Every Friday and Saturday he reports at Film City to shoot for his first dance reality TV show, Zara Nachke Dikha for Star Plus. Actor-producer-director Arshad Warsi gets nostalgic on the sets because the experience reminds him of his life as a choreographer and of days when he attended dance competitions in colleges and judged them.
“I try and keep my temper and my tongue in control, but I cannot speak as per the script. If I like a performance, I go all out to laud it, but if I don’t, I don’t mince words. Maybe that’s why I appear to be the rude character amidst the three judges on the panel,” says Warsi.
He recalls how judging a dance contest at St Xavier’s College led him to meet his wife Maria. “Imagine if I didn’t go to her college that day, I wouldn’t have seen her and fallen in love with her. Life wouldn’t have been the same, right?” he laughs.
Excerpts from a conversation with Arshad Warsi:
You’re one man with two women on the judges’ panel. Feel hen-pecked?
(Laughs) Not at all, I love both of them. Vaibhavi (Merchant) is more of a boy. She looks at every performance objectively and is precise in her judgement. I respect Shilpa’s (Shetty) opinion too. She looks at it more as a performer. She has no starry hang-ups. And no, the ladies don’t try to dominate me. They’re rather sweet.
Considering you represent the boys’ team on the show, you aren’t too sweet to them…
Arrey! My job is not to be sweet to them and be nasty to the girls. I have to be fair. It’s not like I enjoy being sharp-tongued, but when I feel that the boys are too relaxed about their performance, I sternly remind them that they are competing with girls who’re excellent dancers.
And do the boys take criticism well?
Not all of them. A couple of them take it in their stride, a few don’t care and some of them feel that the judges are their enemies who’re trying to pull them down.
Since Vaibhavi Merchant, Shilpa Shetty and you are dancers, is a performance in the offing?
You never know! It maybe, it may not be. But I would like to dance on my show for sure. It’s so much fun.
Which of the sexes do you feel performs better on stage?
When I watched episode one, I thought the girls could easily walk over the boys. They were ravishing, competitive and aggressive in the right proportions. But over the last few episodes, I’ve seen the boys become increasingly competitive too. Siddhesh is particularly good. He’s fearless.
Shilpa Shetty and you had a fight.
Yeah, we had an argument of sorts. She didn’t agree with my point of view and I didn’t agree with hers. She liked a certain performance and I didn’t. But we respect each other’s decision. I didn’t influence hers and she didn’t influence mine.
This show takes up two days of shooting. You have plenty of other movie projects lined up too. Do you feel you’re biting off more than you can chew?
I’ve been in the industry for over a decade and I never did that. I was taking it easy. But now, I’ve become a workaholic of sorts. I’ve begun to take on more projects at one time. I shoot for this show for two days a week. I have to report to my Golmaal 3 shooting three to four days a week as well. I miss out on sleep for two nights and three days every week. I catch up on sleep while commuting between Mumbai and Goa. (Smiles) But I’m enjoying it.
Apart from Shaitaan, Double Dhamaal and Golmaal 3, you’ll have the Munnabhai sequel and your directorial debut, Akkad to work on…
Yeah. Akkad will be the last of these films to go on the floors because I’ve already allotted all my dates to other producers and directors. Golmaal 3 is moving fast. Shaitaan and Double Dhamaal will start soon. The Munnabhai Sequel may be pushed to the next year.
Have you finalised an actress for Akkad?
Not yet. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before finalising an actress. For starters, the project has sparked off an interest in producers to invest in my film. I’m sure I’ll find a decent production company to finance it. But before that, being a professional, I have to complete the films I’ve already allotted dates to.
Maria must be finding it difficult to adjust with your erratic works schedules?
She sails through it all. She knows it’s a tough life… Dealing with so many things. She’s co-operative.