Playing a vertically-challenged antagonist in Marjaavaan, Riteish Deshmukh on how the film was physically demanding.
His filmography may be dominated by comedies, but Riteish Deshmukh likes to throw a curveball when you least expect it.
After a spate of comic turns, the actor will be seen as the villain in Marjaavaan, which also stars Sidharth Malhotra. Remind him how his psychopath killer turn in Ek Villain (2014) won him much acclaim, and Deshmukh states that the two antagonists are poles apart. "Rakesh Mahadkar [his character in Ek Villain] is, the boy next door, easily forgotten in a crowd. But Vishnu in Marjaavaan is a 180-degree turnaround from that. He is vertically challenged, but larger-than-life, arrogant and brash," he says, adding that empathy is the key to portraying troubled characters. "I try to find the emotional core. I need to understand why he is the way he is."
Understanding the psyche of a grey character can be challenging. But Deshmukh points out that shooting as a vertically-challenged character was equally arduous.
"We had to film every shot from five different angles. Besides being on my knees all the time, I had several restrictions. I remember shooting for a sequence that comes right before the intermission in which I am required to stand in the muck. Once the director said cut, I was covered in muck, right from my knees to the thighs. I had to wait in that state for my next shot. In such scenarios, the performance is not the challenge. But, sitting in dirty, wet clothes for three nights becomes difficult and irritating."
Up next, he has an actioner in Baaghi 3. Having spent 15 years in the industry, Deshmukh says he only greenlights projects that "excite" him.
"Even when attempting a comedy, I ask myself, if I can do something different [from what I did the last time around]."