Faith is everything that drives all of us: Shreyas Talpade

May 01, 2023 Yogesh Mishra

Shreyas Talpade shot to fame with his critically acclaimed debut film, Iqbal. After that, although his other films like "Dor" and "Welcome to Sajjanpur" created a space for him in Bollywood, but in a true sense, Apna Sapna Money Money, Om Shanti Om, Houseful, and Golmaal-like movies gave a boost to his career. Currently, he is working on Kangana Ranaut’s most-awaited movie "Emergency," where he is playing the role of our ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. In an exclusive interview with Yogesh Mishra, he spoke about his initial days in Bollywood, Working experience with Kangana Ranaut, future projects and more. 

You are playing the role of ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Kangana Ranaut's next "Emergency". How was your working experience with team Emergency?

Not every actor is that fortunate to be approached to play a part like this on screen. I feel very fortunate and happy, but at the same time, if someone gives you a kind of responsibility, trusts you, and has faith that you will probably be able to pull it off, you will have to live up to that. So, for that, whatever labour is required, you should do. I have given my best; let’s see what will happen when the film releases.

Apart from you, who else were the options for the role of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji?

I really don't know. I think these questions should be asked to Kangana Ranaut and not me. She should probably answer this question. When I was approached for this role, I was quite happy and nervous too. I decided to play this role. I really have no clue if she had any other options for this role. 

What a coincidence! You were just born during that period of emergency and are now portraying an important role in that film based on the events of the emergency in India. Any comment? 

There has to be some destiny involved because I was just born in that particular year when it happened, and then to relive that era on screen I think destiny has some role here. I'm happy that today's people want to know more about what has happened in our country during these times. Whether it is a film like The Kashmir Files, Emergency, or any other true story, we portray the true character. People are more receptive and want to know what happened those days. To portray such a character, I think you need to have guts to get those things on screen. Kangana has the courage to act, produce, and direct a film at that scale. It's a huge film and a huge responsibility, and the way she has shot across the locations is a big thing. For us, it is a big film, and people are more receptive to this kind of film today. We just hope that whenever it is released, people will find it good.

Today, Satish Kaushik ji is not with us. It's a big loss for Bollywood. He has also worked in "Emergency". How was your working experience with him?

There is a small sequence in the film where we are together, but we don't have lines together. 

This is your second film directed by a female director. After Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om, and now the Emergency of Kangana Ranaut, Did you find any difference between a male director and a female director?

Honestly, there is no difference because the intention, enthusiasm, and energy are pretty much the same. I didn't feel any difference between a male and a female director. All of them had the same kind of clarity in what they did. The kind of vision, clarity, and home work that they do, I think, is phenomenal. I don't find any difference.

Your initial two films, Iqbal and Dor, were critically acclaimed and received recognition in the industry, but you didn't make another such film. Any comment? 

I kept doing different kinds of films like Apna Sapna Money Money, Houseful, and Golmaal; that was the phase when these multi-starrer movies were made. Especially between 2006 and 2012 and post-that, I remember things changing and stories from smaller towns and true stories, so probably by that time my image was good in the comedy genre. That’s the reason: the generation changed, film’s trend changed, and the people we wanted to work with changed. There were lots of changes, which is why I didn’t get the chance to work with films like Welcome to Sajjanpur, Iqbal, or Dor again. But now films like Kaun Pravin Tambe and Pushpa are completely different. The films I am doing are one comedy, one rom-com, one thriller, and one film like Emergency. Things are changing with the generations, and new filmmakers are coming ahead. 

You have given a mind-blowing voiceover in Pushpa. Did you ever imagine before its release that this film was going to be a blockbuster?

No idea. When you make a film, you have no clue how people are going to receive it. Sometimes we feel that, I don’t know what we're doing and all, but when a film releases, you suddenly realise, oh, people have different reactions all together. I still remember when the producer of Pushpa approached me and said that he wanted to release this in India but didn’t know how the response would be, but we had faith. Faith is everything that drives all of us. So I thought of giving my best, and the rest is history. Now (for Pushpa2), the way people have reacted to the teaser is phenomenal. 

Out of your films only, which is closest to your heart?

All my films... Kaun Pravin Tambe, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Iqbal, Dor, and Golmaal Again, these are some of my favourite films.

In this age too, megastar Amitabh Bachchan is still an inspiration for youngsters. Any comment?

Big B (Amitabh Bachchan) has always been an inspiration for all of us. We always not only idealise but worship him, not because he is a megastar. Why is he a megastar? The kind of conviction he puts into the roles, whether it is drama, comedy, romance, action, or anything else. He has done it with so much power and conviction that you feel for his character. You can feel that it is you in that. The person fighting on the screen is fighting for me. We have loved him because, today, we try to be even a little bit like him. We have always seen and idealised him. During Pushpa, I always thought that I should do like BigB. Whatever we need to do, even workshops, etc., we do to be like him. When I got this opportunity to do something like BigB in Pusha, I did it, and it is like a tribute to him. Till today, the kind of hunger he has to perform better and better, is phenomenal so, we worship him like he is our God. 

Apart from Emergency, what are your other upcoming projects?

I am doing "Single Salma" with Huma Qureshi and director Soham Shah’s "Kartam Bhuktam". These are slated to release in the second half of this year.

In the context of your upcoming film "Emergency", would you like to give any message to the readers of Bollywood Town?

I would request that people go to a theatre and watch the film. Somewhere, it feels like, after OTT, people will go to the cinema hall or not. Please go to the cinema hall with your family and friends and watch the film.

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