How would you describe Paresh Rawal as an actor and as a person?
Paresh Rawal is one of the closest people to me in the industry. I have been associated with him in most of the films in my career. He is a phenomenal actor because of whom you start looking better on screen. He values relationships and strives to keep them too. Whether it is my co-star or for a film for my own production house, he is the first one who comes to my mind. That is the kind of bond that I have with him. As an actor, he is unbelievable. I feel ‘Hera Pheri’ worked because of his character of Babu bhai. Of course, both Shyam and Raju were also an important part of the entire plot but the beauty was two action heroes being controlled by Babu bhai and nobody could have played that role better than him.
Tell us about the time when you first met Paresh sir…
Paresh ji is a stage actor and I have tremendous respect for him and his work even today. Right from the time when we started our journey together in ‘Anth’, we both have been very supportive of each other. We would spend a lot of quality time together on the sets too. Even when his political journey began, I went to Ahmedabad to campaign with him. I have been a witness to all his highs and lows. I admire how gracefully he accepts everything in life. He even has a strong family background. His wife is a lady with a lot of grace and dignity. Both his sons are well educated and doing well for themselves. When we talk about Paresh Rawal, people might not know much about him. But one thing they all know is that he is a wonderful actor. It is we who have spent time with him and know him, who can tell you how beautiful he is from the inside.
What do you guys generally bond over?
We used to bond over sports on the sets. We also used to do a lot of masti and pranks all the time. Akshay, Paresh ji, and I are a riot on the set. If you also add Priyan sir (Priyadarshan) to the equation, it will be 4 vs 400; the rest of the people are then in a lot of trouble. This also shows that there is a child in him. Although Raymond has taken the tag of ‘a complete man’, it suits Paresh ji perfectly. He is a loving husband, caring father, great friend, a brilliant actor, and a true human being. He has done both theatre and films. And unlike many who often forget where they came from once they get fame and money, Paresh ji has always promoted plays. He is someone who is content with his life and feels that since there are many good actors around him, God must bless them all but that he will do what he is good at’.
Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, and you are quite close. How do you guys keep in touch?
We don’t have a Whatsapp group or anything like that but we are always in touch with each other. We know each other’s highs and lows. We are close to each other probably far more now than when we were at the peak of our career and together. And we know we are always there for each other.
Is there any message that you would like to send out for Paresh ji on his birthday?
I am sure he knows it but I want to remind him that I love him very much. For me, he is a better human being than an actor. I don’t know how many people have spent time with him but it is something I will vouch for.