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Interview Hindi

Rishi Kapoor like a mischievous back-bencher: Jimit Trivedi on acting in 102 Not Out

In an interview with Cinestaan.com, Jimit Trivedi spoke about his accidental venture into acting, the importance of a theatre education, and the methodologies of Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor. 

Shriram Iyengar

While Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor have been at the centre of Umesh Shukla's 102 Not Out, the presence of a young man in the trailer stood out for its oddity. Played by Jimit Trivedi, the character is the only connect the two golden oldies have to the younger generation.

Prod Trivedi about the 'awesome' experience of working with two of the most iconic Hindi cinema actors of the 1970s, and he says, "Both of them have a different kind of energy. Bachchan sir is a methodical actor so he will rehearse a lot. Rishi sir is a very spontaneous actor." But awestruck he wasn't.

Despite the little time in the trailer, the actor certainly seems to have made an impact. After the first day of rehearsals, Kapoor, as usual, took to Twitter, to praise Trivedi for his work.

This is certainly high praise for a 'certified diamond assorter', who never really wanted to be an actor. "It was by accident," Trivedi admits in the conversation, "I was supposed to join the job, and the diamond market crashed. I had nothing to do, so I asked a senior from from Mithibai college to help me out."

Since then, the actor has gone on to make an impactful appearance in Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), and starred in several television shows like Jeevan Saathi — Humsafar Zindagi Ke (2008) and Ek Doosre Se Karte Hain Pyaar Hum (2012).

Now, the actor teams up with his mentors from theatre, Umesh Shukla and Saumya Joshi, in the upcoming film 102 Not Out. The film is set to be released in theatres on 4 May.

Following are excerpts from the interview:

How were you offered this unique role? 

Well, I know Umesh bhai [Umesh Shukla] since a long time. I started my career with him. I also know Saumya bhai [Saumya Joshi, the writer] since a very long time. In fact, 7 years ago, he had offered me this play in Gujarati. But since I had committed to another play with Paresh Rawal sir in Kishen Vs Kanhaiya [the play was later adapted into a film titled OMG: Oh My God! (2012)], I could not be a part of it. 

I really wanted to work with Saumya sir, because he is a brilliant writer. So, when after 7 years I was offered this script as a film, I could not say no.

I was in Ahmedabad shooting for my Gujarati film, Gujjubai The Great. He (Saumya) was in Ahmedabad, and he offered me the part. Since the backdrop of the story is in a Gujarati family, they wanted someone with a sense of comedy timing to pull off the character. 

They had seen the first film, Gujjubhai in Gujarati, and had loved me in the character. I gave a screen test, and then was on board. 

Quite a project though. Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor returning to the big screen together. Were you at any time in awe of the two actors? 

Personally, I do not look for who is playing which character when I pick a film. For me, that person is a character. For me, it doesn't matter who is standing in front of me, whether it is a legend or a newcomer. I am focussed in my work and I have to give justification to it. I don't divert my mind. I see to it that I don't deviate from my goal. 

I believe that while working with legends like Amitabh Bachchan or Rishi Kapoor, you don't have to forget your lines or fumble your role to truly pay respect to them. I think there are many ways to give respect to your seniors. If you watch them, observe them and implement those lessons in your life, it would be the highest form of respect you pay them. 

What I wanted to ask was developing a chemistry between actors requires a certain level of comfort. In theatre, you have the advantage of long periods of rehearsal. How was it working in films? 

In theatres, we have a rehearsal time of 1-1.5 months. I have been doing theatre for 15-18 years. So the mechanism is set in my mind. I did television as well, and films also. There is a lot of difference in that. But once your mechanism is ready, you just have to regulate it. 

When you rehearse on the set, at that point of time, a lot of spontaneous things come up. If it is a comedy scene, we can bring humour by just improvising with a reaction. It is never a tough thing if you have done theatre. You have already done the boot camping. Yeah, my theatrical background has helped me a great deal and will help me going ahead too. 

How did you become an actor. Was it always your career choice?

Well, I actually came into this field by accident. I am a certified diamond assorter. Just when I was supposed to join the job, the diamond market crashed. I had nothing to do, so I asked a senior from my Mithibai college to help me out. 

