The third sequel to Marathi film franchise ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai 3’ has garnered immense appreciation and done humongous at the box-office. In conversation to Swwapnil Joshi who spoke about the kind of response they received, his journey of ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai’ franchise and much more. Excerpts:

How gratifying is it to be part of a super hit franchise ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai ‘, also what was your reaction with the film doing great at the box office? 

Honestly it was quite challenging thing to do because first time in the history of Marathi cinema to have a part 3. But I couldn’t call it pressure but I would definitely call it responsibility that we were under a lot of responsibility to be true to the audiences and to be able to justify the third part.   Because people had question to ask as to why are we making a third part and is it just a strategy and things like these. So the first thing was to justify what we wanted to do or what we had set out to do.  And the most gratifying feeling is that we have not let down our audiences, and I feel for me that is, the single thing I have after the release and the response is that a lot of people who believed in us, lot of the audiences who believed in the part 3. We were able to live up to their expectations and probably out to them and that is a very humbling experience, to be loved so much and respected so much and to be trusted so much.  And to be honest when we began the franchise it wasn’t ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai 1’ it was just ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai’.  So what I want to underline the fact is when we began this film journey it was never meant to be a part 1 or a part 2.  And I think it rarely happens in an actor’s life or in a filmmaker life and which happened with this film is that its sequel or its ideation or its demand came completely from the audience first; generally what happens is makers make a film and then take it to the audiences and then they give a verdict but here the audiences started asking us the question and that lead to part 2, part 3 and looking at the response I would say – never say, never!

It’s been a long journey with this film, how different was it this time?

The audience desperately wanted the 2 and 3 part but we were very clear that we won’t do the movie just because audience wants the 2 and 3 part, we did it because we were extremely sure about the content; which is the reason if you actually see the journey the second part took at least 5 years to come after the first part and the third part has come after 3 years after the second part. It’s actually 8 to 9 year old journey. So I think the journey has been extremely gratifying and humbling as we have all grown with it. It sounds very surreal and philosophical when I say this but, my character Gautam has grown with me and I have grown with him. There are certain nuances of him that I want to inculcate in my life and vice versa. In the literal sense of the term I can say that I have given a piece of my soul to Gautam, my character.

Romantic roles have been a special strength for you always – how much do you enjoy doing romantic genre?

For anybody who knows me, knows that I am a diehard romantic person, for me everything is romance from eating good food to outing with family is romance, a coffee conversation is  good romance,  so I think there is romance in everything. If you start seeing romance then romance is all around you; it’s not restricted to a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Romance can always be between a father and a daughter or between two great friends or between you and a great book.  I think it’s the single universal feeling that has not changed since time has evolved. Love is something that fascinates you whenever you think about it and yes I am extremely comfortable with this genre and I feel the only thing you are born with as a child is love and compassion, and I personally feel that every other feeling you learn as you grown but love you are born with so its genetically also inside us.

You share a good onscreen chemistry with Mukta Barve and have given several hit films together. How has your relation evolved with her as an actor?

I think we have really outdone ourselves as friends in last 9 years and I think it won’t be wrong to say that Mukta is an extension of my body part now so we are that close. She is so close to me that she is blur now; when objects are too close to your eyes they appear blur to you, same way.  So that’s how close w e are to each other that we appear blur to each other. And I think she is one of the finest actresses we have in Marathi cinema and working with her and performing with her only makes you do better, she is gorgeous inside out.  And I think camera loves her so every time we share a screen space with her, you just get better with her.

In recent times, Marathi cinema has made great impact and has attracted the Hindi cinema filmmakers and audiences too. What do you think is the reason behind it?

I think it’s always the content. I feel Marathi cinema has always been extremely strong on content.  But from last 5-6 years what has also changed for Marathi cinema is the influx of audience, I think content was always are talking point and I think from the film ‘ Duniyadari’ it bought the audience back to the theatre, and great content, mixed with great demand for tickets, I think it’s a great combination.

Working in the industry since so many years, what has been your biggest learning so far?

I think the biggest learning is not to count your years, not to count your experiences, just see them and  help them let you grow but never get them to the table, never get them to work, always go to work like it’s your first day of work. Because every day is a new day, every day is a new role, the raw you are, the more organic and candid you are, the more you want to last.  And the day I start counting that for so many years I am going to work, I don’t think that will work for me as an actor. The nervousness that I carry with me onsets, I think it’s my biggest USP

What do you take back from Mumbai -Pune -Mumbai?

What I take back from ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai’ is A- immense love from the audience and recreating the fact that people love to watch feel good films that will never go out of fashion.  Recent example in Hindi cinema was ‘Badhaai Ho’, it’s such a feel good film, and it’s not a rocket science and that is the USP of the film or for any of your Aanad Rai’s film or any of Rishikesh Mukarjee’s film, or  any of Rajuhirani’s films, it just brighten up your day.  One learning that I am taking home from ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai’ franchise is that – that feel good cinema will never go out of style.

What next?

I am doing a film called ‘Me Pan Sachin’ which means ‘Even I am Sachin’, it’s a film about a failed sportsperson.  It’s completely different from ‘Mumbai Pune Mumbai’ and the films I have done till date, so I am looking forward to it. Trade Magazine