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'God Gave Me One More Opportunity'

May 14, 2024 10:06 IST
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'You suddenly realise that in this entire big scheme of things, you're just one speck.'

IMAGE: Shreyas Talpade will be next seen in Kartam Bhugtam. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shreyas Talpade/Instagram

Shreyas Talpade is on the road to recovery after experiencing a major health scare in December.

As he resumes his professional commitments, the actor says he is overwhelmed with the love and blessings coming his way.

"The love, adulation, blessings and prayers that I have received in these last four or five months, since the time it happened, is phenomenal. I don't think I'll be able to repay that debt in this lifetime and the next," Shreyas tells Mayur Sanap/

How are you feeling now?

I am better now. Just taking one day at a time.

I am happy that I'm back on sets, where I belong.

The support from the industry, friends, family and childhood friends has been truly overwhelming. The love, adulation, blessings and prayers that I have received in these last four or five months, since the time it happened, is phenomenal.

I don't think I'll be able to repay that debt in this lifetime and the next.

Is there anything in your life that you see differently now?

Your priorities change. You suddenly realise that in this entire big scheme of things, you're just one speck.

You are doing your best to make a difference and make your mark and create some valuable things around you. But at the end of the day, what really matters is your family and your health.

It just takes one split second to change things.

We should not take our family or our bodies for granted to the extent where it just pushes you in a corner and you have no choice.

How's your work helping you in your healing process? Are you back on the Welcome 3 sets?

Yes. Everybody is extremely happy to see me back on the sets of Welcome 3.

My doctors suggested that I should start working. They said, the more you are in the happy state of mind, the better the recovery will be.

Yes, there are certain limitations, but my team is really accommodating.

IMAGE: With wife Deepti and daughter Aadya. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shreyas Talpade/Instagram

There's a line in the trailer of your film Kartam Bhugtan: 'Sab likhit hain.' Do you believe in that?

Yeah, absolutely. We've been taught since childhood that if you do something good, something good will happen to you. This is something that I believe in.

Sometimes we see certain people not doing the right thing, and yet succeeding. And you wonder how that is possible. But we don't know what they're going through.

The richest of individuals to the poorest of people, everyone goes through some issues, some problems.

We keep talking about how did this happen to someone like you who is into fitness and diet and no addictions whatsoever. There are certain things which are written and are supposed to happen in a certain way.

My wife at that point did everything in her capacity to save me, which she did. I guess in that respect, touch wood, it was written that God would give me one more opportunity.

You are doing an intense role after a series of comedy films. As an actor, which genre is closer to you?

As an actor, you want to explore different aspects of every character as well as your own personality.

You want to test yourself and keep challenging yourself. Whether it is Kaun Pravin Tambe? or Golmaal Again, or for that matter, Pushpa (as the Hindi dubbing artist for Allu Arjun), you have to enjoy it and believe in it. Only then can you do 100 per cent justice to it.

Having said that, humour comes naturally to me.

IMAGE: With Sunny and Bobby Deol during the promotions for Poster Boys. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shreyas Talpade/Instagram

You became a director in 2017 with Poster Boys. Why did you not return to the director's chair after that?

That was not planned. I was only going to produce that film and act in it.

When I went to narrate it to Sunnypaaji (Deol), he was the one who suggested that I should direct it.

When it happened, I enjoyed it.

(Next time) I feel I will not want to act in the same film that I am directing. I would rather focus on direction.

But I have done another film that I have directed and acted in. It is called Sarkar Ki Seva Mein. We are looking at a good date to release it.

You started your acting career in Marathi television and films before finding success in Hindi films. Is Bollywood your main focus now?

Nothing like that. I did Hee Anokhi Gaath with Mahesh Manjrekar.

We shot it earlier, but released this March. It did very well in the Marathi sector.

We are in the process of producing another Marathi film this year.

I will be acting in one that will release next year.

IMAGE: Shreyas, Kareena Kapoor and Ajay Devgn in Golmaal 3 (2010). Photograph: Kind courtesy Shreyas Talpade/Instagram

In times when regional cinema is becoming mainstream, why is the Marathi film industry lagging behind? Why don't we have a Kantara or a Manjummel Boys?

Honestly, it boils down to one thing: Content.

Sairat was not a big budget film. The songs were great, the film was shot on a particular budget, maybe slightly higher than a normal Marathi film, but it made a business of some Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion).

Even Ritesh's (Deshmukh) film (Ved) had a nice story. It was nicely executed and people loved it, and it did a business of some Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million).

The same with Baipan Bhaari Deva: An all female cast, no action, and yet people connected with the film and it did a business of some Rs 50 crore-Rs 60 crore (Rs 500 million-Rs 600 million).

It is the concept and storytelling that matters. That is all we need to make films and subjects that will connect with our audience.

We cannot ignore the fact that the emotional core is the crux of everything because that is what we Indians thrive on. If that is lacking, I think there's a problem.

IMAGE: Shreyas and Shweta Basu Prasad in Iqbal (2005).

You had a fantastic lead turn in Iqbal, but the films that came after that didn't do very well. How did you cope with that phase in your career?

Life teaches you. When the going is good, the picture is rosy until the bad patch hits you.

Suddenly, films don't work, the offers start declining.

There is a lot of frustration when things don't work the way you want them to. You stop believing in yourself and start doubting your ability.

This is when your family support comes to your rescue. They make you realise that it is just a phase and this shall pass.

But that is easier said than done.

You keep thinking of changing your career, but then you realise that there is nothing else that you can really do.

You have given so much of time, money, energy, everything to this, and this is all that you can do to the best of your ability.

So you hang on till the time starts changing because that's how nature operates.

Everything that goes up comes down goes up as well.

Who would you credit as your mentors from the industry?

I give more credit to my family than anybody else.

Of course, there have been a lot of fantastic directors that I've worked with, from Nagesh Kukunoor to Rohit Shetty, Farah Khan, Shyam Benegal sir...

I got the opportunity to work with some of the best in the industry, and that has greatly influenced my craft in becoming better and better.

IMAGE: With Sangeeth Sivan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shreyas Talpade/Instagram

How are you coping with the loss of Sangeeth Sivan with whom you were making the film Kapkapiii?

He was a lovely, lovely human being, and an excellent director to work with.

The off-screen chemistry and bond that we shared reflected in our on-screen work as well.

I remember when I started my career, my wife and I were contemplating buying a house and we were worried about the loan, EMI, and other things.

He was that first person who gave me the confidence take that leap of faith. He said this is just the beginning of your career, there's a long way to go, you have a bright future.

And we did it.

My wife and I have a very special place for him in our hearts. We have been a part of his family, he's been a part of ours.

I feel shattered.

I met him a couple of days before he passed away. We were dubbing for Kapkapiii and he was not keeping well. So I said, 'Why have you come today? You should have rested.'

He said, 'No, you were dubbing, I wanted to be here.'

Then, in a couple of days, we learnt that he was hospitalised.

I went to the hospital; the doctors said he was critical. So we kept praying.

By evening, he had given up the fight.

More than director, it's the loss of a family member. I really miss him.

It is a huge loss for the industry, and for me personally.

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