March 30, 2020
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Satish Kaushik

The comedian shows a serious streak in a Hindi adaptation of 'Death of a Salesman'

Satish Kaushik
Known as a comedian, aren't you somewhat miscast as Salesman Ramlal?
In Bollywood you get slotted, you have to accept that. But there is a serious actor in me.

What interested you about the role that's been played by many great actors?
Two aspects: the character's vulnerability and inability to face up to the present. Also a personal reason. My father was a salesman so I can understand it better.

Will the Hindi adaptation rob the original of its essence?
The play has succeeded in capturing what is conveyed in the original. And its success lies in the fact that you can identify with Ramlal.

As an NSD-trained actor, do you think your slapstick-oriented roles in big Hindi films have let the breed down?
Thanks to my theatre training, I've approached each role differently. I try and bring in nuances.

Why did you make the transition to direction?
When I first arrived in Mumbai in 1980 there was no place for a comedian. I couldn't really sit idle, so I decided to assist Shekhar Kapur.

Your last directorial effort, Hum Apke Dil Mein Rehte Hein, reiterated regressive views.
I wasn't making a general statement about the status of women but I was making the film about one girl called Megha.

Kajol's performance was below par. Did you fail as a director?
That's your viewpoint. She loved and believed in the role.

Will Ramlal help you make the transition to serious acting in Bollywood?
The fire is within me, let's see what happens.

How have you managed to take time off for theatre?
I am now in a sufficiently comfortable position to do so.

Will direction be your focus from now on?
Will direction be your focus from now on?

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