In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Satish Kaushik speaks about reinventing himself, a possible ‘Mr. India’ remake, and more
If there’s one actor who has constantly stepped into many territories and broke the shackles of typecasting, it is Satish Kaushik. Throw any role at him, he’ll make it his own in his own inimitable style. The actor will be next seen in Guilty Minds on Amazon Prime Video. The series follows the journey of two young and ambitious lawyers. One of the main leads is the epitome of virtue, while the other is associated with a leading law firm, dealing with all shades of grey. The series will consist of ten episodes. All episodes will be available for viewing on April 22. In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Satish Kaushik speaks about reinventing himself, his Bollywood journey, a possible Mr. India remake, and more. Excerpts from the interview:
Can you tell me more about your character (Tejinder Bhalla) in Guilty Minds? Does the story revolve around the character and his wrongdoings?
The series covers a lot of stories of different criminal minds who come to court. Tejinder Bhalla is a very powerful, strong, and big businessman, just like the ones you see in North India. Being the liquor king, he has money, power, and influential connections; Bhalla is fearless. I have seen characters like him in my real life. I feel proud to be a part of Guilty Minds.
What made you say yes to it? What was that thing about the script that made you feel you should be a part of it?
When I heard the script, I realised that it’s a complex story as Guilty Minds deals with different stories with different characters. Tejinder Bhalla is one character that keeps coming back in most of the stories. Director Shefali Bhushan has made good films and it was a no-brainer to say yes. I was hooked to the script. I am doing new things in the series and that’s important for me as an actor.
You are working with young actors, how different was it? How is this generation different?
I am enjoying this process. It started with Udta Punjab and then in Soorma, Scam, Bloody Brothers, Sharmaji Namkeen, Guilty Minds, and most recently Thar with Anil Kapoor. All the directors and unit are relatively young and it becomes a great learning experience to work with these young minds. I did not get into acting by chance; I went to drama school, then FTII, and have done theatre, which has helped me in improving myself every day. At this age, I am trying to reinvent and redefine myself by interacting with younger generations. It’s a great opportunity to work with these young people.
In today’s time, there’s a team to write the script, dissect it, read it, research about it, improve it… the scripts are fantastic, otherwise they won’t work on it. This never happened in our times, we were just given two lines of narration and that was it. Things have become so professional and that’s lovely. I feel great that I am in the company of brilliant people who are good and committed to their work.
How has your journey been as an actor and director? Was there a time when people told you that you can’t make it?
I feel lucky to get what I wanted. After passing out from the National School Of Drama, I came to Bombay and started working as an actor. I never thought I’ll also become a director, producer, and writer. I’ve got more than what I wanted and I am very happy and proud of myself that I can race with the time and adapt and reinvent with it. I am more than satisfied but I am a very passionate actor and my hunger will never go. I would always want to keep on doing brilliant work and that motivates me to give my best. There’s so much work for the next two years that I feel satisfied.
Comedy is one of the most difficult genres but you do it brilliantly and make it seem easy. Tell us something about that.
It’s about how you approach a scene and not about attempting comedy or tragedy. I have been trained to perform a character and believe in it. I have played diverse characters like Calendar, Kunj Bihar, Muttu Swami, Pappu Pager, Sharafat Ali, or the one in Scam, Bloody Brothers, or now in Guilty Minds. I have learned to do justice to each character I play. My comic timing is a result of hard work and experience.
Do you think you are getting your dues as an actor and directors are finally realising your potential?
In the earlier days, actors were slotted and stereotyped. Things have changed now and directors have seen my work; they are confident to give me something different from what they’ve seen. I have worked as an actor in some 150 films, directed 15 big movies, written a few, and did television, I have done everything in my capacity, and getting dues as an actor was long pending. My performance in the 2007 Hollywood film Brick Lane was highly appreciated. I am telling the casting director and directors to offer me meatier roles. The smaller characters I’ve played have been impactful, but as an actor, I also want bigger roles. This is my hunger as an actor.
Do you think OTT platforms are a game-changer? Is content king now?
Yes, OTT has a great role in making content go worldwide. The freedom of making content, variety, and genre have changed. In our time, the plot of every film was more or less the same, directors used to mix and match content to give a fresh release. Boy meets a girl, separates and then meets her again was one of the most used plots. However, with OTT, content is the king, and filmmakers have started experimenting and exploring. The audience has also matured and they now demand intelligent content.
You have donned all the hats and you are not just a brilliant actor but an amazing director. If you have to choose between the two, what would it be?
I am a workaholic and enjoy writing and directing also, but if I had to pick one, it would be acting. That’s my first love.
Mr. India completes 35 years this year. If you had to remake it today, who would you cast?
It’s an iconic movie and I can’t imagine anyone doing it. I am sure people must have thought of remaking it, but that’s not possible. No one can do it like Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish Puri, and me. I feel no one should try to recreate it. You can make a film on a similar story but touching any classic will be a big mistake. Stay away from Mr. India.
What are your best memories from the film?
I can write books on it. I was a part of the film since it was written. We did special effects in the film even when there was no technology available at that time. We had some great minds on the sets – Boney Kapoor, Shekhar Kapoor, Javed Akhtar, Baba Azmi, Veeru Devgn, and others, that worked hard to make the film what it is. We worked together to bring the best performances.
We miss Sridevi and Amrish Puri so much. Not many people would know but Sridevi was running high temperature when she was shooting for the iconic song “Kaate Nahi Kat Te” in the rain. She was a dedicated actor. There are a few films in your career that you can writes books on.
We’ll be seeing you in Thar. Tell us something about your character.
My character in Thar is just like how Anil and I are in real life. We are two friends who are absolutely in sync with each other, have a lot of love and respect, and are dependent on each other. I have great regard and love as he has been part of my journey and a reason for making it successful. It’s a film which has moments of silence.