Rehearsals are a big help in dialogue based humour – Sunil Grover
Remember Sud from Hansi ke Phuware on Radio Mirchi. The ultra laze of a slow-witted clown narrating primitive jokes to induce a wide smile even on the most hesitant of faces. He is an absolute genius when it comes to impersonation. His version of SRK is the most realistic that you can go with any mimicry. And on the contrary his rendition of Dharmendra is lovably slapstick. Gutthi and Dr Mashoor Gulati are sensational. He outwits himself each time he creates a new character. And he is back with a character that bares semblance to Arnab Goswami.
Pandolin spoke with the much talented actor Sunil Grover about his latest film Coffee with D and the craft of acting.
How did Coffee with D happen?
Coffee with D happened because it had to happen. Shabina Khan (Producer) had produced Gabbar is Back. Also, Vishal Mishra (Director of Coffee with D) is a friend. Shabina suggested Vishal’s name and that he had a script. So, we met and on the very first day of the meeting we decided to do the film together.
The film boasts of a powerful ensemble cast. What was the process of working with them? Was there a workshop?
We met a couple of times before going on the floor and discussed a couple of things. We talked about the look of the characters, how to approach them and how their behaviour would be. Vishal and I sat together and discussed the minutest of details. It was his vision with some inputs from my end as well.
If you are rehearsing for a scene or each time when you have a retake, you find a new dimension to whatever you are doing
What’s your role in this film?
I play a television journalist called Arnab Ghosh. His channel is not doing well. So, for TRPs and to get attention towards the channel he manages to interview an underworld don. That’s the one-liner for it. There are some interesting twists and turns and dialogues and scenes to look for.
So, it’s a comic role?
Partially comic. It’s not over the top comedy. But the lines are funny because of sarcasm and situational comedy. The film is an entertainer that brings smile and laughter alternately.
I enjoy doing comedy and want to keep doing it
You are a master of characterization. Having created so many memorable characters, what is the starting point and how do you build upon that?
The starting point always is whether the thing that I am going to present to the audience, through whichever medium, will be able to connect with them? Will it be able to make them laugh or cry or smile? Will it be able to fulfill the objective of the character? If all that matches, then we go ahead and start developing it further.
Referring to rehearsals and retakes, Al Pacino once said that repetition keeps him green. Your thoughts.
I agree to that. If you are rehearsing for a scene or each time when you have a retake, you find a new dimension to whatever you are doing. You are able to understand it better. Even if it is a simple line, you understand it’s complexities in a better manner with each repetition. This helps in the delivery of lines with a better understanding. Repetition triggers thought and thought brings understanding. This is a chain reaction. It enhances your performance.
The starting point always is whether the thing that I am going to present to the audience will be able to connect with them?
Even in comedy?
Obviously, to a great extent. In comedy, a well-practiced scene enhances your sense of timing. If it is dialogue-based comedy then it’s imperative that you’ve understood the meaning and its timing. Understanding the timing can only come with practice.
Having said that, practice and delivery are two different games. When you deliver it, do it as if it’s happening for the first time. In comedy, sometimes what happens is that we rehearse a line for over fifty times but after that I try to discard all those fifty options. From those fifty rehearsals I’d pick one or two things for the takes and then trust my understanding of the text and start afresh on the floor. To let it flow and not go the rehearsed way is my process of working on it.
Spontaneous vs Prepared in advance?
For me, a mixture of both. But if I have to go with one then I will choose prepared in advance.
Is comedy, a personal favorite genre?
I enjoy doing comedy and want to keep doing it. This connects well with the audience. But it also depends on the kind of roles that are being offered. In Gabbar there wasn’t a single line of comedy. This film had the right balance of being serious, being funny and being a man for 2 hours 5 minutes.
The film is an entertainer that brings smile and laughter alternately
Do you have a dream role?
Oh, there are many! I want to play so many characters. Now the urge is even more. I would want to explore more genres provided that I am offered quality stuff and people accept me doing that.