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Satish Kaushik: Playing safe is the biggest risk for any creative person

If there's one actor who has constantly stepped into different territories and has broken the shackles of typecasting, it is Satish Kaushik.

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If there’s one actor who has constantly stepped into different territories and has broken the shackles of typecasting, it is Satish Kaushik.

Throw any role at him and he will adapt to the character’s sensibilities to the molecular level.

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As the Bollywood veteran celebrates his birthday on Wednesday, he spoke with IANS about reinventing himself, the risk of playing safe and the experience of working with the late Rishi Kapoor in ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’.

Having done a plethora of work in the capacity of an actor, writer and a director, the key to excellence for him lies in keeping up with changing times. He considers his ability to reinvent and adapt to his surroundings as his biggest strength.

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He says, “I do have the ability to adapt myself to the changing times. I am always receptive towards getting things which can help me as an actor whether it is reading, watching or getting inspired by an actor. I think that is why I have reinvented myself as an actor and even as a director.”

Revealing how even at this stage in his career, he is always nervous before stepping into a project, he adds, “I am a person who is always nervous before starting anything. But I think this nervousness is something which helps me grow. I’m still hungry for roles and great work.”

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He is one of the very few actors, who have a keen eye for the writing process, (he has written dialogues for many projects including Kundan Shah’s cult classic ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’).

Recollecting how writing happened, he travels down the memory lane, “The credit actually goes to Mr Ranjit Kapoor who requested me to be a partner in ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ for writing dialogues. But at that time I told him that forget dialogues I can’t even write a letter. However, Ranjit sir convinced me that I am talented enough for the job.”

Talking about how writing helps the actor in him, he says, “Moving forward, I did write dialogues for more films and that is something which helps me become a better actor because I could adapt and improvise my lines.”

“While I was writing for Pappu Pager (his character in ‘Deewana Mastana’), the Bombay Hindi which you see in that movie, was improvised by me while I was sitting with Rumi Jaffery who was writing the film. So, writing definitely helps me in setting my dialogues”, he adds.

Once a Rishi Kapoor fan as a college kid, who used to travel from Delhi to Faridabad to watch the former’s films, he soon became the ‘Bobby’ star’s colleague and a friend who worked with him on ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’.

Talking about his association and relations with Rishi Kapoor, he mentions, “I do feel very proud that I was associated with such a great talent and a great human being whom I had seen in the college days. I eventually became his colleague and worked as an actor with him.”

“‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ was his last film, it makes the moments all the more heartwarming. The overall journey from being a fan to a co-actor has been very fascinating for me and I will always be associated with Rishi Kapoor”, he further says.

He opines that playing safe is a dangerous sport that artistes should stay away from for the sake of excellence, “I personally think that the biggest risk for any creative person is playing safe. It’s not like a business or other profession where you get a degree and you know that you will get a job or at least something sustainable. In cinema, life depends on Friday. Creative field is dynamic as it keeps on changing.”

Affirming his argument with his personal experiences, he says, “If I would have played safe I wouldn’t have been here. Instead, I would have lived in Delhi right now doing some job which I was supposed to do in some sanitary company.”

“I also took a risk in ‘Kaagaz’ (his 2021 directorial) for which the story was lying around for the last 18 years. I also decided to launch Pankaj Tripathi as a leading hero for the first time. And I had to take the risk to re-define myself as a director and as a writer. I am glad to say that the risk paid off”, he concludes.

–By Akshay Acharya

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