'He was sitting on a sofa in the Aamir Khan Productions office and he just loosened his body a little.'
'Then he delivered the perfect Bhai Thakur.'
'What followed was a spectacular jamming of the craft of acting.'
Peepli [Live] actor Sitaram Panchal succumbed to cancer on Thursday, August 10, after a brave battle with the disease.
The 54-year-old actor had worked in Jolly LLB, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, Striker and The Legnd Of Bhagat Singh.
Peepli [Live] Director Anusha Rizvi pays tribute:
I first met Sitaram Panchal, or Situbhai as he was popularly known, when I was casting for Peepli [Live].
Unlike many other actors who would tell me that they are 'one take' actors and perform best only on set, Situbhai had no issues auditioning for the role of Bhai Thakur.
The character I felt was best represented by his opening line 'O ho! Budhiyon babu aaiyen hain.'
In this one line, I wanted condescension, but also the confidence of a man so acutely aware of the power equation between the characters that he doesn't need to be menacing in any way.
Several fine actors auditioned for the role and somehow couldn't strike a balance for me.
Then came Situbhai.
My casting director Mahmood Farooqui and I went into the audition pretty low on expectations. 'Bambayya actors hain,' we would say to each other.
After the brief outline of the story and his role, I asked Situbhai to perform his introductory scene.
I remember it vividly. He was sitting on a sofa in (the) Aamir Khan Productions (office) and he just loosened his body a little.
Then he delivered the perfect Bhai Thakur.
Farooqui, himself a performer, couldn't stop himself and asked me not to call 'cut'.
What followed was a spectacular jamming of the craft of acting.
It was breathtaking.
I wish I could get my hands on that recording.
It's one of the most accomplished performances in a long while.
Needless to say, I am deeply saddened.
My condolences to the family and his friends.
'Jaane wale na palatkar aaye...Din dhala, shaam gayi, raat hui,' wrote Nasir Kazmi.