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Maniesh Paul on playing a Sikh for the first time on screen: It was an honour for me

Actor-host Maniesh Paul spills the details on his experience of wearing a turban for the first time in his upcoming film, and why he wants to do more serious roles than just funny ones.

bollywood Updated: Jun 18, 2018 18:35 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Maniesh Paul,Bollywood,Banjar
Actor Maniesh Paul’s next film is titled Banjar.

Actor Maniesh Paul is a familiar name for Indian audiences — be it because of his witty hosting on TV and award shows or his films such as Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive (2016) and Mickey Virus (2013). In his next film, Banjar, he will be seen sporting a turban for the first time, as he plays a Sikh guy.

An excited Maniesh tells us, “The experience was really great. We had guys who [especially] came in to tie the turban. I have immense respect for the religion. I think it’s an honour to wear it. It was too hot in Delhi while shooting with the turban on. Hats off to those who carry it off with so much respect.”

Read more: Maniesh Paul on singing in Punjabi: It was very easy, I am a Dilli ka munda

In Bollywood, Sikh characters are often used as a comic element in the script. But, Maniesh’s character isn’t similar to them. He says, “I play a farmer in the film, and it isn’t funny at all. It’s a touching story, and is totally different from what I [normally] do. As an actor, when serious roles come to me, I am on cloud nine. [Because] I do a lot of comedy. [Also], I am not offered serious roles in the first place. Being funny might be what is more ‘me’, but I am open to every kind of role.”

A Delhi guy, he has many Sikh friends. Was anyone an inspiration for him? “Honestly, I don’t try and see too many people before going on set, because I get scared that I will instead start imitating them. I try making my own character. But I think the most handsome guy in a pagdi (turban) is [actor] Sunny Deol.”

Talking about the SMS jokes that are cracked at the expense of Sikhs, he says, “There’s a limit to everything. You should never cross the line.”

Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

First Published: Jun 18, 2018 18:35 IST