Looking at the posters of the forthcoming Apna Sapna Money Money, one can’t miss Ritiesh Deshmukh in his different avatars.
Apart from his regular appearance, he will also be seen as a 70-year-old Nepali, a veteran dance master and a young girl, the object of Anupam Kher’s character’s affections.
Before you think Deshmukh is doing a Sanjeev Kumar from Naya Din Nayi Raat, the talented youngster is playing just one character who dons various get-ups along during the course of the comedy.
“I hope the audience enjoys it as we had great fun making it,” says Deshmukh when we meet at the Mukta Arts office.
|Ritiesh Deshmukh in a still from the filmApna Sapna Money Money.|
Elaborating on playing a girl for a good length of the film, he says, “Ya, that was the toughest and most challenging part. It took a couple of days to get the looks right, with make-up and appropriate hairstyles for Sania, who Kishen impersonates. Fortunately, one doesn’t need to be extremely particular and realistic. Getting the make-up and hair done for the girl would take up to five hours. So I ended up being in that get-up for more than half a day, over 20 days.”
If getting the look was a long process, maintaining it was another task. “I’d shave every morning before make-up. But by the evening I would have slight stubble. So in the evening I had to shave and get made-up again. Of course, there was also waxing to worry about, but I was sure I wouldn’t wax my legs.”
That might have not been an issue, unless his girl avatar is wearing outfits that show ‘her’ legs. “You’ll have a good laugh at the scene where a character comments on the girl’s legs being hairy, and she says, ‘Yes, I’m like that only’.”
Comedy is serious business for Deshmukh, who admits, “I learnt a lot from observing the actresses in the film. Sometimes I’d ask them to repeat a gesture as that would help in my performance.”
He says the look of a 70-year-old Nepali “was comparatively easier and took half the time in make up. But since he’s an old Nepali, we got a prosthetic nose for him, a gray wig and moustache,” he says. “Besides, this was only a couple of days’ shooting.”
He’s glad the make-up looked perfect. “On the first day, the unit guys were wondering who this old Nepali man was and what he was doing loitering about, till it was my time to face the camera.” If that wasn’t enough, Deshmukh also poses as 60 year old dance master, Sarju Maharaj.
“We got a different prosthetic nose for him. Besides, this character has eye-bags so that detailing had to be added in the makeup. Being a dance master, he has a certain
about him, which I incorporated into those scenes.”
Interestingly, this look fooled Akshay Kumar, who was shooting on the neighbouring floor at Film City. “During a break, I went on the sets of Jaan-e-Mann. I greeted Akshay and we had a brief chat. Only when I turned to leave, did he recognise me and called me back saying he thought I was someone else,” recounts Deshmukh.
Did Deshmukh ever suffer an identity crisis, juggling these different characters? “No, there wasn’t any confusion as such,” he replies, adding, “The moment the director said ‘Cut!’ and the camera was off, I was my self again. There was never any confusion even between the characters of Sarju Maharaj and Sania.” Deshmukh is content with the way his performance has come out and makes no bones about his most satisfying portrayal.
“Playing the girl was the most satisfying as it was the most challenging. Despite all the thoughts going through my head from the time I first wore a girl’s outfit and sat for make-up, to the longest walk from the van to the sets, to the last shot, it was all worth the time, pain, effort — everything that went into playing the role.”