We are looking at 'Bheja Fry' sequel: Vinay Pathak

Feb 15, 2008 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Vinay Pathak, the affable actor from Bihar, has become a star after "Bheja Fry". But stardom has not turned his world upside down though the witty star is rather surprised by its belated arrival.

Pathak has his feet firmly planted on the ground. "I am not really looking at central roles. If I get interesting cameos and supporting parts, why not? Not every role can be 'Bheja Fry'," said the actor who played the lead in the hit comedy.

A sequel might follow "Bheja Fry", Pathak revealed. "We are looking at a sequel. 'Bheja Fry' is the coming together of very like-minded people. My co-star Rajat Kapoor, myself, director Sagar Bellary and Ranvir Shorey have known one another for years and have worked together."

The crew thought it would be an art house film. But the spirit of the common man clicked, Pathak said. "It's the story of a very ordinary man, but it became interesting once 50 people sat down to watch it. My knowledge about Hindi film songs gathered from years of listening to the radio helped develop the character."

Vinay Pathak started his career with a walk-on part as a tourist guide at the Taj Mahal in Deepa Mehta's "Water". Since then, he has come a long way. The down-to-earth actor from Bhojpur (Bihar) is thinner and savvier and is ready to pit his brawns against actor Salman Khan.

"If you remember, I was part of a chest-baring competition with Salman Khan in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam'. I wish I could enact that scene now. Seriously, my current weight loss is for a film. I can't talk about it right now, but it is a character worth dieting for," he said.

Pathak said he had been practising 'pranayam' (breathing exercises) for one full year for the role. "That's the basic formula. Plus, I had to exert strict control over my diet. Fortunately, I have always been a vegetarian. Despite having a sweet tooth, I always stay away from sweets. But it is worth it. I intend to continue losing weight even after the movie."

So, no fried stuff for the "Bheja Fry" guy.

The crew of "Bheja Fry" did not acknowledge Francis Verber's "The Dinner Game" as the source for their movie because of "copyright hassles".

"I realised this when Parvati Balagopalan and I were adapting Laura Esquivel's novel 'Like Water For Chocolate' for Indian television. We tried to track her down. Believe me, it was an ordeal. It would've been much easier to just go ahead with our serial 'Margarita' quietly. The 'Bheja Fry' sequel will be far more original," Pathak said.

In Rajat Kapoor's new movie, "Mithya", Pathak plays a henchman. He describes it as a character no filmmaker other than Rajat could have trusted Pathak with. "Mithya" is special because all of Pathak's friends - Ranvir, Saurav Shukla and director Rajat Kapoor- are working together again.

"We had a lot of fun while shooting and having Naseer Bhai in the cast was an added attraction. In fact, even the cinematographer and production designer have been my friends for years. So 'Mithya' was like a family affair. The story is very interesting," the actor said.

Pathak laughs when asked if he is playing god and plunges into details about his pet projects, instead. "There is a movie being directed by Ram Gopal Varma's assistant Saurabh Shrivastava. He is a first-time director and I play the lead. In 'Johnny Gaddaar', I played a gambler and I completely went by director Sriram Raghavan's version. It was a small role."

Is his family in Bihar proud of him? "My mother still hasn't come to terms with her son being an actor. She wanted me to be a banker who went to work with a briefcase in the morning and came home to his wife and children at 5 p.m. She thinks acting is more like a hobby. I don't want to disrespect my mother's 'masoomiyat' (innocence)," Pathak said.

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