OTT has redefined casting norms in industry: Mukesh Rishi

- June 15, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

The Sarfarosh actor praises south Indian film industry for its professionalism

BIG BREAK: Mukesh Rishi burst into limelight through his role of a cop in the 1999 film Sarfarosh

Bollywood actor Mukesh Rishi has said that Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms have shattered the myth about actor’s looks playing a part in them bagging roles in films.

“Previously, actors were expected to possess a distinctive look, personality or should be larger-than-life character to land a role but OTT has broken this barrier. There are new faces on OTT now, they know new things and acting craft very well,” Rishi shared with Patriot in a telephonic interview.

He said that he always wanted to learn to become a good actor.

“Having no film background, I did not receive any guidance. Whatever I have learned is through experience. Since I entered the industry on my own, learning was important for me to become a good actor and survive here,” said Rishi, known for his roles in films like Gardish, Loafer, Ghatak, Sarfarosh, Sooryavansham, Indian, Garv among others.

Renowned for playing villainous characters, Rishi called the film Gardish (1993) a big break in his career.

“It was for the first time that I played villain in a film. It was a big film for me as I got an opportunity to work with the top actors of the industry. This film holds special place in my heart,” he said.

Recalling his 1998 film Gunda which features unconventional dialogues, Rishi said many of his well-wishers told him that he should have avoided doing this film.

“But no one knew then that one day social media will come and young generation will find humour in it. Surprisingly, they are loving it,” he remarked.

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Rishi has fond memories from the national capital.

“I visit Delhi frequently to meet friends. I also come here for Ramleela play where I portray the character of Raavan,” he said.

“My visits to Delhi date back to my time spent in Jammu and Chandigarh.”

The 68-year-old actor confessed to avoiding unnecessary outings in Delhi.

“I don’t visit any market because of the traffic and distance. There is huge traffic in Delhi now and I prefer to spend my time with those who invite me,” said Rishi, known for his powerful characters like Zafar Supari from film Garv and Bulla from film Gunda.

Though Rishi, who hails from Jammu, has never done theatre, he has huge respect for people from theatre background.

“My people wanted me to do theatre but I didn’t want to. I respect theatre and its artists,” he said.

He highlighted that everyone doing theatre will not be an extraordinary actor.

“Because there are always two sides — good and bad. I respect those who have done theatre with dedication. I see it differently, as a real form of acting,” he stated.

Rishi said that times have changed in the industry.

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“You are offered new roles, new characters and you have to do them differently from the past and I have also adjusted myself in this scenario. I am also learning,” he affirmed.

He praised the professionalism prevalent in south Indian film Industry.

“Timing is very important for them and the film is made under a fixed budget. I think professionalism has come to other industries as well because it involves huge budget and big stars,” he said.

“The villains in south Indian film industry are getting due recognition and space in films.”

Reflecting on his days of struggle, the actor considered himself lucky.

“My father and uncles shifted to Mumbai in the 1960s to establish their business. So, I didn’t have to struggle for accommodation. Things then progressed smoothly,” said Rishi who is a sports enthusiast.

Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre-starrer Sarfarosh completed its 25th anniversary in May. Rishi played the role of Inspector Salim in the film.

“We were shooting for a film when Aamir Khan offered me Sarfarosh. I was shocked but excited too. I faced the screen test and qualified for it,” he concludes.