After a hiatus of one-and-a-half year, popular stand-up comedian Sunil Grover will be back on TV with a new show, Gangs Of Filmistaan. Interestingly, the show was conceptualised during the pandemic and the shoot began early this month. "We are sanitising our hands, wearing masks, and trying to recognise people with masks! After some time I will be trying to recognise people without their masks," quips Sunil. On a serious note, the actor says that the initial two days were difficult, but later it became a routine. "It's the new normal. Of course you have to be careful, but for five months we were sitting at home without work and this was a good opportunity to bring a smile to people's faces during these tough times," he adds.
As the name suggests, Gangs Of Filmistaan revolves around Bollywood movies. "It's a simplified show with a clear agenda. It basically spoofs Hindi films. I play one permanent character (a don) but will be doing some other roles, too. I love mimicking actors and this will be good fun for me," he elaborates.
There have been reports of him taking a pay cut for this show. Was it his idea? "I never said I am taking a pay cut. Of course, there have been negotiations and the channel has been kind to me, but I want to divert the money. Whatever I earn for the show I want to give to a good charity," he clarifies.
When asked if he has any learnings from the lockdown, the actor, who rose to fame with his drag act as Gutthi, said, "I can wash my clothes, finish a sink full of utensils in 20 minutes and cook food! Apart from that I feel we should live and let live, be grateful and happy. We have lost so many people. Life is short and we should celebrate each other's existence. We are always criticising on social media, let's try appreciating. Let everyone be a hero."
Last year, Sunil had a big screen outing with Bharat in which he shared screen space with Salman Khan. Has that elicited more Bollywood offers? "Definitely. I have been reading several scripts. Frankly, I have been getting offers since the last 5-7 years for movies and web series, but after Bharat, in which I played a realistic character, I am being approached for different kinds of roles apart from comedy. People's acknowledgement has given me confidence to play realistic characters more efficiently," he says.
Any interview with Sunil cannot be complete without mentioning Kapil Sharma with whom he did two shows before they had a fall out. Will the duo ever come together for a show? "Ishwar ne chaha toh," is his succinct reply.