It has been 15 years since Vinay Pathak made his acting debut. In this period, he has been part of a variety of films, including some critically acclaimed ones — Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006), Bheja Fry (2007), Johnny Gaddaar (2007) and Manorama Six Feet Under (2007), for instance. He has, however, been slotted as a funny actor with great comic timing. As his new film, Bajatey Raho, gets ready for release, the actor opens up about his image and how he has been tackling it.
Do you agree that you have been stereotyped mainly as a comic actor?
Any actor — be it Marlon Brando, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan or Irrfan — who is playing a principal character will get slotted right after his first film. After that, it’s your endeavour to play different characters and roles and not get stuck in an image.
You’ve never worked with Tusshar Kapoor or Ravi Kishan before?
It has been a blast. Tusshar and I, for example, have known each other for a long time. He fit the role like a glove. Tusshar and Ranveer (Shorey) are the comic duo, while I play a slightly intense character.
You must be getting many similar scripts?
Sure, I do. Run-of-the-mill stories do come to me, and it’s an effort to keep them away. But I’m not looking down upon them. I can’t be bored while working because it’s my job after all.
People feel you work a lot with Ranveer as a comic duo.
Actually, Ranveer and I haven’t done many films as a comic duo if you look at Jism (2006), Bheja Fry, Mithya (2008) and even Aaja Nachle (2007). In public memory, we are still the comic pair from comedy TV shows. That’s why people think, ‘Yeh to hamesha saath mein hi kaam karte hain’ (They always work together).
Have you consciously tried to keep away from a set image?
My only effort has been to do different kinds of cinema. After Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), I decided I can’t be part of mainstream cinema, where I was just playing someone’s brother or distant cousin from America. But every time you build an image, it’s difficult to shrug it off.
What made you say yes to Bajatey Raho, which looks like another comedy film?
It’s an interesting script. And for me, that’s always the first priority. Secondly, of course that this is Shashant’s (Shah; director) third film and we have had a long association. Also, the film has an interesting ensemble cast. There were a lot of pluses for me.