Manish Paul: I was out of work for eight straight months
Popular and witty television host Manish Paul makes a foray into Bollywood with the film Mickey Virus, which is about internet hacking.
When the Delhi Police have trouble cracking a case of hacking, they approach Mickey (Manish Paul) to help catch the cyber culprits.
A radio jockey, television host and actor, Manish Paul has donned quite a few hats in a career that has spanned many years.
He acted in Tees Maar Khan and Maruti Mera Dost and has successfully hosted television shows such as Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.
The actor-comedian talks about the film, which released today, October 25.
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Image: Manish Paul in Mickey Virus
'As a kid, I used to force my mother to write Mard on my chest'
What sort of character is Mickey?
Mickey is the best hacker in the world. One day he gets trapped while hacking and tries to get himself out of the situation.
There are a lot of similarities between me and my character in the film. By the way, in real life my nickname is Mickey and I too hail from from Malviya Nagar, Delhi.
One thing that differentiates us is that the character Mickey is very lazy whereas I am a very restless person who is always on the move and ready to work 24/7.
This movie is very close to my heart and will always hold a special place in my life.
Were you always interested in acting?
Yes. I was very 'filmi’. A very big fan of Amitabh Bachchan.
As a kid, I used to force my mother to write Mard on my chest before going out to fetch milk from the market. I wouldn't budge without it.
In school whenever a tape got stuck, my teachers would push me onto the stage to entertain the audience.
Somewhere down the line, I saw myself working in Bollywood some day.
When I decided to move from Delhi to Mumbai there was no opposition from my family. They have always supported me.
Image: Manish Paul and Eli Avram in Mickey Virus
'When I came to Mumbai in 2005, I thought I needed grooming'
Is this your dream debut film as leading man?
I have always thought of a movie like Mickey Virus to be my dream debut. A lot of people relate to me because I am funny, but in this movie the audience will get to see the other side of me.
Every actor likes to work in his comfort zone. Comedy is my forte. Nevertheless, I have to prove myself as a performer.
This movie has given me the perfect opportunity to explore and prove my acting skills.
So how has the journey been for you in the industry?
When I came to Mumbai in 2005, I thought I needed grooming. I didn't have a filmi background, so I did television.
I started as a radio jockey (RJ) before acting in serials. In 2008, I went through a rough patch when I was out of work for eight straight months.
I was getting offers but they didn’t appeal to me. My wife was a great support.
Now I think it's the right time to do films. As a child I used to see big film hoardings in my hometown.
Today, when I see one of my own, I am speechless as my dream has come true.
Image: Eli Avram and Manish Paul in Mickey Virus
'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa gave me the chance to do what I love the most'
You are a successful host on television. Will you quit television for films?
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa gave me the chance to do what I love the most. I don't think just because I'm working in films I will quit TV completely.
Whatever I am today, it's all thanks to my audience. I may be short of time in the future with my film commitments, but I'll manage somehow to be on the small screen doing what I enjoy the most --hosting a show.
Your comic timing is bang on. How do you come up with those witty one-liners?
A lot of people tell me that you do a great job and you are number one right now.
Any big actor who comes on stage asks who is hosting and when they know it’s me, they are very happy.
These are the moments when I feel God is there because I never plan what I am going to say.
Image: Manish Paul in Mickey Virus
'Eli Avram is a genuine and good human being'
Whom do you admire as a host?
Shah Rukh Khan. I have done a lot of shows with him. The amount of passion and energy he pours into his profession and the endless dedication he puts into his work is the most important thing I need to learn from him.
And, of course, Mr Bachchan has to be my biggest inspiration.
He not only showed us the heights a superstar can reach but also how one can pick oneself up after a downfall.
In the process, he changed the way we host television shows.
How is Eli Avram as your co-star in the film? Do you watch Bigg Boss?
She is a genuine and good human being.
She learnt Hindi for the film. I too taught her a few Hindi words -- some bad words -- but she was very sporting.
I have not been following Bigg Boss, but I think she must be playing really well and being herself. That is how she actually is as a person.
Image: Eli Avram in Mickey Virus