We had done a play in the IPTA [Indian People's Theatre Association] competition, and it won a lot of awards. He told me about a play Jalsa Karo Jayantilal. My only concern was whether they will pay me. He said, 'Yeah, they will pay you. You have to work backstage, and if you are lucky you will get a role.' 

So, that's how I started. The play was with Dilip Joshi and Umesh Shukla. I am very fortunate that I learnt the basics of backstage, the backbone of the play. I learned discipline from Dilip Joshi. He would say that backstage work is not a lame work. It needs to be done with discipline and rigour. That has stayed with me. 

In 2006, I did a play which was the turning point of my life - Bai Maare Boundary - which was remade into Super Nani (2014). I played Sharman Joshi's role in the play. 

From that, I got to know Mr Naushir Mehta, who gave me an experimental play where I played 7 roles in one go. It was this play Mr Neeraj Vora saw, and asked me if I would like to do a role in the film Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007). I told him 'Sir, neki aur pooch pooch [Sir, why are you even asking].'

After that, I ventured into television for a long time. I waited for quite a while, since Priyan sir (Priyadarshan) said, 'See you in the next film'. But for some reason, it did not happen. So, I turned to television. 

You've certainly made a mark on your 102 Not Out co-stars. Rishi Kapoor wrote a tweet praising you right off the bat. How was the camaraderie between you all on set?

In fact, that was the first day of the 102 Not Out shoot. It was the 6 o'clock shift, and I met both of them for the first time. It was a formal introduction and we started rehearsing the scene. After the take, he praised me in front of everyone saying I am doing a very good job and that I look like the character that was in the script.

For me it was a big thing for him to ask my name, remember it, and mention it in his tweet. 

With Rishiji there is no filter. Whatever he feels, he writes. I really like that thing about him. And on set also, we get along very well.

With Bachchan sir as well, but he is very quiet, calm, and doesn't talk much. Our energy (With Rishi Kapoor) was complimenting each other very well. We would talk a lot about films back then, technology then, shooting styles. It is like when you go to school, you always look out for the mischievous backbencher you are friends with. For me, it was always like that. I would arrive on set and say, 'Ok Rishiji is here'. 

Jimit Trivedi (R) with Rishi Kapoor (C) and Amitabh Bachchan (L)

Well, that is interesting since Rishi Kapoor plays the grumpy old man in the film, while Amitabh Bachchan is the one full of life...

Exactly. It was the opposite. But even Bachchan sir, whenever he used to speak, I was the one who was laughing the loudest. It was super fun with both of them. With Rishi sir, I used to talk a lot about my journey, and what I wanted to do. It was interesting. I didn't feel for a single day that I was shooting for a film. 

Whenever they came on the set, they would come in that particular mood required for the scene. If it is a comedy, they would be well prepared. 

Both of them have a different kind of energy. Bachchan sir is a methodical actor so he will rehearse a lot. Rishi sir is a very spontaneous actor. For me, it was a very good exercise. They are brilliant. I am blessed that I got this big opportunity to work with them. 

Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan in 102 Not Out

The film revolves around the story of a father and son (played by Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, respectively). Tell us a bit about how your character fits into the film.

The story revolves around father and son, and this guy (the character played by Jimit) is working in a medical store. Basically, he is a delivery boy and comes there to deliver medicines. That's how things turn out and he gets along with the oldies. That's the unique thing. 

Generally, at that age, people don't get along with others. It is a very interesting part of how age is not a barrier for friendships. It is the outlook. 

While the regional film industries are on the rise, it seems Gujarati films are still struggling to get out. Despite them having stories which have been made into hit films...

The first thing I see is that there are few channels for Gujarati films and a small audience. If the corporate world supports, there would be options for the producers to recover their money from.

If you see Marathi, there are a number of channels. But Gujarati channels have only propped up very recently. The major factor is the infrastructure.

Does the internet or social media help in promoting the films?

The social media platform is only good for trailers and teasers. Unless the film is really good, the word of mouth won't help the producer. Except in Bollywood [Hindi film industry], you have a lot of different mediums to reach your audience. 

There are a lot of Gujarati actors and writers who are working in the Hindi film industry. But, right now, they are sceptical to step into the Gujarati film industry because of the lack of infrastructure. The first [most important] thing for a producer is the recovery. So, it is a chain reaction.