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We’ve all watched films, been glued to the television once in a while and enjoyed theatre. But how about getting all three in one place? ‘Nautanki — The Comedy Theatre’ is the new invention. Replacing ‘Bigg Boss’ on Colors, it features Tusshar Kapoor and Neha Dhupia as judges. The actor says although he has started work on a movie with director Shashank Shah in Delhi, right now “it’s all ‘Nautanki’”. Here Tusshar talks of his experience of working with the regional art form on the small screen.

Entering the small screen for the first time, how has your experience been different from films?

It’s been very different because even though I’ve done comedy in films, this is a new format. It’s going to bring Broadway Theatre to television and that’ll seem like a film. This whole amalgamation of films, theatre and television at one point is something that’s never been seen before. And this is a format that I’ve never really been exposed to. I will be bringing the comedy element and my experience will come in handy but mostly I won’t be acting in the show.

How did you come to be featured in the show?

Initially when I was asked to judge the show, my dates were an issue, but luckily everything adjusted itself. So when I first heard the format, I was excited and I wanted to do it. I just go with my instinct and don’t really think too hard. And the three most important factors: television, comedy and Colors were working out. So that’s how I decided.

Is ‘Nautanki…’ going to be different from the other comedy shows that we see on television?

Other shows are more like stand-up acts. Here it’s going to be a theatre where there is fun, enjoyment and interaction. It’s more about judging the ‘nautankibaazi’, and the actors doing the single theatrical act. The judge’s role is not about giving marks, but about contributing to the episode and being part of the whole ‘Nautanki…’ family and making the most of it. I’ll be like the owner of the theatre company, who’ll be hiring the actors. The actors will remain the same but their roles will change. We’ll bring a new hero in every episode and a different guest. There’ll be cameos happening with stars that will add a lot of spice and novelty.

It’s going to deal with amusing issues that combine and highlight comedy and drama in a common man’s life. And that will obviously have a lot of spice also. It’s going to be family-oriented and funny. With a thin line between spicy and vulgar, this show is all about spice.

After doing so many different roles, is there any particular genre you identify yourself with?

I identify with everything I do on screen as it has to reflect a part of me and naturally come from within. I live the characters. It’s not about planning; it’s about going with your gut feeling. Whatever comes my way, whether it’s comedy, not comedy, television, film — if I like it, I do it.

The role you’ve played in Shootout At Wadala is a serious one. What significance do you think it has for the audience, where a Muslim supports a Hindu?

My role in the movie as Sheikh Munir inspires Manya Surve (John Abraham) to become a bhai . He’s more experienced and mature and knows how to channel his anger. It’s India’s first Hindu gang with a sole Muslim. It will definitely strike a chord with the Mumbai crowd where Hindus and Muslims live together. But by and large we are only portraying facts that are part of history and not showing anything that’s made up.

TANYA SINGHAL


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