He ain’t no Sean Penn bringing a Harvey Milk alive on screen, but he is certainly ‘milking’ the opportunities coming his way. Even if that means playing a man grappling with his sexuality in a twisted love tale.
“A story like this hasn’t been told on Indian screen till date,” says actor Vinay Pathak of his new comedy, Straight — Pinu Patel Ki Tedhi Medhi Love Story. God, we’ve heard that a million times already. But he insists, “We aren’t poking fun at homosexuals like others.”
Making a statement in a keffiyeh and shades, he discusses male bonding during his recent visit to the Capital. “Till now, homosexuality was only discussed in passé. It was a comic relief. But with this film, we intend on questioning alternate orientation seriously,” he confides.
And that doesn’t deter him from trashing Bollywood’s sudden fascination with gaydom after the success of Dostana. “You know how Bollywood is. Everyone wants to cash in on it. Though my film is nothing like Milk, it doesn’t look down upon people with alternate sexuality either.”
Clinching a Parvathy Balagopalan (Straight…) film isn’t his only recent win. A Yash Raj fave after Aaja Nachle and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Vinay says he reads up at least 30 scripts a month. “I’m still all for change. I don’t know if I end up picking the films others reject, I just go by the storyline. But that doesn’t mean I’ll repeat a Bheja Fry or Dasvidaniya. I have to constantly challenge myself,” he says.
Talking about his skills as a producer, Vinay says, rather honestly, “I don’t understand the business tangent of movie making. That’s not my expertise. I can only make myself available for the creative inputs.”
For someone who’s climbed his way up from television, Vinay hasn’t done bad at all. After charming Madhuri Dixit (who he calls “such a doll”), he’s now doing a film called SRK, which has nothing to do with the superstar.
“It’s a film about a dreamer who doesn’t want to face the reality. Besides SRK, where I play a lazy bum, I have Mumbai Cutting, Pappu Can’t Dance Saala, Saurabh Shukla’s Raat Gayi Baat Gayi and Mumbai Chakachak in which I play an antagonist. I’m dead excited about it,” he concludes. So are we.