Acting as a term reduces the magnitude of the profession, says film veteran Raghubir Yadav, who equates understanding the soul of a character to a ”spiritual journey”.
The National School of Drama (NSD) graduate believes it is important to get into the depth of characters even if it requires venturing into uncharted territories. ”Acting is a very dangerous term for me, I dislike it (Acting lafz mere liye bada khatarnak hai, usse main napasand karta hoon)… For me, it is about understanding the character and getting closer to the role. If someone says, ‘Yadav sahab, thoda zara iski acting kar dijiye’. ”Then, it is acting a character and not getting into the soul of a character. You need to feel the character and capture its soul. I enjoy getting into the depth,” Yadav told PTI in an interview.
The 66-year-old recalled while preparing for Mira Nair’s 1988 film ”Salaam Bombay!”, in which he played the character of a drug addict Chillum, he spent some time with real-life addicts on Nana Patekar’s advice. ”I don’t even smoke and I had to play this role. I told Nana that I have never smoked, so he made me sit among drug addicts and I would just observe them. Acting is like spirituality, meditation (Acting bhi ek tarah ka adhyatma hai, meditation hai). I keep learning and I feel I want to look for more such experiences,” he added.
After the graduating from the NSD, Yadav moved to Mumbai and his first film was 1985’s “Massey Sahib”. For his performance in the movie, he received many prestigious awards, including the best actor recognition at the Venice Film Festival as well as FIPRESCI Critics’ Award.
The Jabalpur-born actor followed it up with memorable TV shows such as “Mungerilala Ke Haseen Sapne”, ”Mullah Nasruddin” and went on to play varied roles in films such as ”Dharavi”, ”Bandit Queen”, ”Lagaan”, ”Firaaq”, ”Peepli Live”, ”Newton” and ”Pagglait”, among others.
The influx of digital platforms has also lent Yadav a canvas to paint interesting characters with series such as ”Panchayat”, ”The Great Indian Murder” and film anthology ”Ray”.
”I have lived so many lives through my characters. We have to get the soul and spirit of every other person that we play in films or theatre. Every character is different. It is about getting into the nitty-gritty. You become and live like the character,” he said.
There was a time in his career when people tried to box him as a comedian, said Yadav, adding that he would prefer to ”starve” rather than being repetitive.
”I would not do anything that I don’t believe in. I don’t want to do anything that will upset my audience… I have learnt this from theatre, where many stalwarts would die of hunger (bhookhe mar gaye) but never did something they didn’t have faith in.” The actor will next be seen in ”Minus 31 – The Nagpur Files”, a thriller movie directed by Pratik Moitro. Yadav plays the role of a former police officer, whose daughter, also a police officer essayed by Rucha Inamdar, is investigating a murder.
The father-daughter relationship in the film attracted him the most, he said. ”This love and banter between father and daughter was amazing, I had a lot of fun being part of the film. While working on this film I felt we all were like a family, so it was a great experience. I believe when you have a good time making a film, the film turns out good,” he added.
”Minus 31” also features Nisha Dhar, Rajesh Sharma, Jaya Bhattacharya, Kaambhaari, Santosh Juvekar, Shivankit Parihar, and Debashish Naha.
The movie, produced by Orangepixel Studios, is set to be released on Friday.