Birthday Special: Paresh Rawal's Top Ten Roles
'I am just an actor. Don't brand me as a villain or comedian. That would be like asking a batsman to score by hitting only square cuts!'
And true to his words, Paresh Rawal is one of India's most illustrious actors having created quite an impression in a variety of roles and genres over the past decades on big screen and theatre.
The man behind unforgettable characters like Teja, Baburao and Veljibhai turns 62 today. Here's a look at 10 of his most memorable performances.
In the Ketan Mehta helmed biopic written by Vijay Tendulkar, Rawal gets under the gritty skin of Indian freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to elucidate the political events and his astute judgment, which led him to be heralded as the Iron Man of India.
The actor lends the portrayal a compelling blend of restraint and tenacity making this one of his, if not THE, career best.
Image: Paresh Rawal
Before Sir, Paresh Rawal played a character named Veljibhai in Mahesh Bhatt's underrated Kabzaa but it is his turn as the criminal but concerned father of a shy, stammering daughter undergoing a believable change of heart following a few typically Bhatt twists that ranks among one of Sir's greatest USPs.
Image: Paresh Rawal in Sir
Andaz Apna Apna, 1994
Teja main hoon, mark idhar hai.
Rawal's hilarious take on a pair of look-alike siblings, the stern-faced tycoon Ram Bajaj and his greedy, bumbling goon of a kid brother, Shyam Bajaj in Raj Kumar Santoshi's modern-day comic classic, Andaz Apna Apna is stuff legends and Top 25 dialogues of Hindi Cinema are made of.
Image: Paresh Rawal in Andaz Apna Apna
Hera Pheri, 2000
One of the most fun things about entering the new millennium was our introduction to the goofy antics and uproarious artlessness of Ganpatrao 'Baburao' Apte.
Be it the accent, mannerism or general foolery, Rawal builds his Baburao into an adorable, absent-minded scamp 'Yeh Baburao ka style hai', involuntarily infusing zing into Akshay Kumar's Raju and Suniel Shetty's Shyam for Priyadarshan's Hera Pheri.
The two have teamed up in surfeit of comedies ever since but nothing to match the ring of 'Uthale re deva'.
Image: Paresh Rawal in Hera Pheri
Based on a true life story of eunuch raising an orphan girl, Mahesh Bhatt's Tamanna features a emotionally charged delivery from Paresh Rawal in a never-before-seen skin.
The actor demonstrates his versatility while examining human and social complexity with utmost tenderness and gravity like he revealed in an exclusive interview to rediff.com, 'My intention was to disabuse the impression that eunuchs are not caricatures. I wanted to give them a human face and dignity.'
Image: Paresh Rawal in Tamanna
Chachi 420, 1998
Sure, Kamal Haasan in all his prosthetic glory rocks nearly every single frame of the super droll Chachi 420 but the amusement wouldn't be half as effective if it wasn't for its ingenious supporting cast of actors like Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Johnny Walker and, our beloved birthday boy, Paresh Rawal.
'Yeh mera paav hai' after all, remember?
Image: Paresh Rawal in Chachi 420
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, 2008
Rawal juggles between a grouchy Sardar dad, the crooked Gogabhai and a sly veterinarian in Dibakar Banerjee's critically acclaimed, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.
Rawal lends all the three protagonists a distinct sharpness even though their combined goal is to provide a spoke in Abhay Deol's wheel of ambitions.
Image: Paresh Rawal in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye
Mumbai Meri Jaan, 2008
Just when his resume appeared to be getting overstuffed by comical avatars, Rawal goes in for a poignant change with his work as an indifferent cop nearing retirement in Nishikant Kamat's Mumbai Meri Jaan.
Set against the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, Rawal's Tukaram Patil comes to terms with the tragedy employing humour as well as sentiment.
Image: Paresh Rawal in Mumbai Meri Jaan
Although it wasn't more than a henchman's part, Paresh Rawal and his thick moustache made quite an impression as the vile gambling operator Anup Bhai in Rahul Rawail's action-packed Arjun.
The combo, along with leading man Sunny Deol, was back in full strength with Dacait, wherein Rawal continued to display his mean streak.
Image: Movie poster of Arjun. Inset: Paresh Rawal
Woh Chokri, 1994
In the year Rawal garnered accolades for Sir came Subhankar Ghosh's Woh Chokri in which he essays a opportunistic, immoral politician who abandons his wife and daughter in the pursuit of power.
While the actor conveys the despicable nature of his character with precision, his co-stars and reel-life victims Neena Gupta and Pallavi Joshi are equally stirring.
The trio was awarded with a National Award honour each for their contribution to this small-budget tour-de-force.
Image: Movie poster of Woh Chokri