, I have to extricate myself. It is important [for me] to connect to the story of the character. Even if a film that I have acted in makes 100 crore, it doesn’t mean I will keep doing big-budget projects.”
The actor has garnered acclaim for playing comic roles. When asked if feels that he has been stereotyped by the audience, Vinay quips, “Do you blame them (the audience)? They associate an artiste with his or her best work. Amitabh Bachchan is still called the ‘angry young man’. An actor tends to be typecast everywhere, even in Hollywood. If I sit and intellectualise the limitations the tag of a comic actor brings me, it won’t help. At least people are saying good things about me.”
Besides doing movies, Vinay also regularly performs on stage. In fact, he is part of almost all of Rajat Kapoor’s theatre productions. “I like to tell stories of myriad kinds — be it on television, on stage or on screen. I am an actor first. Give me a genre, and I will try and experiment. I am committed to the job more than the genre, to be honest,” says Vinay.
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