Paresh Rawal: Glad to get a chance to do a Gujarati film after 40 years
After 430 shows, all over the world, of the popular play Dear Father, senior actor Paresh Rawal is now looking forward to reprising the role in a Gujarati film. Excited that he would be acting in a Gujarati film after 40 years, after his last outing Parki Jani (1991), Rawal explains, “Dear Father is a play that is close to my heart. I wanted to turn this play into a film script for a long time. I have been doing many plays for years and had exhausted most of them. I wanted the story to reach a wider section of audiences and society. I also wanted to be a part of a film which is meaningful and valuable in my mother tongue, Gujarati. Glad to get a chance to do a Gujarati film after 40 years.”
He explains that the play has a good screenplay and is an emotional thriller but turning it into a good screenplay took some work. He is glad that the team was able to bring it to fruition. “The film will have a small cast, so there won’t any hassle while shooting or else amid the pandemic, shooting with a bigger unit has its own challenges. Primarily, it is the story that drew me and drove me to turn it into a film. In terms of screenplay, the story will be racy and gripping while my approach while acting will be unlike my theatre performances. Over there, one has to be loud for the audiences in the back while in cinema, you can be subtle and internalised,” he says.
Up next, Rawal will be seen essaying the same role, played by the late Rishi Kapoor in Sharmaji Namkeen. He shot for scenes required to complete the film after Kapoor’s demise and shares he got emotional while performing. The actor also admires the concept that after the death of an actor, another actor essays the same role completing the leftover portions. “It is a unique concept and I felt very different while shooting. Walking in the same steps as him and working on the characterisations as him was difficult initially. But with help of the director and co actors, I completed the film. In fact, in recent years, I have not come across a good script like Sharmaji Namkeen. A slice of life film with an endearing story,” he says.
Though his recent film releasing on OTT instead of a theatre as expected, Rawal says he understand the producer’s dilemma. He replies, “What can one do? How long can you hold on to a film? The money is stuck, economy is being affected as if the producer’s money is stuck in one film, he won’t be able to make another project and thereby people won’t be hired. So many people are dependent on shootings and the entire cycle has to work for people to be employed.” The senior actor admits that while OTT does interest him, he is waiting for a project that is “interesting and good” .
Ask him about the pandemic and lockdown in the last 15 trying months. He reveals, “I kept the focus on my health and tried to stay as fit and healthy as possible. I also kept my mental health in check by reading, watching films and making time for myself.”