Mukesh Rishi: I am just a common man working for my ‘rozi-roti’
Mukesh Rishi is a familiar ‘villain’ of Hindi cinema. But he is now more often seen in Tamil and Telugu films. The actor says he focuses on acting and roles no matter which industry they come from
Mukesh Rishi is one of the familiar faces of negative characters in Hindi cinema. Although he is nowadays seen more often in Tamil and Telugu films, the actor says he focuses more on acting and is doing Punjabi films too. In conversation with Kumar Raviraj Sinha, he comes across as a grounded man who has had his share of struggle
Tell us about your journey.
I had started doing fashion shows when I was in New Zealand. When I decided that I have to follow this line then I shifted to Mumbai. I had a home and family business in Mumbai. But I am basically from Jammu. I did some acting courses and after the course, I managed to get some advertisements as well like Blue Dart and Chyawanprash. Then Tipu Sultan happened. I plaid the villain. But it did not help me much in my career. After a while Sunny Deol starrer Champion was offered where I was playing the villain. But somehow, it didn’t materialise. Finally I got Gardish. I met Ravi who then introduced me to Priyadarshan and other directors and thus my journey in the film world started.
What challenges you faced when you entered Bollywood industry?
Challenges were many because I am not from filmy background. That was the time we directly used to go to offices of producers. The good thing is that I was never badly behaved with when I visited these offices for work. Then in one of the offices I met Shantanu Shourey. He gave me work in a lot of advertisements including the Thums Up one. One thing led to another. I met Firoz Nadiadwala. He gave me work in 2-3 films. I went to meet Salim Saheb and there I met Amir Khan who offered me Baazi. During the making of Baazi he narrated the story of Sarfarosh and I got a role in that too. And After Sarfarosh people started offering me roles. I was approached by Tamil, Kannad and Telugu industry also. Eventually, now I am getting more roles in Tamil films.
Have you ever faced a language issues in south industry?
Well, every body knows before signing me up that I don’t know the language. But they have chosen me. So they help me with the language. There are many of us who don’t know the language. So, mostly we write the dialogues in Hindi and practise it. But I am not very comfortable with this. So, I have reached a level where I can deliver dialogues with the help of prompting. Now, you can offer me film in any language and with the help of prompting I can do it.
As we know you mostly played the character of Villain. How do you prepare yourself for this character and why you mostly choose the negative character?
This is the benefit of my physique. Not only the role of villain, but I can also fit in any role. So, whatever role I get I try focus on the acting part of it, the script, dialogues and expression etc.
What projects are you presently working on?
There are projects which are released like Syeraa with Chiranjeevi and Amitabh Bachchan and now I am doing a film with Pawan Kalyan which is based on the movie Pink. I am doing Punjabi film Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai. And in one Punjabi film I have launched my son and the movie is called Needar and this is the story of father and son.
As we see you always prefer to do a South Movies why? Is Bollywood Industry not offering you any worthwhile roles?
I never had an any preference. I accept roles wherever they come from. But mostly I got the offer from south I have worked with actors like Chiranjeevi and his family where there are 5 actors in same family, I worked with Ramarao and with his family worked with Nagarjun and his son I have worked with Amitabh Bachchan , Aamir khan also. So I never had any preference. I enjoyed everywhere and with every actor. Now I am focusing on my son and planning to launch him.
Who is Mukesh Rishi in real life and reel life?
In real life Mukesh Rishi is a common man who is working for his (Rozi, Roti) and he is enjoying his life in his own world. And in reel life you can call me a villain (as you called me) or an entertainer. But I would like to call myself an actor.
How have your projects been affected by the locckdown?
It affected us but we can’t do anything. We have to take precaution for us and for others also. So we have stopped one of our film which was being shot in Punjab.
How do you see this situation , the lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus?
I have never seen this type of situation and I haven’t seen the lockdown in my life but this time I can only say that this is a serious matter where the entire world has been going through this crisis. So, we must follow the instructions only.