Pankaj Kapoor, Paresh Rawal: Talented Actors, Celebrate Birthdays on May 29 & 30

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Two versatile actors, , remembered for the clumsy detective role, Karamchand, won three National Awards, celebrates his birthday on Monday, May 29. Paresh Rawal, an actor-, has his birthday on May 30. He is known for his roles as a villain and a comedian. Paresh has been in the eye of the storm, in a Twitter controversy, where he targeted activist . Smriti profiles these two actors, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.   

 Pankaj Kapoor, a member of the Walking Acting School of India

He is fondly remembered as the carrot chewing, clumsy detective, Karamchand. He has immortalised many other characters on the silver screen, has won three National Awards, and, along with  actors, Naseeruddin Shah, , Irfaan Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Manoj Bajpayee  and Nawazuddin Siddiqui  is considered the “Walking Acting School of India.” He is Pankaj Kapoor, who turns 63, on May 29th this year.

Pankaj has had a tremendous career as an actor. This engineering graduate, who topped his college, chose acting his future career by joining NSD, and after graduating from here, did theatre till he was offered a role in Gandhi by Richard Attenborough. He even dubbed for Ben Kingsley for the Hindi version of the film. Thereafter, he starred in many movies, considered to be parallel cinema, Mandi, Jaane Bhi Do Yaron, Khandahar, Khamosh, to name a few. Most of his films were directed by leading directors such as Shyam Benegal, Kundan Shah, Mrinal Sen, Vishal Bharadwaj, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and won many national awards.

While he was enjoying success and critical acclaim in Bollywood, he switched to television and did many popular serials, Karamchand and Zabaan Sambhal ke amongst them. His tryst with cinema and television continued simultaneously and he gave memorable performances in movies, including Chameli Ki Shaadi, Jalwaa and Raakh, which won him his first National Film Award. Later, he won the National Award (the ) for his strong performance of a struggling scientist in Ek Doctor Ki Maut. His stunning performance as the short stature, pot-bellied, “Abbaji”, in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Maqbool, once again won him the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.

This owns a family, which comprises of many talented, versatile actors. At present, he is married to Supriya Pathak, who herself is a fine actress and belongs to a family that is totally dedicated to theatre and movies. Her sister Ratna Pathak Shah is married to the renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah. Supriya and Ratna’s mother, Dina Pathak, was actively involved in theatre and movies, and remembered for her character as the strict disciplinarian mother in the movie, Khoobsoorat, while their father was a famous tailor and used to stitch clothes for the superstar Rajesh Khanna.

Shahid Kapoor, the heartthrob of female fans of all age groups, the powerhouse of acting, is Pankaj’s son from his first marriage to Neelima Azim, who is a trained Kathak dancer and a television and movie actor.

An artist never ages, and Pankaj proves this by still being very active in movies and television. Different Truths family wishes a very happy birthday to our young-at-heart, Karamchand.

Paresh Rawal: A Talented Actor-Politician who raked-up Controversies on Twitter

Paresh Rawal, the renowned actor, and politician was born on 30th May 1950, in Mumbai (Bombay then). He is married to Swaroop Sampat (Miss India 1979) and has two sons, Aditya and Aniruddha. He is a member of Lok Sabha and a staunch supporter and follower of .

Paresh was a very mischievous child, poked fun all the time and loved making everyone laugh in the class. At a very tender age, he realised his love for acting and was encouraged by his teachers to pursue his passion. As Paresh says, “I just had this deep burning passion inside me. And acting, I realised, was the outlet for my emotions. When I acknowledged that, the process of my learning began.” Thus, he joined professional theatre, in 1973, with the Indian National Theatre’s Vhent Chetu Maut (Death is just a Span).

Paresh was happy doing theatre and had no intention of joining films until he saw Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, and Amitabh Bachchan. His desire to be with them and act with them instigated him to act in films. He tried to get a break in art cinema but had no luck there. He even met Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalini, and Kumar Sahni, but none had anything to offer him. Failing in his efforts to get a role in films, he went back to theatre. But things changed for him when producer Karim Morani watched one of his shows at Prithvi Theatre and suggested his name to Rahul Rawail.

Paresh debuted in Rahul Rawail’s film, Arjun, in 1985, in a supporting role. But his talent was acclaimed and noticed in the 1986 blockbuster, Naam, in which he played the villain. From here on he went on to work in more than 100 films, mostly as villain, such as Kabza, King Uncle, Ram Lakhan, Daud, Baazi and also the cult comedy movie of 90s, Andaaz Apna Apna, in which he played a double role.

His image of a character artiste drastically changed after his portrayal of Baburao Ganpata Rao Apte in the Bollywood cult classic, Hera Pheri, in 2000. His performance was the major factor for the film’s success and he won the Filmfare Best Comedian Award for the same. Hera Pheri was a major turning point in Paresh’s career. From playing to a villain, his genre changed into comedy, and he was seen in multi-star comedy hits as one of the lead protagonist, such as Awara Pagal Deewana, Hulchul, Welcome, Bhool Bhulaiya, to name a few.

In 2012, he produced, OMG- Oh My God and played the lead role too. The film questioning the existence of God and superstitions attached to it, and unveiling the racket of religious gurus, was a huge success. Paresh was highly acclaimed for his performance. Another interesting project of Paresh is an upcoming biopic on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With Paresh’s versatility and acting talent, this is going to be another feather in his cap though he already has big kitty full of many major awards including National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Padmashree, in 2014.

Acting in films did not take Paresh away from his first love that is theatre. He had a very career in Gujarati plays. He even worked for television by acting and producing many soap operas.

Surprisingly, Paresh, who got recognition by playing a villain is not satisfied by the way villains are portrayed in Hindi films. Barring his roles in Kabza and Dakkait, he finds others just caricatures, not well written. As he himself said in an interview, “They are all caricatures, without much thought being invested in them. I know they are bad; I know I’ll not repeat them.” Though the audience always loved his performances as a villain and the comic side which he added to these characters.

Paresh will always be remembered for his fine performances in the movies, Sardar, Tamanna, and Sir. Sardar based on Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, according to Paresh was the biggest challenge of his career. He played a eunuch in Pooja Bhatt’s Tamanna, on his acceptance to play this role, Paresh says, “My intention was to disabuse the impression that eunuchs are not caricatures. I wanted to give them a human face and dignity. If my performance has helped achieve that in even a small way, it will be a small victory for me.” No wonder this fine actor describes himself as, “I am just an actor. Don’t brand me as a villain or comedian. That would be like asking a batsman to score by hitting only square cuts!”

Just like his acting career, Paresh has a successful political career too and unlike many other film stars, he respects the confidence showed in him by the people of his constituency and is proactive in the Lok Sabha. Though sometimes he does runs into controversies, like very recently he tweeted that Arundhati Roy should be tied to army jeeps instead of the stone pelter. When asked about this, he reportedly said that it was in reply to Arundhati’s remarks she made against the Indian Army on a visit to Kashmir. He later told the Indian Express, “I know it is harsh. I meant it to be harsh. That’s why I got the desired effect — it has called the attention of the nation to what she (Roy) has been saying and a debate will start now.” He, however, deleted this tweet.

Hope his 67th birthday on 30th May, brings him more creative success and happiness in life.

©Smriti Maheshwari

Photos from the internet.

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Smriti Maheshwari

Smriti Maheshwari

Smriti Maheshwari loves cooking, reading, mostly fiction and thrillers. She enjoys mythological stories too. She also loves meeting people and making friends, socialising, and is a big movie buff. A homemaker and a dreamer, she stays in Allahabad with her husband.
Smriti Maheshwari