‘I am just an actor. Don’t brand me as a villain or comedian. That would be like asking a batsman to score by hitting only square cuts!’ And true to his words, Paresh Rawal (although his most popular characters have come from films in the comedy genre) has established himself as one of India’s most illustrious actors having created quite an impression in a variety of roles and genres over the past decades on big screen and theatre. The man behind evergreen characters like Baburao (Hera Pheri, Phir Hera Pheri), Teja (Andaaz Apna Apna) and Kanjinath (OMG! Oh My God) turns 64 today and we list some of his most iconic roles.
Baburao Ganpatrao Apte aka Babu Bhaiya – Hera Pheri (1999), Phir Hera Pheri (2006)
Probably the most popular character from Paresh Rawal’s entire filmography. While all three characters of the film – Baburao, Raju (Akshay Kumar), Shyam (Suniel Shetty) are special to the franchise in their own way, we simply cannot imagine this series without Babu bhaiya. In the first part, the gang happens to get a phone call from a kidnapper named Kabira, who wants to ask a ransom from Devi Prasad but ends up calling at Baburao’s. The trio looks at this situation as an opportunity to make quick money and end up pretending to be Devi Prasad for Kabira and vice versa.
The second part deals with the now financially well off trio being stripped off their wealth after being cheated by a fraud scheme. Paresh Rawal simply owned the role and we can’t imagine any other actor who would do the same justice to this character. His comic timing and foolish antics tickled everyone’s funny bones. And No matter how many times you watch these films, Baburao always cracks you up.
Teja – Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Paresh Rawal was seen playing a double role in the Rajkumar Santoshi’s Andaz Apna Apna. One was Ram Gopal Bajaj and the second was his evil twin Teja. Teja kidnaps his own brother with the aim of securing all his wealth and tricks everyone into believing that he is Ram.
However, in the climax, this leads to a major confusion with everyone failing to figure who is Teja… despite the mark. Not only did Paresh ace the dual role, he also managed to make the situation really hilarious and was one of the best aspects of this cult film.
Mambo – Garam Masala (2005)
In Garam Masala, Paresh Rawal played the role of Mambo, who was Akshay Kumar’s house cook. While Akshay was busy shuffling between three air hostesses, it was Mambo who had to bear all the problems that came with it.
From catering to the different tastes in food and bearing the tantrums of these ladies to playing along with Akshay’s made up stories to prevent them from finding about each other, Mambo’s boundaries really get tested in this hilarious comedy.
Paresh Rawal does a good job in depicting the character’s frustration with all the drama happening in the house which definitely adds up to the already hilarious situation.
Kanji Lalji Mehta – OMG! Oh My God
OMG! Oh My God was inspired by a play titled Kishan Vs Kanhiya in which Paresh Rawal played the same character as he did in the film. We’re all aware that India is a country which has massive faith in religion. A lot of what happens in our society has some sort of religious meaning behind it. So, what if someone questions the almighty one? This concept basically formed the crux of the film. After Kanji’s shop gets destroyed in an earthquake, the insurance company informs him that his losses won’t be reimbursed since the earthquake was an “Act of God” and not something that was in anybody’s control. Kanji, obviously enraged by response, decides to take God in court in order to seek justice for himself.
This news does not sit too well with various religious groups since it symbolised a man questioning the actions of their almighty one. While the idea of this actually being a court case is a bit far fetched, this does act as a serious eye opener as we realise that people in our society are blindly following rituals only because they’re told its the right thing to do and hence don’t question or try to find a reason for why it is believed so. Through his portrayal of Kanji, Paresh Rawal definitely made people question a lot of things they thought were “normal” until now.
Dr.Ghungroo – Welcome (2007), Welcome Back (2015)
In the Anees Bazmee comedy, Paresh Rawal played the role of Dr.Ghungroo, a man who was adamant on finding a suitable girl for his nephew Rajiv (Akshay Kumar). The only condition is that the girl and her family shouldn’t have any sort of a history related to crime. Turns out finding such a family is not so easy.
After almost giving up on his search, he is tricked into believing that a well to-do family with no crime history too is on the lookout for a boy with no relation to the world of crime. However, he laters ends up finding out that he’s agreed for his nephew getting married in a house whose members are at the epitome of crime. This situation leads to very hilarious sequences in the film. The sequel too is a film based on a similar storyline, except this time his nephew too is a bit of a baddie.
Sardar Vallabhai Patel – Sardar (1993)
One of the most widely under-appreciated figures attached to India’s freedom struggle and a true icon of democracy and political values was Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Even though he isn’t as popular, his contribution to India’s freedom struggle was as crucial as Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose. Rightly termed as the Iron Man of India, Vallabhai Patel was a complex man in real life and one that was even complex to portray on screen convincingly. If one actor who could do justice to this role however was Paresh Rawal and he proved just that with what people regard as one of his greatest performance till date.