Two decades ago, Tusshar Kapoor followed dad Jeetendra into Hindi cinema with a sweet love story revolving around a boy who finds it difficult to express his feelings for the girl whose entry into his life has given it a new direction. Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai featuring Kareena Kapoor opposite him, was a superhit and to this day, the actor has carefully preserved tickets of shows in different cinemas during the opening week. It’s interesting to note that he went to little-known single screen theatres to gauge reactions to his debut film, even sitting in the stalls with the aam janta. But then, that’s Tusshar, the “most obedient, humble, hardworking, passionate and talented actor”, as his first director, Satish Kaushik, describes him.
It’s been a dizzy rollercoaster ride of highs that have made the struggles worthwhile and lows that have become lessons for life, from Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai as an actor to the Akshay Kumar starrer Laxmii as a producer. And, as he points out, there are miles to go before all the milestones are done. Tusshar has been quietly working on a murder mystery with an intriguing title, Maarrich, which went on the floors last year and was announced in January, 2021.
“It’s not based on a true story, but it’s a very believable film. Not out-and-out commercial…More real and slightly dark,” he shares. Quiz him on his choice of title and Tusshar explains that maarrich means illusions, which is apt because, the suspects here are not who they appear to be.
The whodunit reunites him with his The Dirty Picture co-star, Naseeruddin Shah, who plays a Catholic priest while Tusshar is a cop investigating a double murder. “I’ve played a police officer in the past too, but in comparison, this guy is a more seasoned cop. And during the investigation, he undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts and discovers himself which adds an interesting and novel dimension to the character,” he informs.
The film has been written by the director himself, debutant Dhruv Lather. Tusshar liked the narration so much that he decided to not just act in it, but produce the film himself. “This way I can do full justice to the subject rather than it going to someone else aur kahin kuchh khamiyan reh jaye,” says the actor who has a management degree and has worked as a financial analyst. His father had the reputation of being a box-office whiz, with all facts and figures at his fingertips, and like his sister Ekta, Tusshar has inherited Jeetendra’s business acumen.
How did he manage to get Naseeruddin Shah on board, you wonder, and he says that like him, the veteran actor was wowed by Dhruv’s narration! “Sir called me up after it was done to urge me to make the film,” he reminisces.
One remembers how excited Naseer was to be doing an “Oo la la” with Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture in which he played an ageing superstar. Does he get to shake a leg in this film too? Tusshar negates the query immediately, “No, he plays a serious character. For that matter even I don’t get to dance because I am not a conventional hero. My character’s graph is very different so while others dance, I do the sleuthing.” Surely, there is a romantic angle? There’s a longish pause before he answers, “You can say so, he’s a married man.”
Meanwhile, you wonder, what’s happening with the Rohit Shetty- directed Golmaal franchise which features him as the goonga (mute) Lucky Gill, a character which has become almost iconic through four blockbuster instalments? Rohit had once promised a Golmaal every two years. The last one, Golmaal Again, opened in 2017, it’s been four years since we saw Lucky last. “No news as of now, let’s hope it gets made soon,” Tusshar signs off.