Actor Rajesh Jais has been a familiar face on the small and big screen as well as in the OTT space. Recently seen as a common man in Jehanabad, he will now be seen in Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor-starrer Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar and in a never seen before avatar in Rana Naidu. He believes in doing different characters on screen and is not in favour of use of nudity, gory violence or abusive language in films or shows. Also read: Jehanabad-Of Love & War review: Sweet love story amid a bloody revolution makes for a thrilling watch
In a candid conversation with Hindustan Times, Rajesh Jais opened up about the two dimensions of his role in Jehanabad and his own thoughts on Naxal violence. He also spoke openly about the practice of showing nudity on screen and realism in cinema. Excerpts:
You play the role of a college-going girl’s father and a jail canteen employee in Jehanabad. Tell us about the different shades your character had to portray.
There are four factors in the show – the political class, the police officials, the Naxal side and this commoner family caught up between all of this. My character is a commoner who wants to spend a normal life, without any hassles or confrontations anywhere, neither in jail nor at home. He believes in living by the book. He is a hardcore conformist because that is how he is comfortable. But he is also modern and adaptable for convenience as he agrees for his daughter’s inter-caste marriage. He has very subtle colours. Despite all of this, he also has the guts to ask a dreaded prisoner about why he chose the path of violence.
Your character is forced to pay the price of a revolution he is not part of. What are your views on the same.
I would not approve of it because constitutionally, people have so many platforms to raise their concerns. Zarurat se zyada aazadi mili hui hai (we have too much freedom) and that is the reason that even if a road is to be made, a man who has encroached the road can get a stay on the project. I live at MG Road in Mumbai where there is always a traffic bottleneck because a person running an illegal scrap shop has brought a stay from the court and the problem remains unresolved since 20 years. The naxals in the show are angry about how people came from outside and exploited them, made factories on their land and the minerals like bauxite is being exported abroad. They continue to remain poor as always and all they get is manual jobs like that of a driver or labourer. There is a void between the rebel and the administration which needs to be taken care of.
I am not in favour of violence because CRPF personal also have families just like the rebels. Also, thousands of rupees are being spent on their upkeep, arms, ammunition, travelling, which could have been used in development of that area. The rebels can be encouraged to fight elections and share their wishes in Parliament or Legislative Assembly.
You played a BDO in Panchayat. Did you know the show will become such a success with such a small cast and a very simple concept?
I am against this practice of showing nudity, verbal abuse, gory scenes on screen which became a trend after the popularity of one or two shows. We have the tradition of watching a show or a film with our family members at home. We grew up watching shows like Buniyad, Hum Log, Rajani and they even made money. That generation has not yet abolished. Where are the shows which cater to audience like us? Such shows are not being made. By putting so many intimate scenes, they are also losing the audience like us. I was happy Panchayat was a clean show which people like me could watch at home with their families. Gullak, Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi were such nice shows.
We are a part of exhibitory art, it should be worth watching. Gory scenes with intestines falling out of body isn’t art. One should feel a person has been killed brutally but showing blood isn’t necessary.
But many pitch for showing reality on screen.
Many things happen in real life, will you show all on screen? You can but there is an aesthetic. It will be a documentary if its too real. An artist is one who knows the art of showing something in more aesthetic way without showing the actual thing. If we beat up a person in real, there won’t be a next take. We are paid to lie in the best way possible. An actor is one who makes a lie look real. Don’t make a villain look so glamorous that a child wishes to become a gangster. You are lucky if you get such an opportunity, use it responsibly.
The LGBT community is since forever but there is a way to show them. Talk about their issues, don’t make fun of them. Child marriage in Rajasthan, polygamy in Islam had some purpose behind them when such practices were introduced. Show their perspective. They were warriors and were dying in the battlefield. There were more women which were to be married to ensure their safety. Talk about the perspective of all the parties involved.
Tell us about your role in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.
I am playing the role of Shraddha Kapoor’s father. I did it because of my good relations with Luv Ranjan and they give me immense respect and care.