Sunil Grover: Pataakha is Indian, funny and rooted

Actor Sunil Grover talks to Murtaza Ali Khan about his experiences of working with Vishal Bhardwaj while discussing the bigger challenges that await him as a film actor

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Murtaza Ali Khan

After enthralling millions on Indian television with his portrayal of comic characters like Gutthi and Dr Mashoor Gulati, Sunil Grover is currently focusing on a bunch of interesting movie assignments such as Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakaha and Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat. Pataakha, which released on September 28, 2018, is based on Rajasthani writer Charan Singh Pathik’s short story titled Do Behnein about two sisters who just can’t stand each other. Here, he talks about his experiences of working with Vishal Bhardwaj to Murtaza Ali Khan while discussing the bigger challenges that await him as a film actor

How did you get associated with Pataakha? Also tell us about your role in the film.

To tell you the truth, it had been a dream to work with Vishal Sir. So, I consider myself fortunate that he called me and I landed up with the role of Dipper. When I read the script, I liked it so much that I immediately told him, “Let’s do it, Sir”. Pataakha is basically a story about two sisters, Chhutki and Badki, who are constantly fighting and my character Dipper basically likes to add fuel to the fire. He frequently triggers fights between them and enjoys it very much. But the character has different dimensions to it. Later on, he becomes a helper who tries to bail them out of trouble.

What was it like to be directed by Vishal Bhardwaj? How different was the experience from your earlier works like Gabbar is Back and Coffee with D?

Pataakha is a very realistic film. Also, there is a certain degree of poetic beauty to it. Even while rehearsing the scenes, we had full freedom as performers to improvise. Vishal Sir has a very unique expression as a filmmaker and so working with him was a very different experience that allowed me to bring out my innermost emotions as an actor.

What kind of challenges did you encounter while working on the film?

Vishal Sir is such a master craftsman that I was nervous right from the world go. He is able to identify each and everything what you are doing as an actor, whether a particular emotion is correct or not. But then, after 3-4 days of shooting, I started surrendering. That’s where I was comfortable and then I started enjoying. But, honestly speaking, for the first few days, I was really nervous.

What was it like to work with the likes of Sania Malhotra and Radhika Madan on Pataakha?

Both, Sania and Radhika are as hardworking as they are talented. So they always do their homework and prepare their scenes well in advance. If you are well prepared when you come to the sets, it really adds to the fun. It’s nice to see people who are passionate and like to give their best every time.

What are your expectations from Pataakha?

I have done my bit and I enjoyed it thoroughly. My personal ambition of working with Vishal Sir has been fulfilled. Somewhere I feel that people will enjoy the film. It’s a nice story. It’s a fresh story, not many stories like this have been told in Bollywood. It’s very Indian, funny and rooted.

You are being sorely missed on television. When can we expect you to be back on television?

Well, I miss that too. But right now I am busy with film assignments which I first need to complete. Once I am finished with these projects, I will definitely give it a thought.

How do you look at this transition from television to movies?

It’s happening very organically and naturally. So this is not something that I have consciously thought of. But somewhere I always wanted to do it. I have always wanted to play complex characters which have layers. Time will tell how well I am able to do it. But right now it’s happening naturally and I feel lucky and am happy about it.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

My next film after Pataakha is Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat,alongside Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. That will come out June next year.Also, there is another film in the pipeline. Hopefully, I will make the announcement soon.

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