We get into a freewheeling conversation with easily the busiest, and inarguably one of the most versatile superstars around. Here is presenting Part I of the exclusive conversation.
Masti, mazaa, dhamaal – Would these be apt words to describe Housefull 3? Or are there more adjectives that define the film?
There are many more words that come to mind but you have already pretty much nailed it on the head!! It's time for me to bring my masala magic back to the big screen, put my serious face back in the closet – for all of 2 months though till Rustom arrives – and give my audience every ounce of energy left in me after all these terrorists I have been tracking down and vigilantes I have been playing (smiles).
Housefull as a franchise is expected to be slapstick, whacky and very importantly, unbelievable. Is that the kind of 'unbelievable quotient' which is the core of the third in the franchise?
I wouldn't say 'unbelievable' is our quotient; Housefull needs to be taken for what it is – a lot of harmless fun. Ok, it may be slightly out of this world but what do you expect when you put a bunch of comedians in one space? After all, we are bound to go above and beyond for a giggle (smiles). I think our third adventure has gone well over our usual whacky ways; it has stepped up its madness quotient and become a 'House Full of horrors'! Well, for some at least!
The series always carries an underlining theme of boys and girls coming together in a common 'house' and making it 'full'. Isn't it all the more tough to keep the similar set up going three films in a row?
No, not at all. Yes, the ingredients are all there. When you have a franchise theme as catchy as Housefull, the ideas are endless with the magic that can be created by one and all. We are already plotting our next escapade, we can't help it. It's a family that just wants to keep growing. As for the House being Full, no one yet knows how or why, not yet anyway (winks).
While there would always be a segment that may come up with a statement 'Phir se wahi set up lag raha hai', how were you convinced as an actor that the fun element has been indeed kept intact?
It is written by two of the funniest writers in our industry. Farhad and Sajid are the geniuses behind so many of Bollywood's comedy success stories over the years that there was never any doubt that the humor would be in full throttle. It's controlling the amount of gags that we all come up with that one has to watch. A comedy film can't just be about skits and pranks throughout; the humor has to rise and fall like a tidal wave, surprising you and knocking you off your seat when you least expect it. That's when you know you have got a comedy classic on your hands.
Housefull 3 has you playing an immobile character. For someone who is so energetic and takes pride in being fit and fine, how was it to be actually confined to a chair?
That's a very good question. At first I thought that it would be interesting and fun to learn how to get about without the use of my legs. I would practice between takes to get my timings & movements right, but it is eye opening just how capable even disabled people have to be to get through life on a daily basis. I genuinely salute every single one of them. I was actually fascinated by how technically advanced wheel chairs have become. After pushing my mother around in old fashioned ones for years when I take her abroad, I know now what she must have been going through and will get her the best in the future for I have finally learnt that being disabled or immobile doesn't have to mean it's the end. It's just another obstacle some of us have to face at some stage. But thanks to medical engineers, nowadays there is help for even the most helpless. There is a light at the end as well as incredible facilities that can make even the most paralyzed people feel that little bit more comfortable. The chair in our film is the most superior chair out there and I recommend to everyone that don't just leave your family members confined; get them the best. This chair brought me many funny memories that I actually wanted to take it home with me.
As a genre, Housefull 3 relies entirely on the camaraderie that the cast enjoys within itself. Guess you and Riteish Deshmukh coming together all over again third time around would escalate the fun element?
You are right; it's all about our connections with each other, with the script, with the scenes and with our characters. I think everyone will admit that the best part about this film is the camaraderie which we all share. There really is no better place in the world to work than on the sets of a Housefull movie (smiles)
Meanwhile, you are also returning with Abhishek Bachchan 14 years after Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya. It is surprising that no filmmaker ever thought of bringing the two together in a film, isn't it?
That's exactly what we said. We have such a great understanding of each other and the huge amount of respect between the both of us just adds charm to our bond. How it has been 14 years is something that I will never understand, so whoever is listening, think of a film that will bring us together again soon. We really don't want our Housefull release to be a goodbye for another decade!
Meanwhile, your partnership with Sajid Nadiadwala stays on. In fact he is one of the filmmakers with whom you have worked the maximum number of times. What is inherently special about this combo?
No matter what we do or where we go, we always end up in the same place together. We have separate lives that happen to be inseparable! Our friendship goes way back and it's a friendship that I hope and pray lasts a lifetime. We have had the best experiences of our careers working together; we have held on to the good times and can't even recall the bad. That's what makes any working and personal relationship succeed which is about not to sweat the small stuff and appreciate each person for who and what they are. Also, one should not try to change them just because you think you are close enough and hence you can. We know work is work, family is family and friends are friends!
(To be continued)