The minute you take his name, serials like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Shrimaan Shrimati and films like Chashme Buddoor come to mind. Apart from these, there have been 100 such productions that Rakesh Bedi has been part of. But even amidst TV and films, his love for theatre brews continuously.
Recently in Delhi to perform Massage, Rakesh Bedi talks to Metrolife about films and theatre at large.
Theatre is keeping this veteran busy but his sharp insight into Bollywood cannot be ignored. He points out that the 80s was the era of formula films. “It was of course different from today and the films produced were hero-heroine films. There were a few path- breakers like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro but by and large, it was a formula film era, whereas now, young filmmakers, are a lot into experimentation. Gangs of Wasseypur is just one example,” he says confessing that when new types of films are being made, then there is less scope for old faces to be incorporated. “Everybody wants a new face.”
In this struggle, theatre is what keeps him occupied. What keeps him glued to the stage is, “the kick that an actor gets out of a live performance. There is no bigger reward for an actor than a full house audience which cannot be bought through money!” He is doing TV as well but not aggressively, “because once you get wrapped up in daily soaps, it consumes a lot of time and takes away your creativity. So even if you give a good shot, nobody realises.”
His experimentation with roles continues unabated. “In Massage, I enact many characters that have not been seen till now. One needs to rediscover oneself as one often falls into a comfort zone.” Rakesh goes on to stress the importance of theatre mirroring society.
A scene in his play depicts the importance of raising a voice for crime against women reflecting the cause. “I keep modifying the play. After the 16 December case, I modified it all the more so as to raise awareness about timely help that can avoid such untoward incidents.”
He feels that Delhi audiences have come of age but the government rules in Delhi irk him. “The rules are old, outdated and not theatre-friendly at all.
“Another depressing fact is, everybody in Delhi wants a free ticket. Watching a play on a free ticket is the worst crime that can be committed when it comes to theatre! Whenever my family comes to watch a play, they pay for a ticket, then why can’t others? Unless the free-ticket policy is eradicated, theatre will not prosper in Delhi,” he says.
He welcomes the changing trend of cinema and feels that films are more relevant in today’s time. Ask him about any role that he wants to pursue and he narrates Ghalib’s verse, “Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ki har khwahish pe dum nikale, bahut nikale mere arman lekin phir bhi kam nikale.
“For me, the best is yet to come. I feel want my audiences to feel that what I am doing right now, is the best there is. That there could be nothing better than this!” Amen.