A career of more than two decades,how will you sum up your journey?
It has been a good journey. There were times when I had no work, and then less work and then of course loads of good work. There have been times when I have been criticised for small roles that I did. The criticism came despite the fact that my audience always loved my work. But overall, I have no regrets.
Which is the one role close to your heart?
My first work, for obvious reasons, is closest to my heart. My first film was Sarkar by Ram Gopal Varma. Sharing the screen with Amitabh Bachchan was a huge thing for me.
How did you get that role?
Actually, I had done a very small role in Sriram Raghavan’s movie Ek Hasina Thi and the film was produced by Ram Gopal Varma. My work was liked by RGV and that’s how I got the role in Sarkar.
Could you tell us something about your new film Omprakash Zindabad?
The film deals with a very important and sensitive topic. I am playing an MLA in the film.
Have you been ever mistaken for tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain?
Yes and this has led to hilarious situations. I get calls where people request me to perform at functions. I would clear the confusion immediately and tell them that I’m an actor not the tabla legend.
How did you deal with the lockdown?
Just before the lockdown, we had reading sessions of a webseries called Sandwiched Forever and we were all set to start the shooting. But then lockdown happened and our set was on hold for 4 months. I was completely at home and followed all guidelines strictly.
How was the year 2020 on the personal front?
The year passed by with lots of difficulties. Actors like Irrfan Khan, who was my co-actor and also a friend, and then Rishi Kapoor passed away. The unfortunate part was we couldn’t even go for their last rites. On the personal front, I lost my father just after the lockdown and I couldn’t see him also as he was in Delhi. There were no flights and trains were not available. It is a big regret that I couldn’t see him.
Any one particular director with whom you would like to work?
Rajkumar Hirani. I really like his way of telling stories. He is a brilliant director and I am looking forward to working with him.