‘I felt intimidated working with Salman Khan’: Sunil Grover


One of the best stand-up comedians in recent times, Sunil Grover, has created his own brand of humour on TV. Whether it was his drag act as Gutthi in Comedy Nights With Kapil, or the idiosyncratic Dr Mashoor Gulati in The Kapil Sharma Show, he has been a riot.
Yes, his subsequent fallout with Kapil Sharma grabbed a lot of attention, but it didn’t put a dent on his popularity. In fact, after Sunil opted out of Kapil’s show, Salman Khan chose to promote his film Tubelight (2017) with a special two-hour programme hosted by the former and skipped going on the latter’s show. And now, in his upcoming Eid release, Bharat, Sunil will be seen alongside the superstar in a major role. Here, the actor-comedian talks about his equation with the superstar, sharing screen space with him, the need to reinvent comedy and more.
Salman recently showered praises on the comedian-actor, when he said, “Sunil is one of the most talented actors I have seen so far. He doesn’t do mimicry. He gets into the character and plays it. So, if you see him as Gutthi or Dr Mashoor Gulati and the way he imitates Mr Bachchan or Dharamji, he’s not hitting below the belt and he’s not trying to do comedy, he’s actually a fan and he plays their characters to the T.” So, was it his good equation with the superstar that landed him the film? “The team of Bharat offered me the role. Salman sir has always been nice and cordial with me, and complimented me. And now, it feels wonderful to be part of a film like Bharat with such a big star. Actually, I feel lucky,” he says. What’s more, Sunil plays the Race 3 actor’s close friend and will be there throughout the film. This means like Dabangg Khan, he will also be seen traversing through different time spans as the film follows Salman’s journey from 18-70. “Yes, playing old is nothing new for me, but this is done realistically. It’s an interesting part,” shares the comedian.
Will he be the comic relief in the film? “At some points there is laughter, but it’s not the character who makes you laugh, the situations are such that it will make you laugh,” explains Sunil. After having shared the stage with Salman on his shows, it must have been easier to work with him as a co-star? “Not really,” says the actor adding, “On the shows, he would come as a guest, but on the sets of the film, he was doing his job as an actor.”
Sunil reveals, “I felt intimidated because he has such an aura, he is a big star! So, initially it was difficult to work with him as an actor.” And if you are wondering how he broke the barrier, it was by partying and hanging out with him! “We had a couple of parties. Party karke raat ko baithke baatein karte the! Those were our workshops,” laughs Sunil.
As a co-star, the 41-year-old actor says Salman is great. “He doesn’t interfere in the work space,” he shares, adding that he saw a mutli-dimensional personality of the superstar on set. “I saw different kinds of people wrestlers, scriptwriters, artistes, etc coming to meet him. He is so diversified,” gushes Sunil. And, of course, gymming with the superstar was also a part of it. “We were shooting in Malta and whenever he would go to the gym for a workout, I would follow. He encourages every one to be fit but never forces anyone,” says the actor. As for Katrina Kaif, he states that she is a live wire. “When she is there, she is talking and laughing. But she is hardworking and passionate about her work,” he says appreciatively.
“When Bharat came to me I had nothing. And when I had a gap of one month, I did the show Kanpur Wale Khuranas. It was an eight-week show after which I resumed shooting for Bharat. Even now, I don’t have anything lined up. Let’s see what happens after the film releases,” says Sunil. Doesn’t he want to do another comedy show on TV? “I have loved what I had been doing, but now comedy needs to be reinvented. I think we have been doing the same stuff. We have to try something new,” he says.
Around the time when Sunil was hosting his show Kanpur Wale Khuranas, The Kapil Sharma Show made a comeback. There were reports that Salman, who is producing Kapil’s show, tried to bring about a patch-up between the erstwhile friends. “I had a brief talk with Salman sir about coming on the show. He just suggested it, never enforced anything.” So, has he watched the show? “If I’m not in it, I don’t watch it,” he laughs.

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