Laughing with the stars

Fair play: Payal Goga Kapoor (centre) with comedian Johney Lever and Vindu Dara Singh (far right)

Daughter of a popular villain in Hindi films, Payal Goga Kapoor has been making her presence felt on stage, particularly in comedies like Golmaal – The Play

If the name Payal Goga Kapoor sounds familiar, it’s because her father Goga Kapoor was a popular Hindi film actor who played a part in hit films of the 1970s: Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi, Yaadon ki Baarat, and Karavan. Payal was in Delhi recently for a theatrical production of Golmaal, which too is a familiar name, what with Amol Palekar’s feature film Golmaal leading to Golmaal 2 and 3, Golmaal Again and Golmaal Returns. Clearly, audiences can’t get enough of the themes that succeeded in films during the formula days — and are willing to shower love on film dynasties.
When Goga Kapoor died in 2011, Amitabh Bachachan mourned the death of the talented actor with whom he had acted in so many films. Hailing from Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan, Ravinder Kapoor (to give him his original name) lived in Delhi with his wife and child till he got his first break in Mumbai with Jwala (1971). His most popular role was as Dinkar Rao in Agneepath but he also played his part in iconic films like Coolie, Satte Pe Satta, Yaarana, Laawaris, Dostana, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Zanzeer and Qayamat Se Qyamat Tak.


EK THA VILLAIN: Goga Kapoor was a part of many iconic Bollywood movies like Coolie, Agneepath, Satte pe Satta and more

Now, one of his three daughters, Payal, is taking forward her father’s name and legacy. True to her genes, she is an actor, not in films but in Hindi and English theatre for the last 10 years. She has been part of hundreds of performances of plays. Dekho Magar Pyar Se, Gaj Foot Inch and Three Flights are considered among her best. Payal has also acted in a couple of Urdu and Punjabi TV serials. She has also played the main lead in an Indo-Canadian film. She is also a professionally trained dancer. A new Hindi comedy called Baat Baat Mein Bigdey Haalat marks her debut as a producer:

So are you more inclined towards theatre or films? Is being Goga Kapoor’s daughter helpful?
I love theatre, it gives me more satisfaction performing before a live audience whose reactions I can see. And yes, I am grateful to God that I am the daughter of such a wonderful father, thanks to whom I was able to establish myself as a recognised theatre actor. I am proud of him, that is why I have added my father’s first name to my name.

How do you like Delhi?
I have special feelings for Delhi because my parents used to live here. Though I was born and brought up in Mumbai, I can say Delhi dilwalo ki hai.

What kind of changes have you seen after your father’s time in Bollywood?
There was a time when Bollywood films became hits due to the villain’s character. That era is gone now. To play villainous characters, my father used to practice his dialogues even at home and was always focused on his performance. That’s why audiences still remember his dialogues. Since then, Bollywood films have changed a lot.

What’s Golmaal about?
Golmaal – The Play is a comedy, a satire on the education system, including its functioning and policies, and the trouble parents have running pillar to post. The popular duo Lakhbir Lahiri and Lucky Hans are the directors. Apart from Vindu Dara Singh, the play features Sheeba, Rajesh Puri, Surleen Kaur and Akashdeep. We were laughing during the rehearsal and in actual performance I enjoyed working with Vindu Dara Singh because he is very caring.

What kind of reactions have you got for Golmaal?
I am happy to say that many well-known film-personalities and singers gave positive responses. Johney Lever said, “Wakayi hi kamala dhamaal comedy hai! (It’s really a hilarious comedy)!” Archana Puran Singh stated, “It’s a great laugh-a-minute comedy!” Singer Alka Yagnik commented, “I think “Golmaal….” is the funniest play I have ever seen”! The view was endorsed by Sonu Nigam, while Pankaj Udhas found it “pure non-stop laughter.”
Actor-director Parmeet Sethi said, “Outstanding. People will understand what I’m saying when they see the play.” “It’s very hard to make an audience laugh and Golmaal has passed the test with flying colours!” said Avtar Gill.

How did you come to be involved in theatre?
It was my friend Sameer Iqbal Patel’s idea. When he narrated a script, I fell in love with it on the spot. I felt I must perform that play on stage. Therefore, both of us decided to do the project together. Our production house Full House produces films and television shows.

So you enjoy comedy more than serious plays.
Yes, you are right. I am always passionate entertaining people through comedy. People need quality entertainment where they can have a good time and forget their daily stresses. So, such plays are paisa vasool entertainment.

Can you share some memories of your father?
I still remember while growing up my father always taught me love or respect elders. He would say, “Work hard and have patience. Your feet should be on the ground. Do not think that you are big star now.” I always remember those beautiful words by my father. Even superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are very humble.

Any special qualities needed for getting into acting?
I think one should be humble, hard-working and love human beings then luck will favour you. Some people get success easily but some don’t. However, one should always believe in oneself.

Do you want to give any message to aspiring actors?
I have seen a lot of young people come to Mumbai with their dreams. They sometimes go in a wrong direction when they face failure, but my advice is that they should have confidence and stay focused.

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