Hilarity ensues...

Hilarity ensues...

Hilarity ensues...

He is known for his impeccable comic timing and popular screen presence. Actor Manish Paul has become television’s most sought after host and also has a lot going for him as far as films are concerned. But this Delhi boy didn’t take any shortcuts to popularity. His beginnings remain as humble as he is.

“I am a typical Delhi boy with a conventional upbringing. I went to Apeejay School and earned a BA in Tourism. But I dared to dream big.”

Manish loved being on stage since his school days, and the ‘acting ka keeda’ had bit him while he was young. “I loved taking part in extracurricular activities, whether it was singing, dancing, acting in plays or hosting. I wasn’t really interested in studies. I would only study how much ever was necessary. My mom would beg me to get at least average grades. Like if she asked me to get 60 out of 100, I would study just enough to get 65.”

Manish held on to his childhood passion.

“My career on stage kicked off when I started hosting live shows in Delhi. I soon realised that I wanted to be in show business, so I headed to Mumbai in 2005.”

But, as one knows, it is not easy to get a break in the film industry, especially when you come from a non-filmy background. And as any struggling actor would, Manish tried his luck in all quarters, refusing to give up on his dream.

“I kept meeting people. It was during a meeting with the chief of a radio station that my tryst with radio came about. I wasn’t very keen on it. I wanted to be seen and radio wasn’t my idea of entering the media world. Plus, I figured that money wouldn’t be good and I needed money to survive in a city like Mumbai. However, I auditioned for an RJ’s post on impulse, thinking it might not work for me, and was selected. And the money wasn’t bad either,” the actor says with a mischievous grin.

Vocal popularity

Manish’s booming energetic voice soon became popular with Mumbaikars. “I enjoyed doing my show ‘Kasakai Mumbai’. I fell in love with radio. All my misconceptions about not being able to connect with the audience were shattered. I received an amazing response for my show and got a lot of love from the audience,” he says.

Recalling a fond memory from his radio days, he says, “I remember this once when I expressed my craving for vada pav during the show, and a few minutes later one of my listeners was waiting for me with a vada pav outside the studio. That was the kind of connection I had with my listeners.”

But the acting bug continued to gnaw at him and the restless actor started taking up TV soap assignments. Manish acted in many programmes including Radhaa Ki Betiyaan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi, Zindadil, Ssshhhh...Phir Koi Hai, and Kuchh Cook Hota Hai. “My first TV show was Ghost Bana Dost. But I wasn’t really happy with the kind of offers that came my way. So I took up hosting in reality talent shows like Dance India Dance, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Jhalak Dikhla Ja.”

Manish’s exemplary anchoring skills saw him host some popular award functions as well and landed him his first film. “My first film, Mickey Virus, happened while I was shooting for Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. While casting for the film, director Saurabh Varma approached me and said, ‘You are Mickey’. And that’s how I got the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned a lot at the same time.”

The actor is now gearing up for his next big release, a sequel to the unconventional comedy film Tere Bin Laden 2.

Beyond humour?

When asked if he is playing it safe by sticking to comic roles and does he feel pigeon-holed, Manish explains, “I don’t believe that I am going to be typecast as a comedian. People have seen the serious side to me in Mickey Virus and I have also signed a dark film. I don’t consider myself to be a comic actor. But, I like to inject humour into everything I do. It comes naturally to me. But I am definitely not restricting myself to comedies.”

After hosting, acting and being on air, Manish is all set to become a science geek with his latest show Science of Stupid on National Geographic.

Speaking about treading on unfamiliar territories, the actor says, “I am really excited about the show. I have never been interested in science so when this opportunity came along, I actually wanted to take it up. I learned a lot on the show. The show features some deadly and quirky accidents that have been caught on camera, and we try to explain the science behind them and what could have caused these disasters. We also give the viewers simple steps to avoid similar mishaps. The show is extremely educational, but everything is put forth in a fun way without making things boring.”

With fresh faces entering the film industry every year, it is generally the case of survival of the fittest, or in this case, the most talented. How does Manish handle competition?

“I am not worried about competition. I believe that my work will get me more work. So I don’t pay attention to what other actors are up to or which movies they have signed. I want my work to do the talking. I have faith in my abilities and any work performed with sincerity always gets rewarded.”