Known for his impeccable comic timing, actor Arshad Warsi made his Bollywood debut with Tere Mere Sapne in 1996, which did fairly well at the box office. However, the actor really arrived in 2003, when the industry met its very own Circuit in Munnabhai MBBS in 2003. Since then there has been no looking back for Arshad, who is hailed as one of the best actors in the industry today.
In the recent past, his career has had a few stumbling blocks when Welcome To Karachi and Guddu Rangeela didn’t manage to make an impact at the box office. Arshad, however, is the least perturbed. Bollywood’s much-loved Circuit has clearly distanced himself from the rat race. He is content with his own pace and is in no hurry to finish first. Currently he’s looking forward to his next film The Legend of Michael Mishra, and says 2017 will be a packed year for him. The actor took some time to talk about films and more. Excerpts from an interview:
What took you so long to do a film after Welcome To Karachi?
I am more than happy sitting and chilling at home. This year and next year I will be busy with all old demons.
Legend of Michael Mishra got delayed quite a bit. How do you handle such things?
These things are out of anyone’s control. It is just unfortunate. Jolly LLB was stuck for nine long months.
Tell us something about The Legend...
I enjoyed shooting the film. My director Manish Jha is a nut. Believe me, he is a completely mad guy — one of the strangest person I have met in my life. He is a smart guy and I agreed to do this film when he came to me with the script. He has such a bizarre thought process, his own little world. It’s a desi rom-com set in Patna in which I play Michael Mishra.
How do you go about signing a film?
I get bored very easily. I try to do films, which are exciting and interesting. When I got bored of comedy, I did Ishqiya and Jolly LLB. I end up choosing scripts that aren’t regular.
Are you upset about not being a part of Jolly LLB 2?
No, not at all. I am happy that Akshay Kumar is doing the film. I feel he is one actor who can be ordinary as well as larger than life. However, if one talks about replacing me, then I believe that it is all about minting money in the movie business. The films I do have great scripts and I believe that producers need a bigger star than me to market the film. That way it is easy for them to promote and distribute their film.
Which directors you are most comfortable working with?
I don’t want to be biased towards anyone. I am comfortable with each director I have worked with. I never had issues with anyone. But if I must answer, I’m most comfortable working with Rajkumar Hirani, Subhash Kapoor and Abhishek Chaubey.
Do you regret not working with Kabir Khan after his debut film, Kabul Express?
Nothing like that. He had roles for me but I didn’t like them, so we never got to work together after Kabul Express. I feel the scripts have to be in right place. Kabir and I are family — we chill at each other’s homes.
As an actor, do you find the system of film distribution problematic?
Unfortunately, it is a jungle law. There is no thumb rule. The stronger actors will remain strong and the smaller ones will always struggle. It is sad that every film doesn’t get equal importance.
How much has the comedy scene changed?
I am not very fond of sex comedies. I don’t like watching such films. I know that I won’t ever do any kind of sex comedy. I don’t find it funny. But I can’t blame the filmmakers either. There is a certain section of people that enjoy watching sex comedies. It’s demand and supply. Sex comedies are making money and so more of those are getting made. For me, money is important, but not more than self-respect. I can’t see my kids watching me in some awkward situation on screen.
Is it true that you’ve quit smoking for your kids?
I want to give up smoking badly. My kids are like my parents. I never hide anything from them like I never hide anything from my parents. I smoke when my kids are not around.
Besides Legend of Michael Mishra, what are the other projects you have got planned for next year?
Next year is going to be all about third and fourth editions of previous franchises. I am doing Golmaal Again and after that I will start on the third instalment of the Dhamaal series. Munnabhai 3 will happen only after that.
How excited are you about Munnabhai 3?
I am super excited to be back with Sanju. I haven’t read the script, but I am very thrilled. It is not Munnabhai Chale America, but an entirely new script. I am sure when people come to know about the film, they’ll love it. I am not sure when it will go on the floors because Raju is busy with Sanjay’s biopic. But it will happen for sure next year.