He has a virtual blitz of films coming up: Hello Darling, Forest,Shourya, Singh Is King, Vada Pao, and Waiting For Clinton. Which means Javed Jafferi isn't being confined to the funny guy category.
When I meet him at his well appointed apartment in the suburbs, he says right away, "There were so many points in my life when I felt extremely frustrated and ignored. Still, I have no negative feelings. I'm not bitter that the film industry could not recognise my potential to become a hero."
Now that he's on a self-analytical mode, he continues, "Okay, so I may not look like Salman or Aamir Khan. But every hero doesn't have typical good looks either. I think I lost out because I did not know the art of networking..or blowing my own trumpet."
Hit or miss
Subhash Ghai's Meri Jung had presented Javed Jafferi as a baddy way back in 1985. Then he appeared in films like Lashkar, Jawani Zindabad and 100 Days.
"But I wasn't promoted the way Jackie Shroff and Madhuri Dixit were," he clucks.
Jafferi had a significant role alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Ketan Mehta's O Darling Yeh Hai India but the film bombed, compelling him take on the television show Flashback.
Several of his friends told him that it was a suicidal move to take on TV at that stage of his career.
<b1>The TV show on Channel V did keep Jafferi visible.
"I was the pioneer in Hinglish. Till I did Flashback, I felt as if I was rusting. The show clicked.. though I had fun on the show, I made it a point not to make fun of people."
Next: Jafferi took up the show Timex Timepass in which he played 14 different characters with minimal make up.
Years elapsed. He was acknowledged as a fine actor but ghettoised as a comedian. And that gets him down.
"I'm fine with character roles but why do I have to be stereotyped as the ha-ha guy?" he asks, pointing out that he has dubbed for Jugal Hansraj's animation film Roadside Rascal which also includes the voices of Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
The actor asserts,"I can do a Salaam Namaste as well as a Dhamaal. Kids accepted me as a superhero in Jajantaram Mamantaram even before Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish were released. I can do a role like Saif did in Dil Chahta Hai.
I can even do what Paresh Rawal does - though he has his own limitations because of his age and personality. But please, I'm just talking about my capabilities as an actor.. I am not on an ego trip at all."
Vis-à-vis his experience as an actor, he states dramatically, "Even a sweeper will sweep better if he keeps on sweeping for 23 years. I have managed to stay alive as an actor despite certain speed breakers in my life. I have earned money respectably-not through films but television.
Pick and choose
"Contrary to what popular belief, I have only acted in one TV serial-Chanda Narang's
.. that too way back in 1993 on Doordarshan."
For wrap-up, he says, "I'm glad I could stay afloat though I am not a typical mainstream actor. I command respect and I've been called versatile.
"Although I was the first to start today's type of dancing in films, I had the guts to refuse a dance number with Sridevi in Farishtay and with Archana Puran Singh in Agneepath. I didn't want to end up as just another item number."