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Sanjay Mishra: “Shah Rukh Khan Taking Interest In My Project Shows We’ve Come A Long Way”

Sanjay Mishra is an actor who  never fails  to surprise. His gallery of  performances ranges  from buffoonery (Golmaal) to  sheer brilliance(Ankhen Dekhi) . There is nothing this maverick performer  can’t do.Sanjay talks  to Subhash K Jha

In your  new  film  Kaamyaab  you play  a ‘character actor’ of Hindi cinema on a very strange  mission?

My  character  Sudheer is  a character actor like Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor or Lalita Pawar, so brilliant that anyone can take  him for  granted as and how they  like. Aap aise  charitra abhinetaon se  bahot miley honge. Woh set par ek kone mein baithe rehte hain chup-chap,shot ke liye. Sara crew hero ke peech laga rahta hai.

I know  I felt I had met your character on many  sets of  Hindi films?

Jee hain. Main wohi hoon jo dikhte toh hain lekin log unhe dekhte nahin  .Sudheer has already done 499 films in his career. He is retired and aimless when suddenly something happens, and he wants to  do that one last film  which would round  off his career. He wants to be remembered as the  only actor who has  done 500 films.

How did  you get  into Kaamyaab?

I jumped out  of my seat when the  director Hardik Mehta narrated  the  script to me.It  was the same feeling I got when I heard the script  of Ankhon Dekhi, Masaan , Kadvi Hawa,  Anarkali Of Arrah and Dum Lagake Haisha.Something just happens, and you know this is going to  take you to places where  you haven’t been  before.

Is it important  for you to keep doing different characters?

I can’t do  the same  thing  again. Even in the Golmaal  series I’m trying to  bring a  newness each time. I can’t be stagnant. It will kill me.I’ve  waited  for almost  20 years  for  good things to happen in  my career. Ek waqt ttha  jab main koi bhi role le leta ttha. Survival ki baat tthi. Kaamyaab mein mera character apne-aap ko aloo kehta hai.Meri haalat  uss-se bhi  battar tthi. Ab jab manpasand roles  mil rahe hain toh mein  wohi kaam karunga jo mera dil chahta hai.

So is Kaamyaab your best film  to date?

 That I will leave to the audience to decide. When Aankhon Dekhi came out everybody said I couldn’t better than. Then when Kadvi Hawa released  people said the same. I’d like to think  after Kamyaab they’ll say  the same.After that  there is the  film Gwalior  with Neena Gupta and a  film called Death On  A Sunday In  Patna  City directed  by Sanjay Sonu  which has been shot entirely in Patna which  I’m excited  about.

Shah Rukh has taken over Kaamyaab as producer?

Shah Rukh Khan  taking interest  in a project like Kaamyaab shows  how  far our cinema has come. There  was a time when  directors  like Shyam Benegal, Basu Bhattacharya and  Basu Chatterjee were  considered parallel filmmakers. Now  films like  Masaan,Aankhon Dekhi  and Kaamyaab are  no longer considered  marginal, In fact they are  the new mainstream cinema.And the small towns  of  India are the  new Switzerlands of shooting locations.

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