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Playing Policeman

There was a time when the protagonist always took centre stage in rustic, performance-driven films like Babumoshai Bandookbaaz but the tables seem to have turned. Undoubtedly, while leading man Nawazuddin Siddiqui was in top form in the movie, one of the shining stars of the film –  Bhagwan Tiwari – proved his worth with a significant role. Here he is, in conversation with Suranjana Biswas.


The writer of this film Ghalib saab, gave me a rough brief about the story. Our director, Kushan Nandy, was not there, and he told me he would be able to give me details only after Kushan Nandy joined us. It is a UP-based story and I belong to that region. Hence, I am well acquainted with the police there and have heard plenty about criminals there. I asked them to give me the freedom to work on the character.


I don’t think every character in every film portrays the entire story about their lives. This character has a family, including eight kids. He had longed for a girl-child, which is what made his family so large. Usually, in our films, the character of a policewala is either negative or positive but this character is different and has many shades. For example, he is a different man at home and an altogether different person when dealing with criminals.


I have played a cop in Masaan and Raees before Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. But the journey, look and other detailing of the three characters are very different from each other. I don’t think anybody has experimented with the character of a policeman as much as I have! I wanted my look to be natural and hence got a haircut, by placing a bowl over my head! I also groomed my moustache and grew a shabby beard to get the perfect look. I had a month before shooting started. I went to my hometown and met the officers there. I used to discuss legal issues and how the law works with the cops in my locality to gain more experience.


Kushan gave me a lot of freedom as he realised that I wanted to give my character many layers. He never interfered or stopped me from researching my role. I got a lot of support from him. He did give me a brief about the character but then he is very flexible as a director.


Bidita is a very nice girl and I had worked with her earlier. But, recently, we worked together in a film titled Once Again. I have known Nawaz for 25 years, since our theatre days in Delhi. I became very comfortable after working with him in Raees. He is always very supportive of his coactors. It was a lot of fun working with him.


I watched the film in a movie theatre in Raipur and was happy to see that people were appreciating my character on-screen, from the very beginning of the film. I realised that everybody loved the character.


I have worked in the film Once Again, which might release around Diwali.

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