Interviews ...

“Gullak has steeped into the audience’s consciousness” – Jameel Khan

In a career spanning more than two decades, actor Jameel Khan has been seen in several popular films including ‘Chalte Chalte’, ‘Loins of Punjab Presents’, ‘Rock On!!’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Srikanth’. The one project, however, that earned him maximum recognition has been the Sony LIV original series ‘Gullak’ conceived by TVF. Jameel will be seen reprising the much-loved character of Santosh Mishra in the fourth season of this immensely popular series which is all set to premiere on 7th June.

In this interview, Santosh talks about the new season of ‘Gullak’, the process of bringing Santosh Mishra alive on the screen, working with Shah Rukh Khan in his early days as an actor and more.

You had stated in an interview that you got the opportunity to step into your father shoes while playing Santosh Mishra in ‘Gullak’.

My father has been my hero. He is somebody who inspired me greatly in life. Till date, my relatives keep telling me that they see a glimpse of my father in me. 15-17 years back, I was doing a play with Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah) bhai. I was playing a small part in that play. During that time, Naseer bhai and my father met each other. After meeting my father, Naseer bhai said, “tum toh bilkul apne father ki tarah lagte ho!” (you look exactly like your father!). It was a very sweet thing to say. My daughter is now 13 years old. With time, I have evolved as a father and continue to learn how to look after one’s children.

My father made sure that my siblings and I were brought up well. That was a different time. He was not the kind who would express his love by hugging or kissing his children. However, if there was one child of his that he would joke with often, it was me. I went to live and study at a boarding school at a young age. I was the youngest child of the house. Everybody was scared of my father. As soon as they would hear his footsteps, they would get scared.

What kind of father are you to your daughter?

I am quite friendly with her. However, I do feel that a sense of fear and respect should always be there. At least one of the two parents should be strict. As you grow older, you learn to be a better father, husband, sibling and friend. As actors, our eyes and ears remain open all the time and that helps us evolve as human beings as well.

Just like Santosh Mishra, you are from Uttar Pradesh. Did that help you getting a few things like the dialect of the character right?

Yes! There are many dialects in Uttar Pradesh. It is a colourful state. You will find many interesting characters there. For this character, I had to bring a sense of impurity to my dialect. Santosh Mishra’s dialect is not as refined as mine. Doing that involved a bit of practice.

‘Gullak’ has entered its fourth season. When you work with a set of actors over four seasons, you tend to develop a strong bond with them. Did that happen while doing this show?

Yes, that did happen. The bond gets stronger with time. In the first itself, we managed to build a strong bond with each other. I think we share very good chemistry with each other. The sets of ‘Gullak’ have a very democratic and egalitarian vibe to them. We have shot different seasons with gaps in between but for six years, we have known each other. Vaibhav (Raj Gupta) calls me ‘papa’ in real life as well. All of us share a strong bond with each other.

One of the earliest films you did as an actor was ‘Chalte Chalte’. You had a scene in the film with Shah Rukh Khan. Since you came from a theatre background, you wanted to rehearse the scene. You were not sure how Shah Rukh would react to this suggestion but he was extremely cooperative.

Yeh unka badappan tha (that was his large-heartedness). Despite being a huge star, he gave me a lot of space. Aziz (Mirza) bhai encouraged me a lot. He was watching the shot on the monitor. As soon as Shah Rukh bhai reached the sets, Aziz bhai introduced me to him. He said, “Shah Rukh beta, he is Jameel. I have seen his plays. He is a fantastic actor. When I asked Shah Rukh bhai if we could rehearse the scene once, he was very happy. He said he is also from theatre and loves to rehearse. I had a great time working with him on the film.

Santosh Mishra is, perhaps, the most memorable character you have played in your character. Do you think ‘Gullak’ has a special place in your filmography?

Yes! ‘Gullak’ has steeped into the audience’s consciousness. One of the reasons behind that is they can relate to the characters. Every household in India has a Santosh Mishra in it. Every member in one’s family has flaws. The Mishra family believes in ignoring the flaws, holding each other’s hands and moving forward. The first season came out in 2019. Since then, the audience has given a lot of love to the show. Since it’s on a streaming platform, people can revisit it anytime. It is a show which caters to all age groups.

What can we look forward to in the fourth season of the show?

You can look forward to new stories and new adventures. The children have now grown up. The new season delves deeper into the issues faced by middle-class families. You will see how Mishra family has moved forward, how their lives have changed and how they deal with different challenges. As Jameel Khan, I learn a lot from Santosh Mishra. I also try to put some of Jameel Khan’s traits into Santosh Mishra. I hope the audience likes the fourth season as much as they liked the earlier seasons.

What do you think has been the biggest reason behind the show’s success?

The writing is the backbone of the show and the biggest reason behind the success of the show. If the writing of a show is not good, it cannot reach a certain level. Unless the writers crack a good script, the makers do not move ahead with the next season. The last season of ‘Gullak’ arrived two years back. The creators and writers of a show should get the maximum credit for its success. Since the characters have made a place for themselves in the hearts of the audience, actors have the responsibility to live up to their expectations.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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