Like most film and television actors, Delhi-born Rakesh Bedi, 68, started his career with Pierrot’s theatre group, as after graduating from FTII, there were no other platforms or options available at that time. He had to work for a living. His first break in the Hindi film industry came in 1979, making it a run of almost 43 years.
Starting with Hamare Tumhare, Bedi has worked in about 208 films till now. One of his most memorable roles was in television serial Ye Jo Hai Zindagi followed by Shriman Shrimati, Yes Boss and the latest Wrong Number, a light comedy with an interesting storyline where he gets a chance to display a range of acting skills.
In fact, comedy has always been his forte. Old-timers will remember Chashme Buddoor directed by Sai Paranjpye starring Deepti Naval and Farooq Sheikh. Then he went on to give brilliant performances in Ahsaas, Sohini Mahiwal, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, D il Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Junoon, Bade Miya Chhote Miyan, and Coolie No 1, among others.
In a recent interview, the versatile actor talks about the range of roles he has played and how comedians serve the purpose of conveying a message of positivity.
You are now an actor, director, producer, writer and teacher. What is your favourite activity?
I enjoy everything in equal proportion. Nowadays, a lot of people come to me to get trained.
How involved do you get in your film roles?
As an actor, it’s very important for me to understand my audience. I recall my role in the theatrical production Massage Show in Delhi and can proudly say that not a single member of the audience left the theatre midway. I am fortunate to be known for my sincerity and hard work but it’s important that the content and the direction of a production should be powerful.
Do you feel comedians are not given their due, as the credit for a hit always goes to the lead pair?
I believe that making people laugh has a purpose: there is a message conveyed which makes audiences and fans think. They should learn some positive lessons from my performance.
The title of your upcoming film Zara Hat Ke Zara Bach Ke is of course a line from the popular song. So what is this film about?
It’s directed by Laxman Utekar, who got fame and name after directing hit films like English Vinglish starring late actress Sridevi and Adil Hussain. Another of his films Lukka Chhipi was a romantic comedy. I play Sara Ali Khan’s father, a turban-wearing Sardar. She is married to actor Vicky Kaushal but they have some misunderstanding and get separated. It’s a romantic story.
What about Chhatriwali? What’s your role here?
Chhatriwali is directed by Tejas Prabhaa Vijay and is a story of an unemployed young guy who comes to the big city searching for a job. Ultimately, he has to accept the job of a condom tester. It stars Sumeet Vyas, Rakul Preet Singh and Satish Kaushik. I play a chemist’s shop owner who discourages a girl trying to buy a condom. It’s a different kind of role and I enjoyed working in this film.
I believe you play a priest in Shukra Dosh?
As you know, pandits say that some boys have Manglik dosh in their kundali and suggest they perform certain prayers if they want to get married. I am excited to be part of this story.
What roles are you playing in the three web series?
In Suranga, I act as a bank manager. There is a robbery in the bank and he has to manage that crisis. In Show Stopper, a daughter wants to become a professional model but her father opposes it until he realises she is already successful and reconciles to her ambitions. Chamak is a story about Punjab’s music industry. It shows how a big political racket is involved in this industry run by the mafia. Production is still going on.
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