Siddharth is on a high having played Ravi Baswani’s role in the David Dhawan remake of the cult classic Chashme Baddoor
Siddharth had a serious, one-point agenda to do David Dhawan’s upcoming film. He wanted a break! “David and I were planning to work together for the past eight years but I always seemed to have some other film on. This time, I had planned to go on a holiday and when Chashme Baddoor came along, I thought this could be my chance,” says the actor, every bit serious. “I am infamous for my methodical scrutinising of the script and studying of my character. But this time all I wanted was a break from it all and I must confess that it was a lovely all-expenses-paid trip to Goa!”
If this doesn’t sound like the intense brooding actor largely known for his serious roles in the Hindi film industry, that’s great news for him. For that’s his goal. “I am glad you think this isn’t me. Nothing has felt better. This time I want every single person getting out of the cinema hall to say, ‘Yeh woh Rang De Basanti wallah hai? Paagal ho gaya hai kya?’ (‘Is this the same guy from Rang De Basanti? Has he gone mad?’)” he says, obviously revelling in breaking the ‘serious guy’ stereotype in Hindi films. “I have done zany comedies in the South, but in Hindi it has been all serious till now,” he adds.
A modern-day remake of the 1981 cult classic Sai Paranjpye film, Chashme Baddoor has retained the original’s title but reportedly not much of the story. “The first thing I asked David was whether it was anything like the original and he bluntly said, ‘Are you mad?’ I am often asked what the original star cast would think about our film and I say that I don’t know about that, but they should be laughing hysterically after they’ve watched it. Even on sets, our agenda used to be to make David laugh. In fact, my best takes for the film are not there as David or his tummy was visible in the frame! All my shots are my second best,” he says in mock seriousness. Siddharth plays the late Ravi Baswani’s role from the original. “I am a total filmi guy in the movie. You will see me singing songs in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Bhojpuri and being over the top throughout.”
Camaraderie with David
Siddharth shares a great camaraderie with director David Dhawan. “David keeps complaining, ‘You Southwallahs have no time for me.’ Even now he is sulking that I haven’t come down to Mumbai for the promotions. But I am working back to back for my new films. I suppose when we meet in Dubai for the film’s premiere, it will be forgotten over some great naashta and chai (snacks and tea) that anyone who has ever worked with David will vouch for as the best time ever!” he says.
The actor is also full of praise for Divyendu Sharma, his co-actor who plays the role of Rakesh Bedi from the original. “I take credit for pushing David to cast him as Omi. And I confess that you can take anyone out of the film, but not Divyendu. He’s made a big difference to the movie and we became great friends. Ali (Zafar, essaying Farooque Sheikh’s role) has his own charm and Taapsee is the cute factor, but it’s Divyendu and my craziness that’s really funny,” he says, adding that the “Double D (David and Divyendu) factor” multiplied his fun experience.
Siddharth admits that good writing makes a comedy more than good acting. “Writers Sajid-Farhad gave us such a great screenplay and dialogues to work with. And the other duo Sajid-Wajid has worked their magic on the music. Even if this doesn’t become a smash hit at the box office, my experience — the most bizarre one ever — will stay with me forever.”
Confessing that Bollywood is his extra-curricular activity, Siddharth reveals his line-up of films. “There is Udhayam NH4 (Tamil and Telugu), an action thriller, in April itself. In May, I have a comedy Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru again releasing in both languages. In May itself, I start shooting for an ambitious period film titled Kaaviya Thalaivan.”