I am hungry for roles that I haven’t played: Raghubir Yadav

- January 10, 2024
| By : Santosh Mehta |

Veteran Bollywood actor talks about his wish to move beyond comic roles and the experience of shooting in his hometown for an upcoming web-series

DAY-DREAMER: Yadav shot to fame with Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne, in which he played the role of the protagonist

Veteran Bollywood actor Raghubir Yadav, known for his performance in TV serial Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, has been working in Bollywood for over 30 years now and has carved a niche for himself in comic roles.

Though the 66-year-old actor regrets not diversifying and earning the tag of only a comedian, he has put in appreciable performances in Salaam Bombay, Newton, Sui Dhaagaa, Maya MemSaab, Bandit Queen, 1942: A Love Story, Peepli Live, Dil Se, Deewar, Shaheed-E- Mohabbat, Dilli 6, Lagaan, Asoka, Darna Mana Hai among others.

Yadav, who is a product of National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi, was interested in showbiz right from childhood and wanted to become a singer. He ran away from home at the age of 15 and joined Parsi Theatre Company, travelling in caravans while acting in plays in villages, towns and cities. He then shifted to Rangoli Puppet Theatre in Lucknow before joining NSD, which opened the doors for him. 

Yadav is now playing a significant role – that of a panchayat Pradhan — in the upcoming web-series Panchayat Season 3, which is directed by Deepak Kumar Mishra, a young and creative director and actor known for his remarkable work in Panchayat Season 2.  

Yadav spoke to Patriot in an exclusive interview.


Q: What kind of story is Panchayat Season 3?

A: Panchayat Season 3 is a story of an unemployed young boy called Abhishek Tripathi, played by the talented Jitendra Kumar. Tripathi wants to do MBA after completing his engineering but due to bad luck and difficult times, he has to serve as Panchayat secretary in Phulera, a fictional village.

It is shot in Mahodiya village in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh. Since I belong to the same place and was born there, it became more interesting for me to act in this web-series. I enjoyed delivering dialogues in the local language.

Q: Tell us about the cast in this web-series?

A:  Besides Jitendra Kumar, who is playing the role of the protagonist, there is also Neena Gupta who is acting as the wife of Pradhan Brij Bhushan Dubey (role played by me). Chandan Roy has been cast as Vikas, Faisal Malik as Prahlad Pandey and Sanvikaa is playing the role of Pradhan’s daughter ‘Rinki’.

Q: Are you satisfied with Panchayat’s story and direction?

A: I am not just happy and satisfied to work in this web-series, but also feel overwhelmed. Like the story, which is very simple and impressive, the direction is very good. The writer has written the script in a very simple style. Also, the director has shot this web-series in a very interesting way. Local language and dialect have been used and it looks very natural. I am sure the audience will be entertained with the upcoming web-series.

KEY ROLE: Raghubir Yadav played the role of Bhuraa in Lagaan

Q: What kind of role are you playing in Panchayat Season 3?

A: I will be playing Brij Bhushan Dubey, the Pradhan responsible for working for his villagers. The catchphrase of my role is “Mai Pradhan hoon Pradhan Mantri nahi ki mai road bahut jaldi banva dunga” (I am a village head not Prime Minister that I can get the road made quickly).

Q: Do you think you will get the same response which you got in two seasons of Panchayat web-series?

A: The audience saw the first two seasons again and again. They like them so much. So, I am confident that the audience will love this. It is a simple family story and close to the common people. It is easy for people to watch it at home on their smart phones at Amazon Prime Video, which is easy to access.   

Q: You have acted in Blackboard vs Whiteboard. What is the theme?

A: That film is based on government primary schools, which lack basic facilities and are therefore attended by only a few people. In rural areas like Bihar, people are poor and cannot afford to send their children to school. Instead, they want their children to do some work and earn money. My role was that of a Headmaster, and like the other roles I have played, I enjoyed playing this too. 

Q: You have acted in several Bollywood films. How would you describe your style of acting?

A: I come from a simple background and my mantra is also quite simple. Since I am a theatre person, I am always connected to my audience and fans. I work hard to give my best and make my audience happy. It’s true that I have acted in a variety of Bollywood films and worked with top actors and noted film-directors, but as an actor, I am still looking forward to playing other roles. I am always hungry for the roles I have not played so far.

Q: How do you decide to act in a specific role?

A: I carefully read the script before choosing any project. Reading the script makes things easier. I never accept a role without reading the script.

Q:  Is digital technology good or bad?

A: I think digital technology has positives and negatives but there is no doubt that it has given wonderful opportunities to upcoming actors, especially through the online platforms. Digital technology is harmful when people use it without basic knowledge.

Q: Who are your favourite actors?

A: I like Dilip Kumar, Uttam Kumar, Motilal and Balraj Sahni. All of them were legends and have passed away. These three are my idols and I love their creativity. I love to watch their films because they gave me a lot of in-depth knowledge and I appreciate their creativity.

Q: Any memories of Delhi?

A: I have a lot of unforgettable memories of Delhi, especially about NSD and having conversation over a cup of tea with my friends in Mandi House, which is full of energy. It is called the ‘happening place’ jahaan sapne sach hote hai (where dreams are fulfilled). There are upcoming actors, some of who got lucky to get even a little space either in theatre or films but others struggle. I remember all the lovely moments and cannot forget them.

DEBUT: Yadav’s Bollywood debut was in Massey Sahib, which was released in 1985

Q: Does your role as Mungerilal still hold a special place? 

A: Yes, I remember my performance in Mungerilal ke Haseen Sapne and my audience connects with that even today. I can say that the character was very important because it gave a message to people to get out of the habit of day-dreaming. It was directed by Prakash Jha, who is known for creativity in several films.