Shreyas Talpade on 13 years of Iqbal: We don’t want to make a sequel to it
Actor-director Shreyas Talpade gets emotional when you talk to him about the film Iqbal, which completes 13 years of its release today on August 26. He played the title role of Iqbal, an aurally challenged young man who aspires to become a cricketer.
He recalls, “I was down in life before this film happened. I had landed a role in a weekly programme, so I thought, thankfully, something was happening. Then my wife (and then girlfriend) Deepti’s parents got to know about us, and I was called to meet them. Her father asked, ‘I hope you are doing good work?’ Of course I said yes; who’d say no to this! (laughs) The wedding was fixed, and I was tense about what was going to happen next. Then I got a call from a friend who asked if I’d like to do a small role in (director) Nagesh Kukunoor’s next, and I went for the audition.”
He almost didn’t get the role, though he did play some cricket in his personal life. “In our very first meeting, Nagesh told me that he was looking for an 18-year-old boy, [while] I was 28. Then he wanted a fast bowler; I was a medium-pacer. But I was finally called for the auditions, and I was shortlisted with another guy. A voting took place in Nagesh’s office, and votes were decided equally between us,” says Shreyas.
The nail-biting suspense was over when Kukunoor, who had shot to fame with Hyderabad Blues in 1998, cast the deciding vote in favour of Shreyas. “The toughest part was leaving for the shoot in Hyderabad the very next day after my wedding,” says the actor.
The film was widely praised by critics, warmly received by audiences, and even won the National Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues. It also made a star out of its lead actor.
“Life changed completely for me,” says Shreyas, “Whatever I am today, is thanks to this film. It’s instrumental in getting me where I am.”
Is Iqbal 2 on the cards? “We feel we shouldn’t make another part, because some things are better left the way they are,” says Shreyas. “If, for whatever reason, the second part doesn’t work the way we and people would expect, it would dilute the magic of the original. But we have very fond memories of Iqbal. I got my best compliments for it. (Artist) MF Husain saab did paintings on Iqbal, and gifted them to all of us. I can never forget Iqbal. I am Iqbal,” he signs off.
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