Fear of failing a role motivates me: Paresh Rawal

- June 9, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The veteran actor, who is serving as Chairperson of NSD, is overseeing work on starting OTT platform for theatre artists of NSD

National Film Award-winning actor Paresh Rawal has said that he accepts only those roles that challenge his skills.

“I love to do roles that can challenge me, create fear about performance hurting my reputation. That fear motivates me. My character should have human drama and struggle. They shouldn’t be easy roles which anyone can do,” Rawal told Patriot in a telephonic interview.

Appointed as Chairperson of National School of Drama (NSD) in September 2020, Rawal finds no difficulty in balancing films with duties at the institution.

“As bulk of the responsibilities lie with the Director of NSD, I have to only keep track of the operations. Moreover, digitalisation has made things easier as we work and discuss via zoom calls. I have got a wonderful team there,” he remarked.

The actor-turned politician lamented of not having studied at the NSD.

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“It is a proud moment for me to be here now, because it is a place where I should have come as a student but came as Chairperson. I regret that I have not studied at the NSD. It may have turned me into a good actor as I would have been taught by the experts and environment is also compelling,” he said.

He suggested that those studying at NSD should learn from its esteemed faculty and best infrastructure.

“There are many who want to be part of NSD’s three-year course to learn acting but everybody is not lucky. Everything here is taken care of by the government. One should benefit from studying at NSD,” said Rawal who has worked in the films like Andaz Apna Apna, Arjun, Mohra, China Gate, Nayak, Hungama, Welcome, Tiger Zinda Hai, Sanju among others.

He emphasised that one should be committed to theatre beyond NSD.

“See Naseeruddin Shah. Despite being a pass-out of NSD, he still does theatre. Even if he doesn’t do it, his talent and craft will not get rusted. But he still does it to hone his skills,” said Rawal who has appeared in over 240 films so far.

The 69-year-old actor said that he is working on starting an OTT platform for the theatre artists of NSD.

“I want that there should be an OTT platform for the theatre artists because NSD has digital material of 15,000 hours which has amazing quality of plays and we can collaborate with other parts of the world too. One can later subscribe and watch it. We are working to digitalise the things,” he said.

“NSD has talented artists. We would like to collaborate with the government of every state wherein artists can travel and showcase their talent in the states. Mumbai has an audience that loves to watch good plays,” he added.

Rawal said that he only visits NSD when in Delhi.

“I visit the institute whenever I get an opportunity to come to Delhi. I see the rehearsals, meet students and spend some time in the library,” said Rawal who started his career as a theatre artist in 1972.

He calls theatre his lifeline.

“It has honed my skills and whatever I am today is all because of theatre. It is not a compulsion but when I do it, I do it whole-heartedly,” he said before adding, “Theatre industry is growing in Delhi.”

Rawal said that theatre artists have started getting recognition thanks to the entry of some genuine people in the industry.

“People like Mukesh Chhabra and Anurag Kashyap are giving chance to theatre artists. They are not facing any issues now and are being welcomed,” he said.

He said that his struggle has always been for good roles.

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“In the 80s, when I started my career in films, I used to accept whatever roles I would get. I’d take those roles and make them more interesting and nourish my talent. But later film directors like Ketan Mehta and Mahesh Bhatt offered me films that were gamechangers,” said Rawal who is popular for his Baburao Ganpatrao Apte character from film Hera Pheri.

Rawal said that times have changed and the industry is now producing sensible stories.

“Filmmakers used to steal story ideas from others earlier and had no guilt for it. The affected parties now hire lawyers and file cases against those who steal their ideas. The filmmakers and writers are now using their own stories,” he said.

Dismissing nepotism as a thing of past, he stated, “It is the people who make you a star. There are multiple examples of kids of filmmakers getting multiple breaks but not doing well on screen. They have been rejected by people as only talent works here.”

Rawal, who was honoured with Padma Shri in 2014, said that some filmmakers have used OTT platforms as a back-up option.

“Since they know that their films are not going to do well in the cinemas, they give it to OTT. Cinemas have box office figures where one can know if the film is working or not, but there is nothing like this with the OTT,” he said.

“However, OTT is a big support as they commission films to good filmmakers.”

Referring to his recent statement about suggesting some form of punishment for those who don’t vote, Rawal said, “I wanted to tell people that we all should vote because we can’t question the government later if we don’t cast our vote.”