Riteish on Cash and comedy

HE WAS just another politician's kid trying to ride papa's power wagon to fame. At least that's how people saw Riteish Deshmukh when he entered Bollywood with an insipid Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003. It was Masti in 2004 that changed things for Maharashtra...

By N Anandhi (Contributor)

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Published: Fri 27 Jul 2007, 10:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:43 PM

riteshchief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's son. Now after Bluffmaster, Kyaa Kool Hain Hum, Apna Sapna Money Money, Malaamal Weekly and several other comedies, Riteish has carved a niche for himself in the film industry. He's no longer the CM's son, he's Riteish Deshmukh. And it's definitely a matter of pride for the young actor that Vilasrao Deshmukh's Wikipedia entry says he is the father of Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh.

After donning a number of comic avatars and mastering the art of sidekickism, the actor will now be seen in Cash in a new role that of an action hero. Then there're the comedies Heyy Babyy and Dhamaal up for release. Not only that, Riteish has a stint with Amitabh Bachchan coming up in Aladdin. Ask him why he did so many comedies and he laughs. "I am employed only because I am doing comedies. I've been lucky that my comedies have succeeded," he says between chuckles. Riteish has an interesting take on humour. "Humour is a vast theme and can be shown through so many different situations. There is a lot of scope for experiments. So I quite enjoy doing comedies."

Why then did he move to an action film Cash? "Yes, I will be doing a lot of stunts in the film. I decided on Cash more than a year ago and since then have appeared in a lot of comedies. It's just that I am trying to work on different subjects and can do that only when an opportunity presents itself. So when it did I took it," Riteish explains.

When he says that, one can't help but wonder if the roles coming his way are good enough. Are they? "I am very happy with the roles that come my way. I never thought I would work beyond my first film. I loved films and I got an opportunity to see myself on screen. Then people kept casting me, taking risks and losing money," he laughs. Of course, Riteish is being modest. Many of his comedies have been hits and he's won accolades for his comic timing.

Any industry veteran will tell you comedy is the hardest of any genre. It's easy to make people cry, but tough to make them laugh. But Riteish carries it off with ease. Point this out and he avers: "Acting has two aspects understanding and expressing. When a scene is explained to you, you are supposed to understand it well and then project it. In a comedy, the humour is written and as an actor you have to express it. Some actors are so good that they improvise on their lines and create magic on screen. But with me, I have been lucky that all my scenes have been well written." Riteish's modesty is heartwarming.

Coming up is the much hyped Sajid Khan film Heyy Babyy, where Riteish will go back to his roots. He plays a Maharashtrian mulga Tanmay Joglekar. "I had to speak in Marathi sometimes and especially when my character gets angry he rants and abuses in Marathi," the actor says, Marathi being his real-life native tongue. His character is a colorful, flirtatious one, a party entertainer who dressed up like a teddy bear for children.

"My character is quite different from my own personality. So it was fun playing this role," he smiles. The character was etched specially by Sajid Khan for Riteish. "He felt I was the only one who could make weird faces and look like a teddy bear even without wearing the mask. I don't know if that's a compliment or an insult," he chuckles.

Weird faces and slapstick comedy is one thing. But holding your own against Amitabh Bachchan, a k a Big B, is another ball game altogether. And this game is exactly what Riteish will be playing when he begins shooting for Aladdin. "I fear him a lot. I fear him because I respect him. He is a very friendly person but sometimes you fear someone because you respect that person a lot. Earlier, I worked with him in Darna Zaroori Hai but Aladdin will be my first full length film with him," says the Deshmukh family scion. For the film, Riteish had to prepare a lot because of the special effects involved. So a lot of workshops and a thorough explanation of the blue screen are pending.

Thanks to his on-screen shenanigans, Riteish has established himself as an actor. But few know that he is a talented architect too. How is that going? To this Riteish admits that acting has overshadowed his architectural aspirations. "I undertake a couple of architecture projects. We just finished two multiplexes in Aurangabad and Latur. We are also designing a couple of residential and office buildings, office and home interiors," he reveals. Being an architect, he has his quirks. For example, when Riteish is shooting in plush building or architectural marvels, he makes it a point to check out the materials used and the finer details. "But there is a lot of difference in architecture and art direction. Sets are just like skeletons and moulds that are made in 15 days. If an architect makes them it will take four months. Stability and strength of a set is different because people dance on the sets. Sound absorption and various factors have to be checked," he says, the architect in him peeking out. An actor and an architect, Riteish sure is a versatile man.

So daddy dearest must be proud of his son's achievements. Does he come up with words of wisdom or compliments after watching Riteish doing his jig on-screen? "After watching Apna Sapna Money Money, he said that if he had a daughter she would definitely look like I did in the film," he guffaws. And does Deshmukh senior watch all of his movies? "He has to!" is the parting shot.

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