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'I do not want to live poorly and die rich': Satish Shah

Published: Thursday, June 28, 2007, 13:12 [IST]

Thursday, June 28, 2007

There was a time when this actor was a super hit with comic roles. Though he has not given up with comedy, Satish Shah has reduced his appearance in films and television. An appreciator of quality comedy, Satish is the judge at 'Comedy Circus'. In a chat with us he reveals more. Here is an excerpt.

After Sarabhai vs Sarabhai you are back on television.
Initially, when I was offered this chair of a judge for 'Comedy Circus', I was skeptical. I put the idea on hold as I always scrutinize my work and then accept it. Then suddenly after a few days these people called me again and said that there is an emergency situation and I need to start shooting within a few weeks. Anyways, I liked the idea so I went ahead with it.

What are you looking for from the participants?
I wish to see good quality humour and good presentation. I hope that the two participants have a good chemistry with each other which will help them in their performances.

How is your chemistry with the other two judges Johnny and Archana?
Oh! we share a very good rapport with each other. Johnny is my friend. I have known him for a very long time now. As for Archana, I am in good relationship with her husband Parmeet and thus, I'm good friends with her too.

What do you do when there is difference of opinion among the judges?
There are hardly any differences. If I give an 8, she might give a 9 that's it. Anyways, we have got different departments to handle and if there is any difference, we speak it up with good intentions. When she speaks I hear and when I speak she keeps quiet.

How do you define comedy?
Well, comedy is of different types; slapsticks, performance-oriented, stand-up, one-liner and each has its own definition. But most importantly, the involvement of all this in good proportion leads to good comedy. A comedian must use different styles of comedy and bring variety in his performances, only then will he be able to survive.

Sarabhai was a good show. Why do you think it did not work?
I myself could not understand what went wrong. But it had good content and was critically acclaimed but unfortunately it lost out on the TRPs.

What do you have to say about the recent competitions of comedians on television?
See, I think that it has given them I good platform and more importantly money to survive. I agree there have been compromises on the quality of work. I had known Raju Shrivastav since 1988, but it is only after such competitions that people know him. I wish they would write scripts for films. It would do good to our industry.

What differences do you find in the Indian and the Pakistani contestants?
I think that the Pakistani contestants have an upper hand when it comes to language. The 'Hindustani' language (mix of Hindi and Urdu) that they speak is very pleasing to the ear. While on the other hand, Indians can give more variety since our country has so many different cast and languages.

You are seen so less in films and television...
Yes, I'm choosy with my work. After the success of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi I had got many similar offers and I had to politely reject them all. I remember I had rejected around 150 such offers. Even Doordarshan had offered me huge amount for similar shows. Then I did Filmi Chakkar which was a countdown show with a comic story line. I started this trend in television. One would say then why I did All the Best. It was purely on emotional basis. I took it up after the death of Shafi Inamdar who I was close to. See, I do not want to work so badly that I don't get time for anything else. I do not want to live poorly and die rich.

Who do you think is the best comedian today?
To be frank, it is Johnny Lever. I think that the variety he has offered to his audience has been offered by none. His performance are audience binding and genuine. This is what makes him special. He does not mock people.

Which are your upcoming films?
Actually, I have decided to do only five films a year. At present I'm doing Bhoothnath and Shashi Ranjan's Dhoom Dharakka. In Bhoothnath I play a school principle. While in the other film I play the best friend of a don. It is a totally comedy film. I'm looking forward to work with some young directors.

Which film have you enjoyed the most?
I have really enjoyed my character in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. It was a comic grey shade character which I had done for the first time. Before you ask me, let me tell you that I am satisfied with whatever I have done. I have never thought as to I want to do this or that kind of roles.

How has been your journey so far?
It has been a good journey. There have been a few lulls, but they were nothing major that I could not get over. I'm happy and satisfied with my life. Fortunately, I have always got to maintain a standard for myself in terms of the kind of character I would do and have never had to go asking for work.

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