Nana Patekar is making a comeback in Bollywood with his film ‘Happy Anniversary’ and stars opposite Mahi Gill. The film is a romantic thriller and we can’t wait to see what Nana has in store for us.
You were last seen in the Marathi film Natsamrat and Wedding Anniversary marks your return to Hindi cinema…
After Natsamrat, I didn’t wanted to settle for any projects lesser than that! Thus for a year I didn’t take up any work. I hardly have much time left in the industry, and how much more will I work? It doesn’t bother me if the film succeeds or it flops. I can’t keep going there, because if I did! I’ll end up doing movies which follow the same format. Whatever I did in the past was new, but if I do it again in the future, it will be a repeat. My past work was appreciated and now suddenly the same thing is being criticized! The actor who’s stuck in the same era, produces the same kind of movie and then he is discarded by the audience. The actor then retaliates, thinking he was a star in the past and now the audience hates him. But it’s all because he’s repeating himself and thus you’re no longer wanted. Just like the audience knows how to love you, the same way they know how to discard you. So as an actor it’s our responsibility to keep experimenting with roles
You are paired with Mahie Gill in Wedding Anniversary. It is an unusual combination, how was it working with Mahie?
Mahie Gill is a good actress; she knows what she’s doing. And if your fellow actor is good, your responsibility rapidly decreases and work becomes easy. Otherwise, you’re busy focusing on your character and then suddenly you witness your co-actor making blunders, then suddenly I go off from my character and immediately the distress reflects on my face. But luckily, I didn’t face this thing with Mahie at all; she played her character very well!
2016 also saw you return as the voice of Sher Khan in The Jungle Book? Was it a coincidence?
The makers approached me and I went with it, and enjoyed it. I feel so happy. Earlier the kids in my colony were afraid of me and did not come close to me. But after hearing my voice through the animated character, Sher Khan, they started playing with me, hugging me. It becomes a good medium because otherwise, due to my fierce characters in my old films like Agnishakshi and Shakti, not many people approach me. I have never needed a bodyguard since no one come up to me, thinking I might do something to them. But it’s just a perception built due to my character and I’m not that person in real life.
After Wedding Anniversary, you will start work on Tadka, another love story…
Tadka is a love story and Prakash Raj is the director of the film. The dubbing will soon start for the film; I’m quite young in the film.
Other than films, you also work with the Naam Foundation to help the drought-hit farmers of Marathwada. How did that start?
I’m not doing any favours. The reason I help farmers is because it keeps my humanity alive. If I keep quiet about the dreadful things occurring around me, it will certainly kill me! Thus, it’s our responsibility, yours and mine. Last year, the people donated Rs 60 crore to the farmers. The government will take steps, but why aren’t we doing anything. This time the government did so much for the farmers that you’ll be astonished. There are many government schemes, unfortunately the farmers are unaware of it, and thus it’s our responsibility to spread the awareness.
This leads to an important question, have you considered entering politics?
Since, mujhe sach bolne ki aadat hai I’ll be thrown out from one party, then I’ll go to another and will be kicked out again and within a month there won’t be any parties left willing to have me as a member. The day you join politics, you lose the authority to speak. Even if a fellow member of your party is seen doing something wrong, you’re not allowed to speak and being mum is not how I function. You can’t really do what you want in politics! You will be suppressed, and people like me don’t belong there and I’m better off out of it. Technically we are at fault, because after voting, we think that for 5 years we can’t do anything, but it’s not true! If I have given you my vote, it becomes your prime responsibility to then work for the citizens, and if you disappoint me, then as citizens and voters we have all the right to grab hold of their collars and question them! “Until last year you were living in a slum and within the period of a year now you got 100crs, where did this money suddenly come from?” Why do we never ask this question? So the government is not alone at fault we are equally responsible.
A role which you are keen on doing?
I’m keen on doing a film based on a novel, which in turn is based on the true story of Narendra Jadhav. Narendra Jadhav is an IAS Officer and so are his three brothers. But his father was not as educated and had a very lowly job in the railways. But he stressed on education, and the guy did not believe in any religion or caste system. But he followed Dr.B.R.Ambedkar. He used to say ‘First learn, then unite and then fight. You can’t fight alone and if you’re illiterate you won’t be able to fight’. So the story is about an illiterate father who made his four kids IAS officers.