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Padma Shri Manoj Joshi: I had to do senseless roles in films only for survival

Manoj Joshi, a veteran of the stage and screen, is most familiar to Bollywood fans for his work in light-hearted comedies. But the actor himself feels happy that he has escaped the ‘stamp’ of a particular genre by doing all kinds of cinema.

bollywood Updated: Feb 24, 2018 16:52 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Manoj Joshi,Bhool Bhulaiya,Bollywood
Actor Manoj Joshi was honoured with the Padma Shri award recently.

Actor Manoj Joshi won hearts with his comedy roles in films such as Bhagam Bhaag (2006), De Dana Dan (2009), and Phir Hera Pheri (2000). Having done several light-hearted roles in his Bollywood career, it would have been quite easy for him to get typecast. For the mass audience, he is, perhaps, associated with a certain type of character. But Joshi himself feels that he has dodged any stereotype by doing all kinds of cinema — not just Hindi films, but also regional films.

“I’ve done buffoonery on screen, and senseless roles, too, but they were out of necessity,” says Joshi. “You have to do such roles for survival. But even in all this, a few films come your way that touch your heart,” he adds.

‘I’ve done roles of every kind in Hindi films; I’ve done regional cinema as well, which saw me in different roles. By God’s grace, I escaped the ‘stamp’ of being an actor of a particular genre’ — Manoj Joshi, actor

Did he ever feel typecast in Bollywood? “Typecast karne mein yeh industry maahir rahi hai, par ab din kuchh badle hain (This industry is notorious for actors getting typecast, but the times are changing now),” he replies, adding, “I’ve done roles of every kind in Hindi films; I’ve done regional cinema as well, which saw me in different roles. By God’s grace, I escaped the ‘stamp’ of being an actor of a particular genre.”

Joshi played a powerful role as a conniving man in Dashakriya, for which he won the National Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2017. This was a stark departure from his light-hearted roles. He also played the role of Chanakya in Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, a TV show, in 2015.

Joshi, who was recently awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India, is happy with the current phase in Bollywood, where content-oriented films are being made and they’re finding commercial success, too. “Actors are being looked at as actors,” he says, “and the entire film is being mounted on their skills. Content-oriented films are being made now, which is very reassuring.”

While many people view Bollywood as an industry ruled by stars, Joshi feels that films are, first and foremost, a director’s way of telling a story. “[Filmmakers] choose the subject. Television, films, and theatre, all are very powerful mediums, and they have the power to create impressions on people’s minds. Jab koi director film ke liye mujhe approach karta hai, toh main yeh dekhta hoon ke woh kehna kya chahta hai, kyunki yeh zimmedaari waali baat hai (When a director approaches me for a film, I have to see what they’re trying to say through the film, because it’s a matter of great responsibility). I’m a creative person; I have to think about the kind of effect the content will have on viewers,” says Joshi, who is currently shooting for a “big Hindi film with big names”, but waiting for an official announcement.

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First Published: Feb 24, 2018 16:52 IST