Sharman Joshi: Would love to be a part of the Rajkumar Hirani camp
Actor Sharman Joshi, who tasted success with multistarrers like Golmaal, Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots, feels that he's now ready to focus on solo leads.
By his own admission, filmmakers are now approaching him for lead roles after the release of his last film Ferrari Ki Sawaari.
His latest film, War Chhod Na Yaar -- described as India's first war comedy -- opens in theatres this Friday, October 11. The film also stars Soha Ali Khan and Javed Jaffery.
In conversation with Sonil Dedhia, Sharman speaks about the new innings in his career, why he thinks his hard work has paid off and lets it slip that he wants to be a part of the Rajkumar Hirani camp.
Tell us about your new film War Chod Na Yaar.
War Chod Na Yaar is India's first war comedy.
The film's USP is that it revolves around the India-Pakistan relationship.
Army men posted on the border for many years in extreme conditions talk to interact with their counterparts from across the border. The film shows the casual banter during peacetime. It’s like a conversation between two friends.
The first half is about two people who meet and become friends while in the second half, a war breaks out which also has a hilarious situation.
Image: Sharman Joshi in War Chhod Na Yaar
'My box office standing has improved after Ferrari Ki Saawari'
Your last film Ferrari Ki Sawaari released more than a year ago. Why did it take so long for your next film?
It’s not a deliberate decision to work less or do fewer films. I am trying to improve on that.
I have four films lined up -- War Chodd Na Yaar, which releases this week, Super Naani and Gang Of Ghosts which will release early next year.
Vikram Bhatt’s 1920: London will come out next year.
I am going to shift gears and increase the pace of my work.
How have things changed after the release of Ferrari Ki Sawaari?
My commercial and box office standing has improved. I've also started getting some exciting offers.
I did get offers earlier too, but nothing interesting. I had decided early on that I would do films that I would enjoy watching.
Image: Movie poster of Ferrari Ki Sawaari
'Box office is very important for me'
Ferrari Ki Sawaari got a mixed response at the box office but your performance was appreciated. Does personal appreciation matter more than the film?
No, I don’t think that way. The distributor made a loss of a couple of crores, but apart from that, the film is considered a big hit because the film earned Rs 30 crore net at the box office.
Being a solo hero film, I consider it as a big achievement for myself. We sold the film at a price which the distributor found a little difficult to recover.
But overall we succeeded. Box office is very important for me.
Has the success you achieved with Ferrari Ki Sawaari confirmed your belief that you can pull off a solo hero film?
I wouldn't completely agree with that. But, yes, I was trying to break into that space. I was hoping that at some point of time it would happen to me.
I did do some solo films before Ferrari Ki Sawaari, like Sorry Bhai and Toh Baat Paaki, which bombed at the box office.
I decided to wait for the right film.
I never doubted myself.
Image: Soha Ali Khan and Sharman Joshi in War Chhod Na Yaar
'Hopefully, some day I will be adopted by a camp'
It took you more than a decade to make a successful transition from a supporting actor to the protagonist. Do you think you had to wait too long?
Yes, it was a long wait but that’s the way it was destined for me.
I know a lot of people think that I didn't get my due inspite of working with big directors. But I always do things at my own pace and on my own terms.
Success has come in phases. My first big release -- Style --became a sleeper hit. I remember, on the first day of its release, even the hoarding of the film was not up until evening.
Later on, films like Golmaal, Rang De Basanti, Life In A Metro came along.
There was also a phase when some of my films didn't work and I wasn't getting the right scripts. But I don't have any complaints. The journey has to be exciting.
Do you think it's great to be part of a camp in the industry?
Being part of a camp helps. I’d be more than happy to be part of a Vidhu Vinod Chopra or Rajkumar Hirani camp.
Hopefully, some day I will be adopted by a camp. It is like a kid being adopted by a billionaire (laughs).
Image: Movie poster of Style
'I never sought help from my father-in-law Prem Chopra'
Did the fact that you are Prem Chopra’s son-in-law help you in getting work?
The beauty of this industry is that no one can truly help the other person even if they want to. Ultimately, an actor, producer, director has to prove themselves in front of the audience.
If my kids decide to join this industry, I’ll be able to help them to a certain point. Beyond that it is up to them.
I never sought help from Premji (Prem Chopra). I know for a fact that if films don’t work out, I will happily do theatre for the rest of my life. If the situation gets worse, I'll be open to doing street plays too.
As of now, though, I am thinking of the best outcome and that would be becoming a superstar.
How critical is Prem Chopra about your work?
We don’t have complicated discussions. He tells me if he liked my performance or he didn't.
He is generally a diplomatic person and that comes from not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings. He is very careful in expressing his opinions.
Image: Prem Chopra and Sharman Joshi
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'I was in love with Rekha while growing up'
You are working with Rekha in Super Naani. What has the experience been like?
It was a wonderful experience. She is a stalwart and I really enjoyed working with her.
She is the ultimate diva. She is very easy to work with.
Randhir Kapoor is also in the film. He and Rekha had done a lot of films together in the past. It was wonderful to see their performance.
I was in love with her as a young boy. I loved her in films like Khoobsurat, Muqaddar Ka Sikander and many others.
Image: Sharman Joshi
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar