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The tiny giant: Rajpal Yadav

Yadav has the ability to gel with any character, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2005 19:51 IST
Arnab Banerjee
Arnab Banerjee

All men are not created equal, at least in size. There are some little boys who grow up to be short men. But does that dramatically affect their lives?

Do we really care if our male actors don't stand as tall as the female actors?

The concept of "tall, dark and handsome" seems to be permanently etched in the minds of generations of human species – both male and female- the world over.

Tall men attract notice almost instantaneously. They're supposed to be the idols of millions of swooning women and role models, or at least positive examples, to millions of copycat men.

Rajpal Yadav has the ability to merge himself with any character.

But when one watches an actor of the calibre of Rajpal Yadav perform, his physical attributes are the last thought that comes to mind. Why? For his brilliance, his ability to merge himself with any character he plays and his sheer honesty with which he approaches any role.

It was evident in the Ram Gopal Varma-production


where Yadav first got noticed, prompting Varma to increase the length of his role as a porter. "That one scene turned out to be the turning point in my career and my life when Ramu


felt that I had to be given more footage," remembers Yadav fondly. Consequently, there were other Varma productions which starred him in stellar roles-

Mast, Jungle, Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, Road, Bhoot



- as also some important films like

Kal Ho Na Ho, Aan, Chor Machaye Shor, Haasil

etc which catapulted this tiny giant to one of the top character artists.

It was yet again another film from the RGV factory,

Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon,

that gave him a rare opportunity to shoulder the responsibility of an entire film. And did he succeed? The film didn't create any ripples at the box office but the Chandan Arora-directed film did consolidate his position as one of the most "dependable" actors in Bollywood.

Last week, director Chandan Arora reaffirmed his faith in Yadav when his film Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh hit the screens. The film has Yadav playing the main lead again. A whiff of fresh air with nothing out of place and almost every bit as realistic as the proverbial next door man, the film has Yadav playing Mithilesh Shukla, a small town 34-year-old short-statured bachelor, who lives life as a librarian in a university with utmost sincerity and self discipline. When he gets married to the beautiful and educated Veena (Rituparna Sengupta), life turns every shade of pink as his wife accepts him whole-heartedly. But there are signs of jealousy in him over their (mis) match. Yadav's deepest feelings, at a time when his anxious trepidation gives away, are a delight to watch. The snide remarks about their "pairing" do not make matters easy.

The myriad emotions this actor's face displays will go down in the history of Indian cinema as one of the most sensitive and endearing acts.

So, is it that in an overweight (read brawny and perfect abs) culture, lightweights rule? Well, there are many examples in the west - Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, Ewan McGregor, Tobey Maguire and Russel Crowe to name a few. Back home, Rishi Kapoor, and Govinda can be counted as some of the most talented actors around. But then they all also have the requisite glamorous side to flaunt their persona – a quality Yadav surely doesn't have.

Do we care then if one of the finest actors in the country is "short" of stardom? We certainly do. For in an age of Bollywood redefining rules- at least seriously contemplating to alter the formulae ridden clichés - shouldn't we be looking at the screen charisma and not one's sex appeal to measure success?

The debate could become futile if the obsession to harp on the "size" is overruled by sheer numbers - in this case, a few inches more.

So as long as actors like Rajpal Yadav continue to deliver, it makes no difference whether how he "looks". We salute his enormous talent and would crown him again and again as the 'Star of the Week'!

First Published: Oct 15, 2005 19:51 IST