How did India’s leading funny man, after two Munnabhais, give up a career-high for a series of duds? Figure out in a chat with Arshad Warsi.
Post-Munnabhai Arshad Warsi hasn’t had much to laugh about despite a string of ha-ha roles.
Circuit gave you a new lease of life but the films that followed, Chocolate, Krazzy 4, Sunday, Dan Dana Dan Goal and more recently Shortkut, had you slipping down the ladder again.
(Sighs) All these films had good scripts and the scope to do well. But as an actor, you don’t have much of a say. You do your best and hope for the best.
In retrospect, where do you think Shortkut went wrong? The promos seemed promising.
When I dubbed for the film it was four-and-a-half hours and two-and-a-half hours were great comedy. I didn’t see much of those comic portions when the film released.
During post-production, particularly during editing, Shortkut veered away from its original concept. It was projected as a comedy but turned out to be a drama. You can’t lie to the audience. They can smell it immediately.
Didn’t your reported differences with co-star Akshaye Khanna also contribute to its early demise?
There were never any problems with Akshaye.
Post-Munnabhai you seem to be stuck with the comic hero image.
Yeah. I seem to have got stuck with comedy. Sehar proved I was good for other roles too but I wasn’t offered another Sehar. Fortunately, the last four scripts I’ve heard are serious subjects. I’d like to strike a balance between light and intense roles.
Could the change be because of Ishqiya?
Yeah, Ishqiya is a realistic film with an undercurrent of humour. I’ve spent hours on my dialect and look. I hope the effort is appreciated.
The audience is open to watching an Aamir Khan in an emotional Taare Zameen Par, a gray Fanaa and an action-packed Ghajini. Ditto for other actors. It’s our producers who instead of concentrating on scripts, concentrate on actors. A good script will always find a good actor.
Ek Se Bure Do, Mr White Mr Black, Zamaanat… You’ve been slowed down by a backlog of delayed films.
After Munnabhai MBBS I waited eight months for the good films to come along. When none did, I accepted what I got. Every actor goes through such phases, triggered by insecurity and desperation. These films had to release some day but I’ve finally cleared the backlog. There are no more skeletons left.
It’s been three years since Lage Raho Munnabhai. Hasn’t Circuit lost some of his brand equity? When is the third film in the series coming?
That can’t happen even after 25 years. The third installment should come next year depending on Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Raju Hirani who’s been really busy with 3 Idiots.
Can Golmaal and Dhamaal become big brands?
No, they are different films and have been big successes. So, it’s good to be a part of these projects too.
Is Kaun Bola?, your home production, light or heavy?
It’s a sweet, commercial film that leaves you feeling elevated. Kaun Bola? is only the working title of my film. I don’t like it much. When I wrote the first draft, the title was I Believe In Angels. It’s so apt for a romantic drama but may be a little too Anglicized. Still, if it can convey an impression of the film, why not? I believe in angels.
Buzz is that the angelic Dia Mirza who’s opposite you in your home production, has been giving your wife, Maria, grief.
Dia is a dear friend. I really like her. These rumours are sick! Maria was never threatened by Dia. She was a little hassled because while shooting my home production, I was out of the country for a very long time. It wasn’t so bad during Ishqiya because though I was cut off in Wai, I’d drive down every time there was a break. (Smiles) I live in my own cave and can be happy anywhere. During Kabul Express, I was as much at home in Afghanistan as I am in my apartment. That’s me!
So, will 2010 resurrect Arshad Warsi?
I’ve already been resurrected once. I don’t want to die too often.