Monday, June 3, 2013

Tusshar Kapoor

“We star kids don’t come with a bank of knowledge. We also make mistakes”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the May 25, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

On a bright and hot Monday afternoon, when I go and meet Tusshar Kapoor at his beautiful house, he is still basking in the glory of ‘Shootout At Wadala’. He continues to smile. He’s as comfortable and casually dressed as anyone would be in their house. Over some chilled juice, we settle down for a chat. The actor completes 12 years in the industry, and over the years, he’s faced quite a bit of criticism, but only shown immense dignity in dealing with it. Yet, he’s had no apprehensions about doing distinct roles – be it films like ‘Golmaal’, or the slightly niche ‘Shor In The City’. And the endearing bit is that he has no qualms about accepting that he has gone wrong, made wrong choices, but only learnt from his mistakes. In a freewheeling conversation, Tusshar talks about dealing with criticism and insecurity, why he got saved from comparisons with his father, and his journey so far, among several other things:

Your character in ‘Shootout At Wadala’ got a great response, and of course the film has also been doing well. You must be overwhelmed!
Yes, absolutely! Also, because this was a much more intense role. Though the character in ‘Shootout At Lokhandwala’ comes across as a more daring, villainous kind of a character, this character was more difficult. Because he’s a gangster, but at the same time he’s very casual a person, he has this light-hearted side, he is very philosophical, he’s romantic, but he has got that aggression of a gangster. So, even though you might not see him going all over-the-top like most gangsters do in movies, he’s very intense internally. There are many shades to his character. This is a much more intense internalised character which is harder to portray. On the surface it’s underplayed but there’s a lot that has to come through the eyes, while in ‘Shooutout At Lokhandwala’ it was a more outwardly expressive character, more psycho, more negative. Of course, this one was shot in many schedules so coming back into that zone, while shooting different films, maintaining the look, continuity, attitude, was so difficult. But when you get this kind of response, it’s just so good!

While people think you’re a pro at comedy, you also fit into these gangster films with ease…
And I started out with a romantic film (smiles). I just do my best. Every film requires a certain kind of homework. Some films require you to just come as yourself. Like in ‘Khakee’, the director took care of everything, I just came as myself. I didn’t really have to do any homework. But some films require you to research a bit, rehearse a lot, read the script many times. For ‘Shootout at Wadala’, I felt that I had to really prepare a lot, and then you also have to know the graph of that character. Some films, you just have to shoot in isolation. So, I never really thought of myself as being a romantic hero or comedy hero or action hero. I just do what I feel I need to do to play the character. I’m comfortable in most of these genres. It’s people who give you that image. It’s probably because of ‘Golmaal’ that people associate me with comedy a lot. Since that character worked well with the audience, the association with ‘Golmaal’ is much stronger. But from my side, it was as difficult to do ‘Golmaal’, as it was to do ‘Shootout at Wadala’. I don’t really treat the genres differently.

Which is why, you’ve never been typecast?
Maybe I’m a man with all these sides to me. What you are in real life always comes through in your films. So I think I’m a mixture of all this. I’m a bit of an aggressive guy also, a bit of a romantic also, funny also, and a bit of all. What comes across I think is, people think of me as this really nice, family guy, but maybe there’s a lot that people who only know me well, know about me. I’m a scorpion. Scorpians are mysterious. They keep it all inside.

So, you’re saying you’re quite mysterious?
Mysterious in the sense that I’m reserved. I open up only to a few people who I’m comfortable with. I mean I’ll enjoy with everyone, but I don’t open up emotionally, or show my anger, show my emotions; that’s with a very few people at very few times, so then when people see a different side to me, they’re shocked.

On May 25, you complete 12 years in the industry. You think you’ve got your due as an actor?  
Yes, I shall complete 12 years (smiles). As an actor, I think I have got quite a good share of the due I deserve, because I have been offered so many different types of roles and the kind of appreciation I’ve got, for the ‘Shootout’ series, ‘Shor In The City’, ‘Khakee’, ‘Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum’, ‘Golmaal’ series, ‘Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai’, ‘Gayab’. I have been appreciated for these very diverse roles. But, definitely, there’s much more to be achieved, if I have to go to the level where my father reached, then I have a lot more to achieve, and miles to go. I’m happy with what I’ve got, but not satisfied. Let’s put it that way. But yes, today, you have to market yourself so much more. It has to come to people’s notice that you are doing so many different roles, or your film is a hit. To make sure that people know you’re delivering, you have to really scream out, that’s become the mantra of today. I used to think that your work can speak for itself, but it isn’t so now; you have to really let people know, and that’s where the perception comes into picture. Somewhere, even if a film is good it suffers because of people’s perception, which is why marketing is important. For instance, ‘Shor In The City’ got a little scattered in terms of the marketing, but people really liked the film, even people who saw it on TV later, have really liked it.

And so far, which has been the most challenging role for you?
The first part of ‘Golmaal’ was the most challenging, because I didn’t know how people would react to it. And for me, it wasn’t comedy, or fun, for me it was just a character that I had to portray. It was completely different from who I am as a person as far as the speech is concerned, and the whole trying to speak without speaking is concerned. I had to do workshops, work on my expressions, work on the voice and pitch. I had to be at a higher pitch. When you’re not really speaking, you have to express so much through your face, I had to practice a lot on my facial expressions and body language.

