Chunky Panday has always been seen as a dependable comic actor in the Hindi film industry, but lately the actor seems to be on a path of reinvention. He has picked up meaty roles as a villain in Begum Jaan and Saaho in the recent years along with also reviving his iconic Aakhri Pasta in the Housefull franchise.
Recently, he was seen in the anthology Shuruat Ka Twist that was released as a part of Voot Select Film Fest and in an exclusive conversation with SpotboyE.com, the actor gets candid about reinventing himself, what could have been if he got such offers earlier, promotions in the midst of the loss of his mother, Housefull 5 and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
Chunky sir, your last project was Shuruat Ka Twist. Tell us something about it that would intrigue the audience and why you chose to do a short film after such a long time in your career?
The name is misleading since twist end mein aata hai (Laughs). I was never a short film person. I always liked the three hour films which have songs, dance, action and romance. I used to think who can tell a story in just 15 minutes? But a very renowned producer once told me that if you don’t understand the story within the first five minutes of a narration, don’t do it. So, when the director came to narrate the story to me, while he was narrating, I came up with about 10-15 endings to it, so it twisted my mind.
Kamal Kumar’s character was also somewhat similar to me in real life. He is a has-been music director, who was once a superstar but now is on the road. So, I could understand his pain, anguish and struggle and I decided to do it. This was two years ago and we shot it while I was also shooting Saaho. We didn’t have much budget and time, so we completed the shoot in just two days and in just the producer’s room which we showed as three different rooms and two corridors.
I was scared initially as the film was 18 minutes long and it was just me for 15 minutes. It was like a screen test and I was so nervous while shooting it and it reflects in the film. But I enjoyed working on it a lot.
After more than three decades of being in the industry, you seem to be reinventing yourself at a time when your own daughter Ananya Panday is trying to make her mark. How does it feel walking on a similar path as your daughter?
Yeah, we are the same. We are competing with each other. I feel like I should have reinvented myself a long time ago. I stopped getting work in 1993 and I should have started reinventing myself then but maybe I didn’t get the opportunities and I went to Bangladesh to work there. It took me a long time to realise how important it is to do a great character in a film. Doing one great character or film that people talk about and remember in their minds or hearts after the film ends, is something to strive for. I am constantly trying because I get bored by doing just one thing. The only character I have enjoyed doing again and again is Aakhri Pasta from Housefull because I feel like it is my alter ego, my personality.
I like experimenting with my looks, the way I speak so that I don’t get bored. My attention span is too small. To keep me engrossed takes a lot of effort. But thank God I am just changing my roles and not my wife (Laughs).
Do you sometimes wonder that the faith that the filmmakers are showing in you today, had they shown it earlier in your career, things would have turned out differently?
During the early days of my career, I starred only in multi-starrers. My first film was with Dharam ji and Shatru ji, my next film was with Sunny, third with Sanjay Dutt and fourth with Anil Kapoor and it went on. I was always a multi-star cast actor and the entire film never depended on me. I was always one of the heroes, not the sole one. Now, it has all become about me playing a character and the film still doesn’t sell on my merit, but my contribution is somewhat valuable.
Although I have always envied people who have done such great characters like Anupam Kher, Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Boman Irani, who all I have been a fan of. They have done such great characters and I have always wanted to do characters like them and make a mark doing that. I am happy that people are now trusting me with meaty roles and I hope I can deliver.
Still, if they would have believed in me a long time back, it would have been a different story today. But even my thinking at that time was that I just wanted to be the hero as I felt ‘the hero’ would never go anywhere. It took me a long time to realise that it was time to change gears.
So, what does your future lineup look like?
I am doing a web show right now that will come out next year. It’s a very big and well-mounted web show. I am also doing a Tamil film and a Hindi film that I will be shooting abroad this month.
And when will we see you revive Aakhri Pasta next in Housefull 5?
Mamma Mia. It all depends on when Sajid Nadiadwala launches it. It should really happen soon, hopefully in a year’s time. They have locked a script for it more or less but the script for a film like Housefull 5 changes every day, so let’s see.
You recently suffered the loss of your mother. How has it been doing promotions in a time when you are still dealing with your grief?
My mum was 85 and she led a very beautiful and great life that should be celebrated. But a loss of a mother is a loss of a mother, it’s irreplaceable. You take your parents for granted and feel like they will always be there with you. But I want to advise this to every person out there that keep your parents close to you and your heart.
Of course, I will miss my mother a lot but I don’t want to be sad thinking of her as she would get upset seeing me sad. She would want me to be happy, so I will always celebrate her life and always think happy things and memories about her. She was lucky to see her son, granddaughter and daughter-in-law become an actor. The mourning time is over and it’s time to celebrate her as she has achieved a lot.
Image Source: Instagram/chunkypanday, spotboye archives