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Riteish Deshmukh unplugged!

Riteish Deshmukh, in a rib-tickling session, admits to pre-release jitters, getting into politics and ‘being a rooster’.

entertainment Updated: Apr 09, 2010 19:38 IST
Rachana Dubey

Ritesh DeshmukhActor Riteish Deshmukh, in a rib-tickling session, admits to pre-release jitters, getting into politics and ‘being a rooster’.

After long, one of your solo-hero projects, Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai releases today. Apprehensive?
Nope. I meticulously work on all my projects, but its success is never in my hands. I feel pre-release jitters for every film. I think it’s how a film is pitched to the audience that makes a lot of difference. Besides, if it’s a small budget, single hero film like Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai, it’s not as much money riding on me. And likewise, the returns expected are not all that high.

Is it difficult for you to keep switching between solo and multiple-actor projects?
I debuted in 2003. I did a few solo projects. The scripts that came to me afterwards were extremely boring and unexciting. Eventually, I took on two-hero films like Bluffmaster and three-hero films like Masti and Heyy Babyy and four-hero films like ApnaSapna Money Money. They all did decently well. I agree there was pressure on me to push Apna Sapna… a bit, but other than that, I have never been under nerve-wrecking pressure.

You made a solo debut with Tujhe Meri Kasam (2003). What made you get into so many ensemble cast films like Dhamaal and Apna Sapna Money Money after that?
Trends were changing. Solo-hero films were neither making money nor sense. There was nothing new about them. And multiple-hero projects were aplenty and were in variety. I wasn’t afraid at all before entering any ensemble cast.

Don’t you feel lost in a film with a huge star cast?
I’ve worked with Akshay Kumar in two films. He never makes anyone insecure on the set. That makes my belief strong that if the biggest star on the set doesn’t make you insecure, nothing can.

In less than three weeks, you’ll have had two big releases, Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai and HouseFull. Does that scare you?
Not at all. In fact, it’s a good thing that you have two big projects releasing in three weeks. Sometimes, you end up having two releases in a week. This isn’t as tricky!

The promos of HouseFull give an impression that it’s a Heyy Babyy sequel.
It’s probably because Akshay and I play friends in both the films, Sajid Khan is the director and Boman (Irani) is common. Other than that, there is nothing similar and it’s not a sequel.

Why has Jaane Kahan… been in the making for so long?
It was a thought process. It’s difficult to make a simple film. We had to keep it nice and sweet. We started shooting in late 2008 and completed the film by mid-2009.

So, what took it a year to release?
The multiplex-producer tiff took a long time to subside. And then, Aladdin (2009) was expected to release.

In hindsight, you had high expectations from Aladdin that became one of the colossal flops of 2009. Disappointed?
Of course, I was disappointed. I had worked very hard on it, and so had everyone else. All of us, as a team, wanted it to work. But you can only do so much.

Is Ram Gopal Varma’s Warning still on? Apparently, he has started a project with John Abraham…
Yes, we’re working on the script. Once we seal it, we’ll start working on it.

While working together, you taught Marathi to your co-star Jacqueline Fernandez.
No. I didn’t sit down to teach her. Jacqueline is the curious sort. We were at the Clash Of The Titans premiere. The photographers asked her to pose for them. They said, “Ithe, ithe…” (look here). She asked me what that meant. Likewise, on the sets, if she heard someone say something, she would ask me what it was. Once on the sets, she came and asked me, “Jeolas kay?” (Have you eaten?) I was stumped. She told me she had learnt it from her staff. She asked me to teach her something and I taught her, “Jai Maharashtra”.

‘I’m proud of my son who is an actor’
Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Vilasrao Deshmukh recounts his son, Riteish’s achievements

He never showed any signs of becoming an actor when he was a child. He was an architect. He was in a different space when he was pursuing it. Suddenly, one of those days in 2002, he came home and informed us that he had an offer in hand for Tujhe Meri Kasam and he would be the hero in the film.

