The Friday Circuit!

NOW ON YOUR TELLY TOO Arshad Warsi says his success has not changed him but it has certainly changed the people around him.

NOW ON YOUR TELLY TOO Arshad Warsi says his success has not changed him but it has certainly changed the people around him.  


Riding on the success of "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", Arshad Warsi is all set to fire up the small screen with "Bigg Boss".

From "Tere Mere Sapne" to "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", it took a decade-full of hard labour and some luck for actor Arshad Warsi to become Circuit. "A lot of things have changed since," he now says, admittedly pretty relaxed at the label tied to his name - 'established actor'. "Personally", he explains, "I am the same grounded man, but professionally, a lot has changed, including people around me. I am suddenly taken seriously. The best part is, now I have the right to choose." Now with a decent bank balance, a comfortable lifestyle, a career in good health, Arshad says, "I am finally beginning to believe that all this is true." Think of prolonging his joy by referring to the posters of the long-canned S. Ramanathan movie "Zamaanat" (releasing shortly), which flashes him much bigger than Bachchan senior, he almost shrieks, "No, no I have not become that successful! Nobody can be." Grounded he still is.

His forte

But this process of finding a toehold in Bollywood has surely made Arshad find his forte - comedy. "When I started in 1996, I was obviously not the chooser," he says. But it was a matter of time till this Mumbaikar could do comic roles in a series of movies like "Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya", "Munna Bhai MBBS", "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", "Golmaal" and "Hulchul". "I thoroughly enjoyed these movies," is how he talks about them. Also, success has drawn towards him lead roles in films like "Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye" and "Antony Kaun Hai?" "I am happy that finally my talent has been appreciated. Though it is long delayed, I would still like to believe these oft-heard lines like 'hard work pays'; 'talent can't be hidden', etc.," says Arshad with a full-throated laugh. Yet another of his films with "a different role" is Kabir Khan's "Kabul Express" where Arshad plays the role of a journalist, Jai, in Afghanistan, tracking the Taliban. "The movie should be out by December 15," he offers. But in an industry where 'on-screen chemistry' between actors is often the yardstick for offering roles, Arshad will be seen with Sanjay Dutt in yet another film in the making now, "Dhamaal". An Indra Kumar film, "Dhamaal" is a comedy which also features Riteish Deshmukh besides the Sanjay-Arshad 'jodi'. "The talk of making a second sequel of Munna Bhai is also very much on. Though I have not been formally approached for the role, I should believe that there can't be a Munna Bhai without Sanjay and me," says Arshad.

"Bigg Boss"

With success has also come a situation where Arshad gets to spend less and less time with his wife Maria and three-year-old son, Zeke. "But my involvement with the show 'Bigg Boss' on Sony TV will come in handy here," he says. The actor will be seen every Friday at 9 p.m. starting this week, on this brand new show of Sony TV, a remake of the popular American series "Big Brother" by Endemol."There will be 13 celebrity couples put in a house under 24-hour surveillance which will be shown to viewers from Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m. And every Friday at 9 p.m., two couples will be voted out, though one of them can be saved by viewer SMSes," Arshad elaborates. His role will be "to deliver the decision of the 'big boss'."Arshad says, "Hosting TV shows is not so new to me, but the best thing is I will be on the screen as Arshad Warsi. Also, till next February, I will be needed once a week in Mumbai for the show, as it is without a script and is aired live. This will give me a chance to spend more time with my family." The joy of being seen as Arshad will one day surely put him in the director's chair, he predicts. "Things will change professionally, but no amount of success or failure can change me personally," he reiterates. Arshad, even when he is not Circuit, has plenty of appeal.

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