What happens when you met Arshad Warsi for a quick interview? Well, some great conversation for starters and plenty of laughs! Most of us remember him for his funny antics and great comic timing in films, but give him an intense role and boy, he nails it like a perfect chameleon and leaves you equally impressed.
Excerpts from our exclusive chat with the 'Irada' actor...
'Earlier I Was Petrified To Even Say A Hi To Naseer Saab & Today, I Have My Arm Around His Shoulder, We Have A Drink Together & Laugh About It'
Q. Arshad, you had long ago said in an interview that you never thought you would get along with Naseer Saab (Naseeruddin Shah). Now, you both are doing your third film together. Has there been any change in your equation with him in all these years?
A. If I had ever said that in the past then that's absolutely logical. When I was first asked about my friendship with Naseer Saab, I said back then- 'Please don't say friendship. He is Naseeruddin Shah. I like his body of work and what he has done. You have to be that good. If he likes you which means you have to be of some calibre." But, today I can confidently say that yes, he is a friend of mine. Fortunately, he respects me as much as I respect him. Yes, the equation has changed dramatically. Earlier I was even petried to say a 'hi' to him and today, I have my arm around his shoulder, we have a drink together and we laugh about it.
'Acting Comes Naturally To Me'
Q. Irada is a socially relevant film with a thriller touch. How easy or different was it for you to get into the skin of your character in the film?
A. It doesn't take me time to get into the character. I don't do much of homework as in workshops and readings. But what happens with me is that I hear a script, the character stays in my head and then I just keep thinking about that person till I finish the film. I am grateful to God that my work for me is like spending a good day with great people. It doesn't scare me. Acting comes naturally to me.
'There Is Nothing Wrong In Slotting Films Into Box Office Numbers'
Q. At the time where we talk of new-age cinema and content-driven films, do you think that reducing a film to mere box office numbers takes away the essence of the film?
A. It is so sad that the kind of times we are living in. There are a lot of people who want to make socially relevant films but then you have political parties with their personal agenda coming in and destroying your film. Soon, these people will stop make socially relevant films. Everyone will start shying away and very soon stop making films that one should make.
As far as slotting films into box office numbers is concerned, I think there is nothing wrong with that. Let's look at the reality of it. It's a businessmen doing business. It's the producer who has invested certain amount of money in a certain project and he wants the maximum out of it. So, he is going to do what's best for him and for that he will put the right people together who will give him back the money. That's the reason why you have box office numbers. There's no harm in it.
'Had I Been The Kind Of Person Who Wanted To Own A Plane, An Island & A Couple Of Rolls Royces Then I Would Say That No, I Haven't Got My Due'
Q. You are one of the most versatile actors that we have today in Bollywood. After completing about twenty years in this industry, do you still feel that you are to receive your due?
A. No. When I came in this industry, I had few dreams in my eyes. Today, I have everything that I wanted to have. So, I have no reason to complain or say that I haven't got my due. I came here with nothing. Had I been the kind of person who wanted to own a plane, an island and a couple of Rolls Royces then I would say that no, I haven't got my due. But no, I never ever wanted these things. So, I think that I have got more than what I had asked for. I would have been happy with a decent income and life too. Instead, what I have got is a luxurious life.
Q. Do you feel that the industry is still obsessed with the stars?
A. It will always be. It's not obsessed with stars; it's obsessed with business and money. Everybody is obsessed with money. The whole world is running after money. It's the question of a businessman and his business. If he is investing so much of money then he would want double or triple of that amount back. Who can do that? Only a star can do that so get him. That's how it's going to be unless and until the country changes and starts watching content-driven films. So, it goes back and forth. It's a vicious cycle. A producer is doing exactly what the audience asks from him. So, you can't have the audience complaining about it. This is what you are asking him for and that's exactly what he is giving you. It's simple.
'I Think After Munnabhai 3, Sanju And Me Won't Be Able To Do This Franchise Anymore'
Q. Munnabhai 3 is also on the cards and Rajkumar Hirani recently said that this is going to be the last film in the franchise. Will you miss being Circuit?
A. No yaar, bas ho gaya abhi. I think after this, Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) and me won't be able to do this franchise anymore. (laughs) Maybe he could play a grandfather and I, a father! (bursts into laughter)
Q. Finally, what's the latest update on Golmaal Again?
A. Golmaal Again will go on the floors mostly in March and the shooting will continue till September. It's a long schedule. This one is going to be epic. We have almost 150 days of shooting. Of course, I am looking forward to work with Tabu. I just love her. She is such a good actress and so talented. It would be fun working with her and Parineeti Chopra.