'Actors get typecast in our industry'

Forthright

Best known for essaying the role of Bhatia in popular television comedy series Office Office, Manoj Pahwa says the Indian entertainment industry is not open to experimentation and typecasts actors if their role as a particular character becomes popular.

“Comedy stuck on to me since Office Office. There are not many people in the business who are willing to experiment. So, whosoever has been good at performing a particular kind of role in the past, (which in my case happens to be comedy), bags the project. We have to perform roles which are accepted by the public,” says the artiste, adding that his physique also suits the characters he is usually cast for.

Taking a pause, Pahwa says that as an actor he does not have much choice as “you have to survive”.

“However, I try to break the monotony by taking up other kind of roles, and have also played a villain in a TV show called Sea Hawks,” he adds.

The actor, who has also worked in films like Dil Dhadakne Do, Dedh Ishqiya, Jolly LLB and Dabangg 2, started acting during his school days, and says he used to play Lord Ram’s brother Lakshmana at mohalla Ramlilas.

“Gradually, I started enjoying myself and thought of taking up acting seriously. I then learnt about the National School of Drama and became a member of theatre group Hastakshar. Rest, as they say, is history,” he tells Metrolife.

From then on he went on to act in shows like Hum Log, and is now all set to perform in the city as part of ‘Bhishmotsav’, a play that brings together five short stories by renowned playwright and writer, Bhisham Sahni.

“I play the role of a narrator in Dholak, which is the story of a small town boy who goes to the city to study and gets influenced by urban life. He comes back for a marriage in the family, and is unable to cope with the traditions being forced upon him. The play is not a solo act; I help keep it together,” he says.

Ask him about his favourite medium — films, theatre or television — and Pahwa says while all mediums have their own charm and challenges, he owes his success to theatre.

“I owe my success to theatre; it is because of it I have achieved whatever I have. And there is no doubt that the charm of theatre is unmatchable. It is the only medium where an actor gets to study and understand his character. It is more organised as compared to films where the 50th scene is shot on the first day of shooting, while the first scene is shot on the 15th day,” he shares.

“And I am glad,” he continues, “that more people are now willing to associate themselves with theatre, and the medium is becoming popular and good productions are
getting sponsors.”

Bhishmotsav was first staged at NCPA, Mumbai in August 2015, to celebrate Bhisham Sahni’s 100th birth anniversary.

Presented by Old World Culture, the play will be staged at NCUI Auditorium, 3, August Kranti Marg (20 May); and Epicentre, Gurgaon (May 21 and 22).

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