The role of Chota Don in David Dhawan's Partner has been specially designed for Rajpal Yadav. But comedy is not his only forte, the actor says. Rajpal tells us how comedy has changed over the years and why he gives his best in all his films.
Chota Don sounds interesting...
Yes, it is. It is a sweet cameo role about a man who is trying to find his own identity. It makes for a situational comedy. Rest you can find out when you watch the movie. Since it is a dramatic character, I have not added my own inputs, instead I have done what David Dhawan asked me to.
How was it working with David Dhawan?
This is my eighth film with him and I really like him as a director. He gives you complete creative freedom but within the frame of the character. Now, I don't ask him what is the role, I just ask him what I have to do. I try to do whatever he explains to me to the best of my ability.
And what about Salman Khan?
Oh, he is like my big brother. It is like a family, when we are at shoots and when we are at his home. He takes so much care of his co-actors and makes them so comfortable. You enjoy working with someone like Salman bhai.
Why have you been concentrating more on comedy?
It is not so, I have also done serious films like Undertrial. It is just that people do not watch them. On the other hand, comedy is something which everyone likes to watch and do, as it is the best form of entertainment.
What was the reason behind doing Undertrial?
The film is based on a real-life incident which not many people knew fully about. Everyone knew the cause for which the character I played was arrested, but nobody was aware of the fact that he was innocent and freed after the trial. It was only after people watched the film did they know that an innocent man had to suffer so much. Any sensible actor would do these kinds of roles, especially when it does so much good to the society.
How would you define comedy films?
Nowadays, comedy has a simple meaning -- anything that makes you laugh becomes comedy. We actors agree with what the audience defines comedy as. However, no one analyses its meaning in depth. Let me give you a few examples. In Lage Raho Munnabhai, there is a scene where a man takes off his clothes to get his pension. Now if this scene had been shot around 20 years back, it would have been a Shyam Benegal film. Today, the audience finds it funny and claps at it. What would you call Sholay? A serious film? But the character of Dharmendraji has a constant comic element to it. So, I would say a comedy film is one which entertains you, like David Dhawan films, and does not give you a headache.
Which of your roles have you liked most?
I like all the roles that I have played till now, be it a single scene role or the lead. It is the people who can decide which role of mine they have liked most.
How much homework do you do on the character that you play?
Definitely, there is a lot of homework. Each character has a different identity, a different mentality, comes from a different background and wants to achieve something --- to know all this you have to do a lot of homework. Only then will you be able to correctly portray a scene.
How much do you compete with yourself?
Every film of mine is like an examination which I need to pass with good marks, so that I can move a step up and get the next film. And as I said, I will give full marks to all my films to date.
What are your upcoming projects?
My forthcoming films are Priyadarshan's Dhol, Chal Chala Chal with Govinda, Hello Hum London Bol Rahe Hain, which is ready for release, Crazy 4 in which I'm in a lead role, and a few lead roles in other films too. All together, I have 10-12 films lined up. I'm also in Ravi Chopra's film, and Priyadarshan's and David Dhawan's next ventures. I will also be working with Ram Gopal Varma.
Are you happy with where you are today?
Yes, I'm extremely happy. I have done a variety of roles, from comedy to serious and lead roles to negative characters, so why would I not be happy? I'm content with what I have done to date.