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This article was first published 7 years ago  » Movies » 'I can be the representative of farmers across India'

'I can be the representative of farmers across India'

By Rajul Hegde
September 22, 2016 15:34 IST
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Shreyas Talpade

'We were shooting a sequence where I have a showdown with a minister. After the director said cut, I looked around and everybody was giggling.'

'Then I saw that my dhoti had given away and was on the ground!'

Shreyas Talpade discusses Waj Taj.

Shreyas Talpade, who was last seen in a cameo in Great Grand Masti, returns as lead hero.

The 40-year-old will be seen in Ajit Sinha's directorial venture Wah Taj alongside Manjari Fadnis.

Besides his Bollywood release, Shreyas has something else on his plate. He will star in the Hindi remake of the big Marathi hit Poshter Boyz, along with Sunny and Bobby Deol.

That's not all! He will direct the film himself.

As Shreyas gets ready for the new innings in his professional life, he talks to contributor Rajul Hegde about his movies and when he came close to playing Kishoreda on screen.

What made you take up Wah Taj?

It’s a unique story. Playing a Maharashtrian farmer was a bonus for me because the subject is dear to me. I can connect with it. I felt that if I can be the representative of farmers across India, especially when they are facing the drought situation and make a statement on their behalf, I shouldn’t miss out the opportunity.

For theatre, I have traveled across Maharashtra and whenever we meet them, they never complain about anything unless it’s drastic.

Whether they have food or not, they will always invite you for lunch or dinner.

So when you hear stories about them committing suicide, you feel, 'What are we doing?'

When actors like Nana sir (Patekar) and Makrand Anaspure started the Naam foundation, all of us supported it in whatever capacity we could. Giving money is one thing but they were trying to get them alternate employment when there were no or limited rains.

With this film, I felt we can make a statement and reach out to people the way OMG! Oh My God did. After OMG, people started thinking about certain things and that’s what I hope with this film too.

Since you had met the farmers, was it easy for you to play the character?

Yes. I want to get the message across in a nice, impactful manner, so I have tried to focus on that and the (character’s) struggle.

Ideally, if you do it with humour and drama -- rather than preach -- people will somewhere pay attention and get your message.

How was it shooting in Agra?

We finished the film in 32 days. It was predominantly shot in Agra. I kept joking that people of Agra were not ‘Aggrassive’ but very cooperative. In fact, if you have seen the crowd shots in the promos, none of them were paid. People would just come to see the shoot. There were some actors dressed as policemen in the film and they would feel that they are real cops. 

We first started shooting on the Yamuna banks. It was a beautiful location, from morning to night we would get to see Taj in various avatars -- in fog, sunlight and moonlight. It was magical.

Any interesting incidents during the shoot?

There is one incident which Manjari loves to talk about. I would rather forget because it was embarrassing for me.

We were shooting a sequence where I have a showdown with a minister from UP. It was dramatic and aggressive. After the director said cut, I looked around and everybody was giggling, looking at me and then started looking down.

Then I saw that my dhoti had given away and was on the ground! I didn’t realise when it came off. The people of Taj got to see another nazara too (laughs).


Shreyas Talpade

IMAGE: Manjari Fadnis and Shreyas Talpade in Wah Taj

Wah Taj was caught in a controversy due to a marketing gimmick, when the makers distributed posters stating the Taj Mahal will be shut for tourists from September 23.

It was unfortunate. We came out with the promotional poster to generate curiosity, not controversy. But certain people felt offended. We were planning to come out with another set of posters after a week, which said there is a film coming up called Wah Taj.

But it snowballed into something else so we had to stop that campaign. They filed a case but we apologised because that was not our intention.

You will star in the Hindi remake of Marathi film Poshter Boyz and it will also be your directorial debut. Tell us about that.

As a producer, I was involved in every aspect of the Marathi version of Poshter Boyz -- from the screenplay to dialogues. After the film released, people were asking me why I didn’t make it in Hindi. So I thought I should give it a shot. I hired some writers and started working on it, keeping the Hindi market in mind. It started shaping up really well.

I wanted to act in the film then when I started narrating the story to my friends, they asked me who the director was. I said I was still looking for one. So they suggested that since I was so clear in my mind, I should go ahead and direct it.

I was apprehensive initially but then I thought it's better that I take the onus on myself and get into direction.

How did you zero in on Sunny and Bobby Deol?

It's a comedy about three men, who find themselves on a poster promoting vasectomy. I was on lookout for someone with a tough guy image and Sunny paaji is the eternal mard of our industry.

Bobby Deol is a good looking actor.

When I narrated the story to them, they were quite amused.

They loved the subject because it was something they haven’t done before. I jokingly said that I needed actors of dhai kilo ka haath, dusra dedh kilo ka and ek pav kilo ka haath. We will hopefully start the shooting by October or November.

Whose biopic would you like to star in?

I would love to do a biopic on Kishoreda (Kumar). He was a genius and I think every artist needs that madness in him to go to the next level of performance. Without any inhibition and apprehensions, he would sing and his performances were fantabulous.

Sometime back, Nagesh Kukunoor was planning a biopic on Kishoreda but it never took off. He wanted me to play the part. If it ever happens, I would like to play Kishoreda.

You were a part of Housefull 2 and recently the makers announced the fourth installment. Will you be a part of it?

I hope so. I last heard Sajid Khan is directing it. Till the time they approach me, I can’t comment on it.

What kind of movies do you like to do?

I like satires because there is a strong message at the end of the film. Also, you tend to make statement in a funny manner. The environment is also pretty lively when you shoot a comedy.

But comedy is challenging, compared to other genres. How long can you keep repeating yourself as an actor? You need try different genres.

For me, the length of the character doesn’t matter, as long as it has meat in it. I don’t come from a filmi family but have grown up watching certain actors' work. When I get an opportunity to work with them, I don’t want to miss out. For instance, I really wouldn’t care what I am doing as long as I am with Amitabh Bachchan in the frame.

I did a very small role in Aankhen before Iqbal. I played a chaiwala on the platform only because Mr Bachchan was there. 

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Rajul Hegde /