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Interview Hindi

Want to try different genres if the opportunity presents itself, says Sunil Grover

Ahead of the release of Bharat, in which he plays the important role of Salman Khan's friend, Sunil Grover spoke about his role in the film, his most famous TV role Gutthi, and how he chooses his projects.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Suyog Zore

There are few actors who started their careers on the small screen and went on to do important roles in feature films. Sunil Grover is one of them.

A protégé of the late satirist Jaspal Bhatti, Sunil Grover learned the skill of impeccable comic timing from the master himself. From playing small roles in popular television shows like No Tension to now playing an important character in probably the biggest film of the year, Grover has come a long way indeed.

Ahead of the release of Bharat, in which he plays the role of Salman Khan's friend, Sunil Grover spoke to Cinestaan.com about his role in the film, his most famous role on television, and how he chooses his projects. Excerpts:

How do you manage to do television and movies at the same time?

People might think there is a lot of planning involved in this, but that's not true, at least in my case. Things just happened for me. Thankfully, I was involved in only one project on television when one film offer came and I accepted it. It's not just me though. Many big and busy actors also manage to do both television and cinema at the same time. Salman sir, Shah Rukh [Khan] sir, Aamir [Khan] sir who are mega successful and probably the busiest actors of 'Bollywood', still manage to be successful in both formats.

Your film choices are very different from what you do on TV. You have hardly done any comical roles in films. Was it a conscious decision to try new meaty roles in films?

Yes. I get fascinated by such roles. If I do the same caricature comedy roles in films which I do on TV, then what is the point in doing films? That's why I take up projects that allow me to do something which I haven't done yet.

But don't you think fans who are used to seeing you doing comedy will be disappointed that you won't make them laugh in this film?

This is Salman Khan's film. The main course is Salmanbhai. I'm the achaar [pickle]. If you are fond of achaar then you will like it, and even if you don't have achaar you will still be happy with the full course meal.

Would you like to explore any other genres?

Definitely. I would love to explore other genres, but the script has to be appealing. I won't try other genres for the sake of it unless I also love the script.

Can you tell us something about your character in Bharat?

My character's name is Vilayati. Bharat and Vilayati meet each other during Partition in 1947 and are inseparable till 2010, except when Salman sir is romancing Katrina [Kaif] (laughs). I can't share too many details about my character.

You had once said that you find Salman Khan's persona intimidating, but from the trailer and whatever glimpses we have seen of Bharat, it looks like you and Salman shared a great rapport. How did you achieve that?

He is a fun-loving guy and I have immense respect for him. Not only because he is a superstar, but also because of how he deals with so many things at the same time. He shoots every day, goes to the gym every day, and even with such a busy schedule he still paints almost every day.

Once during the shoot he broke a rib and doctors advised him to rest for three weeks, but after two days he resumed his workouts. At this stage of his career he doesn't need to work this hard, but he still does it because of the passion and zeal he has for cinema.

When did you realize you have become famous?

I was always famous to be honest (laughs). I was famous in my building, I was famous in my school, I was famous in my college also. Jokes aside, I got the first taste of popularity when I used to do the radio show Sur. Though people didn't know me by face back then, I was still quite famous among listeners.

Then I did one TV show where I spoofed KBC [Kaun Banega Crorepati, a popular television game show hosted by Amitabh Bachchan]. That is when I started to get recognized by face.

Then Gutthi happened. The amount of popularity and love I got because of that role is magical. I was doing a live show in Delhi. There were about 3,000 people. I had just started doing Gutthi, so I thought why not go on stage in Gutthi's getup. Suddenly, 3,000 people were screaming and cheering. That was the moment I realized how popular I had become.

Were you apprehensive of playing a female character?

No, not at all. In college also I played an old woman in a play. I never think that I am playing a woman, for me it is just another character.

Your role in Pataakha (2018) was appreciated by many people, but the movie itself did not do well at the box office. How do you feel about that?

Obviously you always wish that your every film does well at the box office, but sometimes it doesn't happen. But it was a good film and I am very proud to have been a part of it. I always wanted to work with [writer-filmmaker] Vishal [Bhardwaj] sir and my dream was realized with that film. There is poetry in Vishal sir's writing. The moment I read the script I said yes to the film. I really enjoyed playing that character. I really wish it had become a hit.

Whenever you are in a public space or at any party, is there constant pressure on you to be funny?

No, I feel happy that people love me and my work and that is why they come up to me and ask me to tell a joke or mimic some actor. I have utmost regard for everybody who likes what I do and enjoys my work.