A perfect comic timing

Just for laughs

A perfect comic timing

Rakesh Bedi is a name that one immediately connects to a great sense of comic timing. Known for his memorable roles in Chashme Buddoor, Shrimaan Shrimati, Yes Boss, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Hum Sab Ek Hai, among others, he has also worked with the New Delhi theatre group Pierrot’s Troupe. Bedi is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India. Starting his career as a supporting actor in the film Hamare Tumhare starring Sanjeev Kumar, he has acted in over 150 films and several television shows. In this freewheeling chat, he also comes across as extremely affable and easy going and a great conversationalist.

“As far as I remember, even as a child, all I wanted to do was to act. Acting has always been a passion and even today, I have not thought of an alternative career option,” he laughs, adding, “Since my father was an engineer, I took up Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics even though he never coaxed me, but drama remained my favourite subject throughout.”

In his higher secondary exam, he knew his Chemistry paper had been bad, and was banking on the practicals to pass. “The school teacher who came to evaluate this was told that I had stood first in the Delhi Mono Acting competition and second in the All India Mono Acting competition, and since I had been attending these contests, I had not prepared well. On hearing this, the teacher took me to his room, locked it, and asked me to perform. He was thoroughly entertained and kept laughing. It was then that I realised that acting was my calling.”

Having dabbled in all three mainstream forms of acting — movies, television and theatre — Rakesh believes that for an actor they are all the same. “Films are something that remain for posterity. Take Sholay for example, there will never be another film like that or even Chashme Buddoor for that matter. In fact, even today, wherever I go, people remember my role and it makes me feel very good.”

He has also acted in several television serials and is one of the very few artistes who has seen the industry change. “I think barring a few initial soap operas like Nukkad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi etc, serials have not left a lasting impression. Today, all the shows are market-oriented and are not made from the heart. There were no TRP ratings when we did Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, and it was the brainchild of creative people at work. Today, an actor on the set does not question anything, and does his job rather mechanically.”

Rakesh has also essayed a serious role of a father in Sony’s recently concluded show Shubh Vivaah, and says it is a side of him that is not seen, as he does a lot of serious theatre. In his latest outing on television, Rakesh is seen hosting Science with BrainCafé, a science show on ZeeQ. This rib-tickling show will cover concepts of Bernoulli’s Principle, convectional currents, air has weight, chemicals, robotics, gases and bubbles, motors and gears, electricity and static and many more. “I chose to do this show because it allowed me some freedom and leverage with some humour as well. I am comfortable with children, as I enjoy being in their company and can make them laugh. Also, this comes naturally to me and the edutainment format appealed to my sensibilities.”

Theatre has, however, been something that he is proud of since he has been doing plays from the start of his long and illustrious career. “I am one of the few artistes that continue doing theatre, and my two-hour solo show Massage, written by Vijay Tendulkar, has been keeping me busy. My next project is a play that I have written, directed and will act in with others.

“I think the key to comedy lies in positivity. Laughter is a very important aspect, and it comes when you get the right reaction from co-actors. You have to learn to give a lot and encourage co-actors and then you will see that the comic effect is just right,” he signs off.

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