Known for making people laugh their hearts out with his comedy, mimicry, and sometimes just his presence, Sunil Grover has managed to win hearts of many. When one starts out in showbiz, they work hard to build an image – And only a few dare to break away from that image and succeed in doing something totally diverse. Sunil, famous for playing characters like Gutthi and Dr Mashoor Gulati, also portrayed an intense character in Amazon Prime Video’s Tandav. His character, Gurpal, was cold, sinister, and very effective.
Recently, Sunil got together with joined Actor, M.D. Katalyst Entertainment Nitin Arora and Mission Oxygen -- in a virtual fundraiser ‘Hope for O2’ to raise funds for better availability of oxygen. “It's a cause that my friend Nitin told me about and I just wanted to be with the cause because they are trying to help as many people with oxygen and of course this is the need of the hour so I didn't have to think twice,” Grover said.
In an exclusive interview with Outlook’s Eshita Bhargava, Sunil Grover spoke about his journey, receiving dues as a comic and actor, creative process, and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Humour is the best medicine for people in these difficult times. What do you have to say about it?
Yes, you've to stay calm in such testing times and try to smile because that keeps you positive and you can think better if your mind is calm. And if you can laugh it's very good because that also helps with your immunity and your mind works better.
How did it start? What inspired you to become a comedian? Do you feel that you have not received your dues as an actor/comic?
I'm happy and feel myself to be fortunate that I've been gifted with this art of comedy, where I can make people laugh, makes me feel happy. When I see smiles while we are performing, whether live, on stage or in films or on TV, it gives me immense pleasure. Whatever is the medium – People laugh and that's the greatest feeling that you get. As far as my dues I don't have any dues, I like to work… now whatever audience response is… it is acceptable – I feel that working is most important.
How do you create your jokes? What is your creative process?
Creating jokes, sometimes it's the experience of life and it's also practice and most of the time writers’ help me. You learn when you collaborate with a team and work on different kinds of jokes, different formations. As I mentioned, it's a practice, so you keep practicing and your so-called jokes get better and you've to understand the audience as much as you can. The creative process, I'm not going to share, what if you start cracking jokes tomorrow as it's a business hazard.
How do you save the situation when no one laughs? Has it happened?
So, there are times when people don't laugh. The best way is to actually feel that… to tell yourself that they are not capable of understanding humour and you get away with it. But I don't depend on it much, that's the last resort. What I do is I try one tool then the second tool fails, then the third… whatever the toolbox I have and most of the time something or the other works but if that also doesn't work then I pray.
Do you believe in experimenting?
Experimenting... more than experimenting it's also about experience, so you get to experience new concepts, meet new creative minds, and a look at things with a different approach. And I love to do that – if I'm convinced about it. So convincing plus experimenting is a nice combination and I like to experiment if I'm convinced with it.
How do you think comedy has evolved in India in the last decade or so? Do you think social media platforms are game-changers for upcoming comedians?
It has always been there... comedy and great comic artists. I've laughed a lot watching them but yes with social media people get to see so much talent with just a click and so much talent has come forward because of social media. People can do a lot while sitting at home. They are not actually dependent on someone else to showcase their talents – So it is nice; the more the merrier... it's a good thing because whatever you feel like watching, whatever makes you laugh, whoever makes you laugh, you watch that and be happy.
Do you think people have become sensitive and you need to be careful all the time while working on your comedy/projects?
People have always been sensitive. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, it's a nice word. And in comedy, yes you've to be careful, you shouldn't question their trust, faith, and things that can bother them. Why to unnecessarily ridicule someone if they are not okay with it and even if they are ok with it, one should try and avoid it as much. Unless it's a genre that people want to watch but I feel that one shouldn't hurt other persons’ sentiments. Because of social media, that sensitivity has come out... It has always been there.