Darshan Jariwala plays Bhoolabhai Desai in Sweetiee Weds NRI, a patriarch obsessed with getting his daughter (Zoya Afroz) married to an NRI.
Often in comedies, the risk of exaggeration and characters coming off as caricatured runs large. But Jariwala says the makers took utmost care to overcome this challenge. Though Bhoolabhai’s character is comical, there is a well-developed backstory which explains his obsession.
“His ambition is to migrate to the United Kingdom. But he is unable to achieve that dream and gets deported instead. Ad in order to pursue his unfulfilled dreams, Bhoolabhai resolves to get his daughter married to an NRI,” says Jariwala. He adds that the film also has emotional moments aplenty since it dwells on the father and daughter relationship too.
Talking about comedies, the actor says that besides the script, timing is the most important in the same. And he believes that comedies work especially well with a good ensemble cast.
Most of Jariwala’s scenes in the film are with Afroz, who he feels was always eager to learn and become better at her craft.
Sweetie Weds NRI takes a dig at Indian parents who traditionally believe in getting their daughter married rather letting her be independent. “It dwells on the society’s materialistic aspirations and tries to present these realities in a funny yet thought-provoking manner,” says the veteran actor.
Many of Jariwala’s popular roles including those in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani and F.A.L.T.U have cast him in the role of a father. While the actor admits to the same, he adds that he has always tried to bring a new nuance to every such role.
“Besides the lead actors, the other characters that can create a conflict in a story are that of a father or a mother. And this especially is the case of a film that deals with a family. So in every story, there is an opportunity to always try and do something new,” he is quick to add.
He cites the example of director Ajay Pannalal’s soon to be released Behen Hogi Teri to emphasize on the same. The film which also stars Rajkummar Rao and Shruti Hassan casts Jariwala as Rao’s father.
“In this film, my character Nautiyal has a different obsession and initiates the film’s premise. Since childhood, I raise Rajkummar with the belief that all the women in his neighborhood are like his sisters and he should respect and treat them accordingly. This leaves Rajkummar Rao with no other option but to believe the same. On occasions like Raksha Bandhan, he ensures that all the girls in the neighborhood tie rakhis to the guys, especially to those who have tried to woo them earlier. But Rajkumar falls in love with a girl from the neighborhood played by Shruti Hassan. And it dwells on how Rajkummar and Hassan try to keep this under wraps and the conflict that ensues”
Elaborating further on his role in the film, Jariwala adds Nautiyal hails from a small town and his aspiration is limited to being the president of the colony where he resides.
“Outside the colony’s vicinity, he has a very ordinary existence. But once he is in his colony, Nautiyal becomes a different person and takes the onus of becoming a leader. This is visible especially on occasions like Raksha Bandhan or in the event of a colony member’s demise” he adds.
Talking about his repeated casting as a father in Hindi films, Jariwala says “When you create a character, one may get dejected on realizing the role is similar to one they had portrayed earlier. But the good thing is that when directors approach me now, they know they have to give me something different to do and that’s a good thing”
The actor who is the son of veteran Gujarati stage actress Leela Jariwala has been pursuing theater since the age of 17. Since then he worked in a host of acclaimed Gujarati plays with many acclaimed actors, many of whom he considers as his inspirations. Shafi Inamdar, Arvind Joshi, Upendra Trivedi and Homi Wadia are some of the many actors whom he states as his inspirations.
The actor who currently features in the acclaimed Netflix series Sense 8 and the British TV series Good Karma Hospital says that every film or performance, whether good or bad helps an actor to learn a thing or two about acting.
Interview By: Aditya Savnal