For two-three days, we were all puzzled. We didn’t know where and how he changed lanes. Eventually, we all came to terms with it. My wife Vaishali and I stood by him and told him to follow his heart. We assured him that we would be beside him even if something doesn’t work out. He has worked hard and is a success story today.

What hasn’t changed over the years is that Riteish is still clued into rajkarya (politics), like he was before he joined the film industry.
He understands how a political outfit functions, how a politician works, what kind of life he has and the trials of holding a high office. He discusses current affairs at home even today, with his brothers, Amit and Dheeraj, and me. He is a talented actor who has his mind in place.

With him joining the film fraternity, we as a family, were exposed to a world, which is full of colour, art of various kinds and stiff competition. I can see that my son is working extremely hard to do better work in every film he signs on.

When I saw him in Apna Sapna Money Money (2006), I and his mother thought that if we had a daughter, she would look like he did in the movie. He was outstanding. I can understand that he had to wear feminine clothes and adapt to a certain body language because his work demanded it.

My personal favourites are Tujhe Meri Kasam (2003), Dhamaal (2007), Masti (2004), Rann (2010) and Bluffmaster (2005). I think he was supremely good in these films. I would especially mention Rann and Tujhe Meri Kasam because one was a serious character and the other was his first film.

Riteish: I would love to do a marathi film
Since I’m clued in to the current affairs, I’m aware that taxi drivers were threatened to learn Marathi, or else they wouldn’t be allowed to ferry passengers in the city. Since I belong to a politician’s family, I’ll reserve my comments on this issue. When I see Marathi filmmakers making films in Hindi, I feel they have a right to do so.

Likewise, a non-Marathi director can make a Marathi film. They can all make Hollywood films if they please to. It’s how you want to broaden your horizon. As an artiste, whose mother tongue is Marathi, I’d love to work in a Marathi film. I even had offers, but somehow, it didn’t work out.

Riteish: My father, for me, is an agriculturist
My father always complained that none of his kids ever bragged about being a politician’s sons. We always spoke of our father as an agriculturist in school and college, which he still is for us. And so are we. Like my father, I would consider politics, but it’s not in the offing right now.

‘I’m not doing Dostana 2’
National Bingo Night is Abhishek’s (Bachchan) show. When I was on the show, I pulled off an impromptu Dostana act on him. We have a joke between us actually. So, probably everyone thought that I was doing Dostana 2. I’m not.
‘ROHIT AND I MET FOR A PROJECT, BUT…’

I met Rohit Shetty for a project. I won’t name it but the deal didn’t work out between us for various reasons. But I love his films and I would love to be part of them.

Dhamaal 2 will be dhamaal
Indra Kumar has recently had a meeting with the cast members. The script for Dhamaal 2 has been locked. We have been given a clear picture of our parts. We’ll start shooting hopefully by May-June.

‘No discrimination on sexual preferences please’
I think being homosexual, bi-sexual, lesbian or gay is a personal preference. Discriminating socially on these grounds is unfair. It’s not a disease. Some people make serious films on them and some make fun films around their sexual preferences. But no discrimination in society please!

Riteish Deshmukh in a rapid-fire session


1

After dubbing for Coochie Coochie Hota Hai, do you plan to lead a dog’s life?

No, I prefer the rooster’s.

2 What if you woke up and realised that you were a woman from Venus?
I’d think the men on this planet are really worth it.

3What if you woke up and realised you were a film producer?
I would learn how to cut loses and make profits.

4 What if you became a normal Indian girl?
I would start going after boys.

5 Which actor would you date then?
Johnny Depp. I would want him to be the pirate of my Caribbean!

6 And if you became Karan Johar?
I’d be happy that I’m finally a talented man!

'I haven't seen a single IPL match'

Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and I are really close, but I haven’t had the time to watch a single IPL match this year, with two releases back to back. Ideally, I would have loved to be in the stadium with Shah Rukh and support Kolkata Knight Riders.