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Dad’s The Word

In the midst of a big line-up of films featured in the next few months, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho has already made the mark with its content. The film has got rave reviews from Rajkumar Hirani, Amitabh Bachchan and others for its unique concept. We asked actor Sanjay Mishra about his experience and the making of the film.


When I met director Vinod Kapri, I found the guy very interesting and he had tremendous knowledge about our rural India as he was a journalist for 23 years. He had visited different places, covered different stories and that helped him grow as a storyteller. That was my first thought when I spoke to him and understood his kind of cinema.


When I first heard the story of Miss Tanakpur Hazir Ho, I was shocked and thought, ‘Aisa bhi hota hain India mein?’ I thought it was not true. But then Vinod showed me the newspaper clippings and told me about the research he had done. I was fascinated with this story and wondered how our judicial system could do what it did. That’s what made me say yes to this film. I chose this film totally based on the concept and a never-heard-before kind of story. It was about the reality of our Indian villages which we know but choose to ignore.


It was fun shooting with Annu Kapoor, Om Puri, Ravi Kishan, Rahul Bagga and the rest of the star cast. I remember we used to do script reading on the sets and sometimes Vinod used to change scenes depending on the mood of the actors. Acting is all about reacting, so for instance when Om Puri delivers his lines, his scene could go unnoticed if I did not respond appropriately.


Doing so many films doesn’t mean I have learnt it all. When I work with newcomers, I learn from them, their new techniques, how a director visualises his character. When I work with a big star, I look at their stardom and how they deliver their lines without a fuss. So I learn on the job every day.


Everyone has a different way of looking at roles. When I started acting, I took any and every role that was offered to me. I never looked at screen time, my character or dialogue. At the end of the day, I needed to earn a livelihood. But, today, when stories are told from the character’s point of view more than a hero, actors like me get noticed. Today we have scripts which are strong on storytelling, so as an actor my way of looking at scripts has also changed. I look for meaty roles, which could even be a two-scene role but should stand out. Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Aankhon Dekhi got me rave reviews and now Masaan is being talked about. So I am happy with the way I choose films.


Woh humare industry ki fitrat hain, ek chali usi mein chalana chahte hain. But what else will they offer me apart from a father’s role? But, you see, all fathers are not same… one is strong, another is in search of life. I am doing Dilwale with Shah Rukh Khan and Varun Dhawan, which will be totally different. More than being about a father, Masaan is about a teacher who has lived his life faithfully.

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