'I play Silver'
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- Published 1.12.11
Naseeruddin Shah wants him to join his theatre team. Vidya Balan thinks he is the best character actor in Bollywood. Yet Rajesh Sharma (picture left) doesn’t want to shift base to Mumbai. The 22shey Srabon top cop shares his Bolly-Tolly plans with t2.
Tell us about your role in The Dirty Picture...
I play Silver Ganesha, a south Indian producer-director who is instrumental in promoting Reshma (Vidya). It is he who gives her the name Silk. Silver is her friend, philosopher and guide. He is her mentor. He makes sleazy films with her and he doesn’t care about aesthetics as long as those films bring him money. He thrusts Reshma into the limelight and remains her friend throughout. But the two aren’t romantically linked.
|Jeffrey Archer in Calcutta in March during the launch of Only Time Will Tell, the first title in the five-part Clifton Chronicles, published by Pan Macmillan. A Telegraph picture|
How was it working with Vidya again?
Vidya and I go back a long way. I had done Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta with her, where I had a blink-and-you-miss role. Then we did Ishqiya and No One Killed Jessica.... She keeps telling me, ‘Rajesh, you must settle in Bombay’, and I tell her mushkil hai! (Laughs.) After No One Killed Jessica released, Vidya told me, ‘Rajesh, you are the best character actor we have now’.
I don’t want to settle in Mumbai because I love Calcutta. I have my friends and family here. Besides, Calcutta is so full of life. Bombay- bhalo... but no I can’t leave my Calcutta and settle there. Whenever there are offers, I take a flight, stay at a friend’s flat for 10-20 days, finish my portion and take the next flight back home. But now the work flow in Bombay has increased. There are lots of offers and I cannot do all of them. So I have decided to rent a flat in Bombay.
How do you go about picking your Bolly projects?
I know I have been doing bit roles in Bolly films ever since Khosla Ka Ghosla released. But if you notice, all the films — Parineeta, Chillar Party, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture — are with big banners. I have done films with UTV, Vishal Bhardwaj, Ekta Kapoor. The banner is very important to me.
Did you pick up acting tips from Naseeruddin Shah?
My first film with Naseerji was Ishqiya, followed by The Dirty Picture and Hriday Shetty’s Chaalis Chaurasi. On the sets of The Dirty Picture, he called me during a break and asked, ‘Tum theatre karoge mere saath?’ I was on cloud nine and asked him, ‘Kyun sir, aapne mujhe kyun chuna? Aisi kya hai mujhmein?’ He said, ‘Tumhari zubaan bahut saaf hai’.
And now, you will finally play the lead in a film...
I will be off to Ludhiana soon for Samir Sharma’s directorial debut... I play the central character, my first in a Hindi film. Samir had written Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot and Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat. But I can’t divulge the story.
Back home, what Tolly projects do you have?
I am doing Satabdi Roy’s Om Shanti. There’s a Raj Mukherjee film and one with Chinku (art director Indranil Ghosh).