‘Baburao Apte’ To ‘Kanjilal Mehta’ – A Look Back At Paresh Rawal’s Most Iconic Characters

“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!” Paresh Rawal had once said.

Paresh Rawal’s Baburao Apte from Hera Pheri still remains one of my favourites. We all must vividly remember the comic caper of three men, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and the man himself. After all the film’s bawdy references and slapstick gags still tickle as much, even in memory. It’s either Rawal’s craft or the down-on-his-luck irate aged  Apte from the film that has our heart, we are never too sure with this man. Baburao’s round spectacles, those that gave him room for so much physical humor, remain still in sight as we close our eyes to reminisce.

Rawal as Akshay Kumar’s ‘garam’ headed cook could only be braved by those with strong abs and healthy jaws. How could I not talk about Mambo?! Whenever Paresh Rawal is around we know it’s a hilarious situation; and in the air is a lot of confusion! While Mambo may have tired himself out with Mac and Sam’s indecisive menu, in reality Rawal is a soothed juggler. While he sure does give comedy its finest hours, he could drop the gags and take on the serious roles with absolute ease.

As Paresh transformed into an atheist Kanji who wants to sue God, he kept the possession of his light-hearted, humorous core; Oh My God! at no point goes awry. Even through his sacrilegious babbling – most that made sense to catechize about – Rawal’s personal magic takes the most trite dialogue and transforms it into comedic gold. Though, mostly a courtroom drama, along with legal notices and his case file, Rawal also brings his witticisms and waggishness. To watch Paresh Rawal on the silver screen is an escape, a delight!

Even though praises for Paresh slant toward his comic persona, he still remains inimitable as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Tikku, and Lalit RamjiSanju drew immense emotional strength from Paresh’s admirable portrayal of a sacrificing father; providing the film with its considerable heart and melancholic balance of sweet and bitter.

 

Rawal, a man of many shades, has always had the ability to infuse comedy with pathos. With less dark turns to witness as a father in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Rawal was tackling three roles in the same film – as the father of a really cool cat Lucky, mentor gangster Gogi bhai, and the ‘proper’ businessman Dr Handa. For Rawal, however, tackling three roles in a film is nothing to write home about.

As an actor Rawal is not reciting, spouting or commenting, his technique is evident – he evokes from the scripts a fully realized three dimensional character that is not a caricature; We believe in his portrayal, the rich backstory of who he plays is observable, it’s perceptible. As the Sardar, Lucky’s father, he is brilliant and his encounters with his son are remarkably chucklesome and suggest that Rawal should do this kind of a thing much more often!

An actor is a person who takes she shape of the mould he’s put in, and Paresh Rawal is surely one of the greatest all-rounders of all time!

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