Subhash K Jha Picks Arshad Warsi’s 5 Finest

There  is more  to Arshad Warsi than meets the  eye.Much more. A natural-born scenestealer Arshad has  been constantly shortchanged by  the   entertainment  industry. It can’t  be because  of his  short height,  because some of our biggest superstars are  no  Amitabh  Bachchans when it comes to  their tallness  or  the lack of it . Taller than  many superstars when it comes  to  the acting  chops, here  is  Arshad’s excellence beyond Munnabhai

1.     Saher(2005):  This is actually Arshad’s finest performance. A  little-seen  film , it features Arshad as a true-life  police officer in Uttar Pradesh  who came to be  known  as an encounter specialist for his propensity  to gun down dreaded criminals. As  Ajay Kumar the cop who believes  terrorists should be  killed without  a trial(Nagarjuna in the recent Wild Dogs  is the latest  avatar  from that  anti-constitutional  school of heroism) Arshad is masterclass  of  outlawry  in khaki.  Once during a conversation with me Arshad had  confessed he wished this  film, directed  by the little-known  Kabir Kaushik got a larger audience. I agree  . I rate  Arshad’s cop act in Saher  on a par with Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer and Om Puri on Ardha Satya.

2.     Hero Hindustani(1998):Blame it on  his  comic timing.  Sadly  Arshad got  trapped in comic roles . Among the  truckload of  ha-hathons that he  unleashed on  the screen this one is  a beauty and well… maybe not a  joy forever. But  worth a view to glean  a smile in  these  trying times. Arashad plays  the  imposter bridegroom to  spoilt-brat NRI Namrata Shirodkar  whose  grand-dad  Paresh Rawal wants her  to  marry a nice Indian  boy.Turns  out, the  ‘Nice Indian Boy’ is Arshad Warsi. Oh boy!

3.     Waisa  Bhi Hota Hai Part 2(2003): Before Shashanka Ghosh sold out to  fluffstuff  like Khuboorat , he made this  uncompromising gritty  gangster satire where Arshad was cast as a  loser who  runs headlong into the  crime world.This strange curiously engaging wacky serio-comic  film  is worth  a dekko for  Arshad’s performance  as  a  reluctant  accomplice  in crime. Among  the  questions that come to mind is, why  is the film labeled  ‘Part 2’?. There was  no Part 1 before Waisa  Bhi  Hota  Hai. Never before  never again.

4.     Ishqiya(2010):  Brilliantly  matched  with  the peerless Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad excelled as the  boorish Babban who has the hots for  the same lady that his uncle does.The performance is  vintage Warsi, laced with  a luscious leer , illuminated  by  an instinctive  lust for …well, lust! Though Babban   thinks it is  love. Little does he know!  I don’t think any actor could have   played  against  the indomitable Naseer so perfectly. Arshad’s  Babban is  a winner all the way.

5.     Jolly LLB(2013):  The  tragedy of being a good actor and not star is  that  you get replaced the  minute the director becomes  successful. In Subhash Kapoor’s JollyLLB Arshad  Warsi was  splendid as a jobless  aimless lawyer who  chances upon a  case that changes  his life. I thought  Arshad was irreplaceable  in  Jolly LLB. But then director Kapoor  thought otherwise. He  went with Akshay Kumar in  the sequel.

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