Riteish Deshmukh is on a high these days. The actor, who became a father for the second time last month, has also completed 13 years in the industry. Debuting with Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003, Riteish says he never thought he would survive beyond the first film, but feels gratified that the audience has accepted him. “It’s been almost 13 years in the industry. I have worked with the best of talents and have shared screen space with stalwarts. I am understanding the craft better now. It has made me so confident that I have turned a producer. I am trying to adapt to newer methods and scripts,” says Riteish.
As the actor looks forward to his next franchise, Great Grand Masti, there was a buzz that the actor had almost said no to the film. “At one point I was doing four sequels: Masti, Housefull, Dhamaal and Kya Kool Hain Hum. And ten comedy films later, I had reached an exhaustion point. But when director Indra Kumar told me that Great Grand Masti was something different, I patiently heard the narration. It is a horror adult comedy, which has not been explored in Hindi cinema much,” says the 37-year-old, who believes comedy is not an easy genre. “If it is not situational, you can get caught in the act as it looks forced. One has to maintain innocence while performing funny sequences; it should not look deliberate,” says Riteish.
The comic actor, who impressed audiences and critics alike with his portrayal of grey shades and serious characters, even though the roles were few and far between, says he is more excited as things are happening at the right time. “I am being approached for characters like Ek Villain, Banjo, Bank Chor and Great Grand Masti. My roles are varying from comedy to grey. Maybe eight years ago, I would not have been able to perform these roles with so much confidence,” he says.
One aspect of filmmaking, however, which the actor says he’s not ready for is being on the other side of the camera. “I have given a blockbuster like Lai Bhaari (Marathi, 2014) and I am producing more films this year, including Mauli to be directed by Nishikant Kamat, and Shivaji, which will go on floors next year. I want to produce Hindi films too, but direction is something I don’t think I will explore soon. I can give inputs, but I keep feeling that there’s someone out there who’s better than me. In fact, Genelia (D’Souza, wife) has a better sense of scripts and her understanding of films is stronger as she has worked with stalwarts down south. She often says don’t make things complicated, where the audience can get confused,” says Riteish.
The actor who turned producer with Marathi films says, “I don’t attribute the success of Marathi films to myself, but it has suddenly become so huge. If we carry on this momentum, we will be as strong as Telugu or Tamil films. Ideally I want to do one Marathi movie a year.”
Asked if he would like to do a biopic on the life and times of his father late Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, Riteish says, “Many people have approached me with the idea, but I don’t think his life can be chronicled in two hours; a documentary will be better. But yes, if someone does have the right script, then why not.” Citing an example, he says, “When Nehru was the Prime Minister, Yashvantrao Chavan was the chief minister of Maharashtra. He said during a speech that every village in the state will have elections and the right candidate would be chosen as the sarpanch who could empower these villages. He would then be eligible to be elected as the CM of Maharashtra. My father was the only CM who traversed the journey from a sarpanch to a CM.”