Last year was particularly good for actor Riteish Deshmukh. He not only explored a new facet of his acting prowess by playing a negative character in
(2014), but also turned over a new leaf in his personal life with the birth of his baby boy, Riaan. Here, the actor talks about his "changed" life, his wish to explore genres other than comedy, and more.
Do you manage to spend enough time with your newborn?
I want to be more organised than I am right now. I want to make sure that Sundays are for family. I plan to shoot only till 6pm, so that I can go home on time. If regular office-going folks can do it, why can’t actors?
How much has fatherhood changed you?
It’s a welcome change — the most amazing thing that can happen in a man’s life. Life changes when you get married, it changes again when you become a father, and both have been great for me. I’m blessed.
When will Genelia (his wife) return to the big screen?
I hope she does. I am a huge Genelia fan, and I would love to see her on the screen again.
Today, Bollywood sees a new face every couple of months, unlike the time you made your debut…
At that time, bigger production houses did not want to touch newcomers. They always worked with big stars. But later, they started betting on newer people. So, it’s great. Today, newcomers are in a better position than we were 10 years ago, and that’s because of good scripts, better projection and the kind of backing they get.
Have you seen a shift in Bollywood content over the years?
The fact that Ek Villain was offered to me is a big change. I don’t think the film would’ve been offered to me five years ago. People are ready to watch and accept actors in different roles. An evolving audience is the primary reason for the change.
Did your portrayal of a villain in Ek Villain change things for you in any way?
Yes, a lot. The fact that there are subjects that have been offered to me, not only in the comedy genre, but serious drama and even action post that [says a lot]. I’m really looking forward to.
But comedy has always been your comfort zone…
I don’t think I have a favourite genre. I’ve been lucky that the comedies I have done so far have worked well at the box office. In fact, the reason I’ve probably survived [in the industry] is because of comedy. This genre has also given me opportunities to explore other things. So yes, I will keep doing comedies, but I’m looking forward to doing other genres too.
What’s the thought process of a producer versus that of an actor?
My choices as an actor and producer are two completely different things. As a producer, I will do a Balak Palak (2012), Yellow (2014), and Lai Bhaari (2014). These are films, that in the Marathi space, will have a certain viability to do well. But if you do the same films in Hindi, the dynamics might change. One needs to understand the market you make certain movies for.
There’s been a lot of change in the Marathi film industry, too, in the recent times.
For the past two-three years, there’s been a momentum, with good content doing really well. And, of late, it’s getting the support of good commerce too. The fact that films are making Rs 30-40 crore means good business for a Marathi movie.
At this point in your career, you’re working with Karan Anshumaan, a new director, in your upcoming film Bangistan. Is it a bit of a risk?
You look at the integrity with which you are offered a film. I’ve always been working with directors, who’re new. It’s not that I’m only looking for established directors. I’ve mostly, invariably, worked with people who’re either new or haven’t given a successful film. And it doesn’t matter as long as I think the subject of the film is good.