Sharman Joshi remembers how 3 idiots changed people’s perspectives

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Actor Sharman Joshibest known for his roles in films such as 3 Idiots and Rank the Basanti, is all set for his Gujarati debut with the film Congratulations, in which he can be seen as a pregnant man. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, the actor talks about working on the films, recalls some of the milestone films in his career and some anecdotes from his childhood. (Also Read: Sharman Joshi searched the phone book for directors and called them for work)

Speaking of playing the role of a pregnant man, Sharman said, “Arnold Schwarzenegger played a pregnant man (in the 1994 film Junior). Ankush Choudhary also played a pregnant man (in the 2006 Marathi movie Ishhya), I don’t know what the story is (of those movies). Unfortunately I didn’t see what Riteish Deshmukh (Mr Mummy) and Ankush have done. But this one (congratulations) is what Rehan (writer and director Rehan Chaudhary) wrote and I was immediately excited to work on it. We got going very quickly.”

He added that the film also shows some scientific research in the field. “The film focuses on the whole gamut of pregnancy and its challenges, which are treated in a light-hearted manner throughout the film. Congratulations is primarily an emotional, dramatic comedy. It’s not a make-believe world, we have some scientific references, but it’s still a work of fiction that could become reality very soon. It (the movie) ends with a ticker saying that in writing.”

Produced by Sharman, Congratulations will be released on February 3. The film is not Sharman’s first time performing in Gujarati – he has worked in Gujarati theater before – but it is his first film in the language. He said the recent work in Gujarati films inspired him. “Great work has been done in the last 20 years, mainly by young people. Abhishek Jain to Krishnadev Yagnik and Pratik Gandhi have all done a great job and now we hope to join forces and continue the journey.”

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When asked about the best part of working on the film, Sharman said, “The best part of working on it was I was able to gain weight. I was supposed to be pregnant so I had to gain weight, but I got carried away and it wasn’t a good thing. It was actually embarrassing, the weight I gained in just two months. But it was for the movie, so it was worth it. I was able to get back to my normal weight soon enough and by the end of shooting I started slimming down.”

Sharman recalled that Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots were seminal films in his career and recalled some of the memorable reactions to those films. “Those movies were very important to me and my career. I got exactly the kind of work I hoped to get. They gave me a lot of creative satisfaction. Also, through films like 3 Idiots and Rang De Basanti, I discovered how powerful our films are, apart from being entertaining, but also impacting how people look at things.”

He added, “After 3 idiots, parents came to me and personally told me ‘I used to be strict with my kids’ and how they changed their behavior after seeing the movie. They started to get a little easier. Many professionals have told me that they were inspired by 3 Idiots to change tracks and start over in a profession they wanted. That was very brave.” He then recalled how R Madhavan’s confrontation scene with his father in 3 Idiots remains one of the most inspiring. “That includes all the emotions of those individuals who came to me. Their love for what they want to do is amazing. To see that and realize that (is amazing).”

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Sharman also recalled feeling happy and proud when he was told by a film festival director about the smiles that Hindi films bring to people’s faces. “Once I went to a film festival in Russia and the festival director took me out for coffee. She told me ‘do you know why all those faces you see have a serious, intense or fearful expression?’ When I asked her why, she said, “Most of the films that come here are very political, intense topics. And, generally Hindi, movies add that lighthearted entertainment quotient. They bring a smile to the audience.”

Most recently seen in movies like Mission Mangal and Mera Fauji Calling, currently he is the host of the sports entertainment show WWE Super Dhamal. “WWF is what we knew as kids. I was a huge fan of WWF, I would never miss an episode. Years went by and Sony Sports came to me with this offer (to host the show WWE Super Dhamaal). I was excited of course, I had lost touch with WWE. I caught up on several videos to keep up to date with it.

Recalling when he was a WWF fan, Sharman said, “Yeah, we always played the cards, and Hulk Hogan used to be my favourite. I fully believed it was a real fight. Then I realized it isn’t, but I was addicted to it. Asked if he’s ever had a fight with siblings or friends as WWF showed, the actor added: “My sister was too much of a bookworm, so never home. (And with a friend), the norm to be with a friend to stay is a current day. In my day, parents were careful. By the time we grew up and had that permission, we realized it’s not real.”

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