Ritiesh Deshmukh prefers power play of a different kind. Hiren Kotwani tells more.
Your brother, Anil Deshmukh, is contesting the forthcoming elections and you’ve started campaigning for him?
If it is family or a good friend, of course I’ll campaign for him. But dad (Vilasrao Deshmukh) is the one with all the experience. He’s the best person to guide Anil.
Don’t you plan on following your father and brother into politics too?
Right now, I’m enjoying my career as an actor. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Since dad is a prominent leader, there are bound to be speculations before every election. But as of now, there are no plans to join politics.
When the Taj Mahal Hotel was cleared after the terror attacks, Ram Gopal Varma and you accompanied your father and cost him his job as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Any regrets?
I’ve already spoken on this subject. I’ve answered all queries related to the 26/11 attacks. There’s nothing more I can add to it. Let’s talk about my films instead.
Sure. What are you doing in a typical David-Dhawan multistarrer, Do Knot Disturb?
(Grins) I’ve done comedies with directors like Priyadarshan and Indra Kumar before. And I’ve been waiting six years to work with David. I enjoy his kind of cinema.
Weren’t you apprehensive about being sidelined in a Govinda-David Dhawan film?
I know what my role is and how much there is to it. Just because two people have known each other for years doesn’t mean I have to get insecure. I’m aware that Govinda is a far superior actor and once I accepted that and was comfortable in my own space, I was fine.
Apart from Lara (Dutta) and Sohail (Khan), it was a new set-up. It took me a day to settle in, to understand the director and what he expected from me.
Aren’t you getting stereotyped as a comic actor?
I’m comfortable doing comedy and I’ve got a sense of timing now. What works for me is that I can easily adapt to my co-actor’s style. My scenes with Govinda are very different from those with Sanjay (Dutt) or Akshay (Kumar). Different actors have different energy levels.
So you’ve found your niche.
(Smiles) I tried action in Fight Club and Cash. I did lunges and parachute jumping. The films didn’t work and my efforts weren’t even noticed.
So, has your strategy changed?
I’ve realised that you have two options: Wait for a good film to come to you or choose from what comes your way. It may not be the biggest or the best but you hope it works.
Most of my small films did well, whether it was a Tujhe Meri Kasam or a Kya Kool Hain Hum. And I progressed to choosing from not-so-good films to decent films. Now, I have to let go of some good films because I don’t have the time.
Most of your recent releases have been multi-starrers. Are you steering clear of solo films after Tujhe Meri Kasam?
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, films aren’t made in 24 hours. It takes a year for a movie to move from conceptualisation to release. I’ve graduated from five-hero to four, three and two-hero movies. I recently wrapped up a solo starrer, Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai, with Milap Zaveri. Let’s see how it fares. I don’t want to rush into anything. I only want to make good films. If it’s an interesting concept like Do Knot Disturb, does it matter if there are two heroes or four?
Aladin is finally scheduled for release on October 30. It’s been in the making for a really long time.
We knew the film would take a while. Pre-production alone took eight months. Aladin is a story we are all familiar with so director Sujoy Ghosh needed to give it a new twist and set it in today’s time. There’s lot happening on screen… Flying daggers, dancing flames, a romantic story and great action, It’s a complete family entertainer. (Smiles) And this is the first Aladin who hates lamps.
Do you hate lamps too?
(Laughs) Arrey nahin, since I was a child I’ve been rubbing vessels, glasses, pots, pans, anything, hoping a genie would appear.
Amitabh Bachchan is playing the genie… Sanjay Dutt is the villain. Will you end up as an insipid lover boy?
No film is about any one person. Sanju is larger than life and Mr Bachchan is the biggest actor the country has ever produced.
Only two people can take on Mr Bachchan – Mr Bachchan himself and Sanjay Dutt. They are magical together but don’t worry, there’s room for me too.
Despite all the denials, the buzz about you dating Genelia D’Souza continues. Apparently, you’ve even discussed her with your mother as a prospective Deshmukh bahu. Comment.
Some papers write anything and you are expected to clarify. But why should I discuss a non-issue? It used to bother me a couple of years ago but now I’ve decided to let go.
Doesn’t your family question you about Genelia?
No, they don’t, and thank God for that!