So when you started out, you obviously must be prepared for the fact that people would expect more from you since you are Jeetendra’s son, and comparisons would be inevitable?
If you’re not from a film family, even if you do a little, people will make a big deal out of it, but when you’re from a film family, there are always a lot of expectations from you. But somewhere, I’ve gotten saved from the comparisons because my career path has been different from my father’s career path. I’ve played more characters than ‘hero’ kind of roles. I’ve kind of made the characters main lead. My dad has done hardcore hero roles. We’ve done different kind of films. So, I’ve never really been compared to my dad in that sense. I have not really faced any kind of negativity because of comparisons.

At this point of time, does criticism affect you in any way?
Criticism affects you only if you are feeling critical about yourself. Criticism would affect me initially, because I knew that I was doing wrong films and goofing up with my choices. When I was going through that learning curve, I knew I was going wrong with everything that goes into making a hero. I knew I was learning, I was failing and learning. So that was the phase when I would feel the pinch when I was criticised but that’s because I was being criticial of myself also. It hurts the most when it’s true right? After that, I’ve improved. ‘Khakee’ was the turning point for me I guess, and since then it’s just been upwards. I’ve been getting better and better, so in my eyes, it’s all been getting better and better. No matter what people say, if ten people like me and ten don’t like me, if three films do well, and one doesn’t do well, it doesn’t really affect me much, because I know where I stand. It affects you only when you know there’s something wrong with yourself and your work. You need to know what criticism to take seriously, and what criticism to let go because, there are times when people will want to criticise you for no reason and then, there are times when you have to take criticism seriously because yes, you have goofed up! I do at times makes mistakes and feel bad about them, but it’s gone lesser and lesser over time, thankfully. So then it shows you know, that we star kids are not coming with the bank of knowledge. We also make mistakes. When actors make statements like ‘we have never been pampered like a star kid’, I’m like, ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. These are jealous people. At the end of the day your films will work if you’re good and if you choose the right films. Your father, your mother, your brother, or sister, no one will be able to get you hit films.

While most actors would want a solo-hero film, you’ve had no qualms about doing so many multi-starrers…
Nothing is risk-free. Playing a quintessential hero can be risky. Playing one of the four guys in ‘Golmaal’ can be risky. Like obviously, ‘Golmaal’ was a bigger hit for me, than even ‘Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai’. There’s no formula today. Everything can work, and everything can be risky. You just have to do good films. If it’s a good film, you will be noticed. No matter what the genre is, or how you’re presented, it’s going to build your fan following. I’m just trying to build my fan following, in some way or the other, doing all kinds of things, and let’s see where that takes me. Though, initially, I had just thought that I would do solo-hero films, because ‘Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai’ was a hit, but then I realised that it’s not the best thing maybe, because if the film doesn’t work then what’s the point. So, I said I’m going to change my policy. I did ‘Khakee’, that was my first multi-starrer. The thought process was that I’ll be at least adding to the list of good films that I’ll be associated with. And that really worked for me. I was appreciated for that. Then I said I’ll keep myself open to all kinds of films. But I still do solo-hero films every now and then. I did ‘Gayab’ at that time, I did ‘C KKompany’, then I did ‘Chaar Din Ki Chaandni’ recently, ‘Shor In the City’ was also sort of a solo-hero film. These films may not have been able to register huge box office numbers, but I don’t think it’s because they were solo-hero films. Maybe they were just not good films. So, I’ll still do solo films. What matters is the script and the role. Earlier I used to not care about who the producer is. But now, it’s the script, the role, the director, and the producer, because marketing a film is so very important.

But you’re in a profession, where somewhere down the line, one could feel insecure. Have you never been insecure? 
I won’t say that I’ve never been insecure. I’m a human being, and as actors we all go through phases of insecurity, but you have to not let it get to you, you have to believe in yourself. You have said yes to a story or a character because you’ve liked it and you have to trust the director and trust that the role is going to stand out well if it’s portrayed well. You might as well concentrate on the performance then. That belief has to be there. You know it gets really stressful to get into comparisons, but of course if someone is trying to steal your mileage, or trying to cheat you or whatever, you have to stand up for your rights. But ‘bewajah ki insecurity’, that’s self-destructive. So, I try to stay out of that zone. I know I’m not the most sorted person, nobody is. We get into that zone sometimes where greed or insecurity seeps in, but you’ve got to balance it, or control it.

What are your upcoming films?
I’m going to hopefully surprise people with ‘Bhajathe Raho’. It’s a very off-beat comedy. It’s the first time that I have done a comedy in the slightly new-age zone and I’m working with a really new team – Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Dolly Ahluwahlia, Ravi Kissan. Shashant Shah who directed ‘Chalo Delhi’ is directing this one. It’s a small film but it’s a new genre for me – comedy with subtlety and my character is very real. So, right now that is the only film I’m working on. Now, I shall soon take a call, and sign something else. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Poor Tushar, kinda underrated and pushed aside. He is a very nice guy as a person.