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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.



In this exclusive interview for MAYAPURI, RAJPAL YADAV tells our portal that every job, whether acting or direction is tough but as long as one en joys it. It is worth it.

Excerpts from the interview:

Why did you think of becoming a producer in the first place? Isn’t production a tough job?

There are many concepts and ideas that have been bouncing around in my mind for some time now and I felt that I wanted to do much more, alongside acting. There are many times, when you aren’t shooting or travelling and I wanted to make better use of that time. I wanted to explore direction and production both and use many of the skills that I have picked up along the way. Every job is tough, but as long as you enjoy it, it’s all worth it. Acting, directing and producing all have their own challenges, but I feel that it’s what I was born to do. I love all the different aspects of the creative field.

Don’t you think taking production and direction along with acting is like chewing many things at the same time?

When I decided to direct this film, it was because I didn’t feel that anyone else understood the story the way I did, because it is my vision. I had a great direction and writing team that helped me to put everything together, but even before the screenplay was on paper, I had already seen the film in my mind. The responsibility of the production was given to my wife because she is much better at the administrative side then I am, I preferred handling the creative side of things.

Where did you learn direction? Did you assist anybody in the past?

Direction was a part of my studies at Bhartendu Natya Academy, Lucknow and National School of Drama, Delhi. It was something that initially I had not thought of doing, but then after my nomination for Best Actor for the film Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon, I thought that I wanted to do something more. It was then that I had thought to explore into direction sometime over the next ten years and Ata Pata Laapata seemed to be the right project to start direction with. I have no regrets that I made my debut as a director with Ata Pata Laapata.

Does it mean that you have decided to quit acting and concentrate on filmmaking?

No. Acting will always be number one for me, but direction is a new found passion. I haven’t assisted anyone in the past, but I feel I have learnt a lot in the time I have spent on the sets as an actor. I will continue to learn and think of myself as a student of acting and direction.

How was your experience working with stalwart late Satyadev Dubey?

It was a tremendous experience working with legends like Dara Singhji and Dubeyji. Dubeyji was my teacher in NSD and it was such an interesting time we spent on the sets. Initially, I was intimidated to direct him, but he told me to go ahead and do my job as a director and tell him if he was going wrong. He was a complete director’s actor and we had a great time working together. He too has played a very symbolic role in the film and I feel will be a very memorable performance.

Tell me something about your experience of having worked in Ata Pata Laapata with Dara Singhji!
Dara Singhji, a legend in his own right, was a dream to work with. We could not imagine anyone else for the role that he has done in the film. Even a few short weeks before his passing, he dubbed the film in his own voice at his home. He worked until the end and that is something to be proud of. Both Dubeyji and Daraji were inspiring artists of theatre and film and I feel very blessed to have worked with them.

What is your approach to acting?

I have always have had a very positive approach towards acting in films. When Salman Khan’s office rang me up and asked me if I was ready to do two scenes as an actor in Pankaj Parashar’s film Tumko Na Bhool Payenge, I immediately said yes but both Salman and Pankaj were so impressed with my performance that ultimately I found myself doing 22 scenes in the film.

What are your forthcoming films?

There are many films releasing soon such as my first Hollywood release, Barefoot and Hindi films such as Tukka Fit, Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo, Pied Piper, Priyadarshan’s next film, Gandhi Hatya: Ek Saazish ,Sajid Khan’s Houseful 4 etc.

You have done Theater, Films and Television. How has your experience been in each medium and which medium among them you love the best?

I have had a great experience with all the three. It has been 25 years that I have spent in acting and each has taught me a lot. Each medium has its own value and requires an equal amount of hard work. These days I am enjoying working in films, but I still try to take out some time for theatre every couple of years.

Your last release was Tishnagi with Aryan Vaid and a host of newcomers. What made you say yes to the offer?
I do two kinds of films. There is one kind of film which I do to support myself as it has big banner, big director and big co-star. There is yet another kind of films which I do to support others with my presence. I know Tishnagi is a small budget film but I chose to be part of it because they told me that if I lent my support to them by being part of the film, they would be happy. I did the film, because I just cannot forget the fact that I too was a newcomer at one stage in my career.

Besides Hindi, you have also acted in films in Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Punjabi, Kannada and Bengali!
Yes. Not many are aware of the fact that till date, I have acted in around 180 films in Hindi, besides two films in Punjabi, two in Bengali, three in Marathi, two in Gujarati, one in Kannada. I confess that though Hindi films is my priority, I occasionally dabble in regional films though till date, I have not acted in a Tamil, Malayalam or a Bhojpuri films

Is it true that you have dubbed your lines in Telugu for director Surendra Reddy’s film?
Yes. It was because Surendra Reddy was particular that since Telugu has a striking resemblance to our ancient Sanskrit language, I should dub the lines in Telugu on my own.

You have been drawn in a legal suit and asked to give back Rs 5 cr which you had take as a loan to turn a producer with Ata Pata Lapata!.
It is not just a question of Rs 5 cr which I have to pay back. Till date, not a single person has raised a finger of his in front of me and I have not done anything that is even remotely seedy. It is actually the question of my hard earned reputation which I have built over the last 25 years of being a part of the film industry ever since I had started out with Prakash Jha’s TV serial Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapney. An unseen conspiracy is being hatched against me and someone is playing a political game against me, I will wage my own individual war and emerge victorious and also clear my name. I will not let my name be tarnished and will show to the world khoon is khoon and paani is is paani.

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All Copyrights of this interview is with the Mayapuri Group.

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