Bollywood’s ‘little big man’ on turning director, work in Hollywood
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There is man and there is truth - the twain shall rarely meet. "What happens when they come face to face and when they are in a conflict zone? Whose side does the universe take?" actor Rajpal Yadav outlines the premise of his first film as a producer-director and hands-on musician titled 'Ata Pata Laapata'. Produced under Shri Naurang Godavari Entertainment Limited, a company named after his parents, the 'little big man' of the industry, Yadav, shares how he was "suffering from birth pangs" and this is his baby.
"We have completed 100 years in cinema, and had greatest showmen like Raj Kapoor run it. My film is a tribute to them," said Yadav whose 'desi broadway' film has over 170 actors.
From bagging a negative role in Ram Gopal Varma's 'Jungle' to making an impact in offbeat films like 'Main, Meri Patni aur Woh' and 'Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon', to establishing himself as a comedian par excellence, Yadav shot to fame through his work in theatre for 25 years and in Bollywood for 10 years.
"I come from a small town called Shahjahanpur in UP. I received training in theatre and acting from National School of Drama. In fact, not many know I am educated too," he laughs, taking the opportunity at Press Club in Sector 27 to give a glimpse of the journey, so far, and the need to make a film. "While theatre gave me a chance to perform every classic character written, films provided the space to reach out to a wider audience and make Rajpal Yadav a brand. But I wanted to do more, as I am a student of creativity, I decide to make a film," he added.
Yadav got a head start in 2004, and admits he must have read a hundred scripts before finalising on 'Ata Pata Laapata', which is also thespian Pt Satyendra Dubey and Dara Singh's last film, and stars actors like Ashutosh Rana, Asrani, Vijay Raaz, Yashpal Sharma and Govind Namdev. "I loved the challenge, the task to put to practice all the things I learnt at NSD - make-up, design, stage management and shot structure," says Yadav, the self-confessed 'designer', who plays a double role in the film by the names Satyanand Chaturvedi and Manav Chaturvedi - truth versus man.