Shreyas Talpade on “The Hangman”, his debut film releasing this Friday.
In February 2004, a 24-year-old frail looking boy, quite well known in Marathi theatre circles in Mumbai, was seen running around the studios in the city suburbs. He thought his fate in the Hindi film industry would be decided after the shooting of his first film “The Hangman”. But things seldom turn out the way we expect. The film finally sees the light of the day this Friday. Meanwhile, though, the actor, Shreyas Talpade, has become a household name with over 20 films under his belt.
“The Hangman” had an uphill journey. After completion, it got entangled in a legal tussle between the producers and distributors. Frustrated, the young Shreyas made his next move. He signed Nagesh Kukunoor's “Iqbal” to play a hearing- and speech-impaired cricketer, and with it his ticket to stardom.
Recalls Shreyas, “I was emotionally attached to this film. Being a debut film, I had put my heart into it. Late night rehearsals, no time to have food andrunning around a lot just didn't matter. All that mattered was the film, more so because my character graph had so many shades.”
Based on a well-known novel by Michael Slade, the film is about an old man, a hangman by profession, played by Om Puri. He is detested by the society because of his job and is forced to live on the outskirts of a village. He doesn't want his son Ganesh (played by Shreyas) to follow his profession and hence works extra hard to send him abroad to study.
For niche audience
“Like Ganesh”, reminisces Shreyas, “I too had to constantly take care of the graph of my character in the film — from a village boy to a student abroad to a lover to a misled boy who gets involved in a crime and accidently kills a man. As a debutant, there couldn't have been a better role.”
And now, Shreyas feels happy but doesn't mince words. “You may find it technically weak. And being in English it is for a niche audience. I think Bipin (the director) made it in English as he wanted to take it to film festivals across the world.”
Though “quite broken” after the film was shelved, Shreyas chose “Iqbal” to live that image of the boy next-door. He recalls, “Nagesh saw ‘The Hangman' at the Goa Film Festival in 2005 and offered me ‘Iqbal'. However, those who saw me in it thought I was too intense and wouldn't be able to play comic or other roles.” So Shreyas took a few risks. “I didn't want to wait for another ‘Iqbal', so I did comedy and those lover boy roles”.
If “Om Shanti Om”, and “Golmaal” worked in his favour, “Bombay to Bangkok” proved to be an indecent flick for a decent boy for its maltreated erotica, and “Aaage Se Right” just came and vanished. Admits the actor, “It was a mistake. So I stopped, took two steps back and did a few multi-starrer films.” Meanwhile, he is looking forward to “Click” directed by Sangeeth Sivan, “Hook Ya Crook” by David Dhawan, and “Hum Tum Aur Shabnam” by Sagar Bellary.