I've rediscovered myself in 'Yuvraj': Anjjan 'Wagle' Srivastav

Mumbai, June 16 The popularity of Anjjan Srivastav, who's still remembered for his quaint comedy 'Wagle Ki Duniya', dipped in the last one decade, but the actor says 'Yuvraj' will give him a new lease of life.

Monday, June 16, 2008 | 11:20:52 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) The popularity of Anjjan Srivastav, who's still remembered for his quaint comedy 'Wagle Ki Duniya', dipped in the last one decade, but the actor says 'Yuvraj' will give him a new lease of life.

'Wait for Subhash Ghai's 'Yuvraj'. To say nothing about the audience, I re-discovered myself while working in this film,' Anjjan, who has added an extra 'j' in his first name on his numerologist's advice, told IANS.

'The actor in me has been alive and kicking. But the roles that would have enhanced my career have not been forthcoming. Anyway, at 60, I am starting the third phase of my professional career and I must say there are good things in store for me in the coming years,' he said enthusiastically.

The multifaceted actor, who turned 60 on June 2, is in a reflective mood and says he doesn't want to get bogged down with the identity given to him by 'Wagle Ki Duniya'.

He explains that he does not want it to standardise his acting talent.

'The serial became so popular that it scared me because no actor likes to be typecast. I dreaded that Mr. Wagle would become my alter ego,' remarked Anjjan.

'Fortunately, films like 'Khuda Gawah' and 'Damini' came my way during that time in which I could project different shades of acting,' he recalled.

But he doesn't deny the fact that it was 'Wagle Ki Duniya', conceptualised by celebrated cartoonist R.K. Laxman and directed by Kundan Shah, that actually made him a household name across India when it was first telecast on Doordarshan in 1989-90.

By then, though, he already had put in 20 years of acting, starting with drama on the Kolkata stage in 1967.

He said he was lucky to have his in-born acting talent shaped on the Kolkata stage at a young age by eminent directors like Jnanesh Mukherjee, Badri Prasad Tewary and Shyamlal Jalan.

Before getting into full-time acting, he was an employee of the Allahabad Bank. Anjjan says he was lucky twice over when he secured a transfer to Mumbai and got his acting skills further honed by M.S. Sathyu, Waman Kendre and Ramesh Talwar, who were then ruling the roost in the city's theatre circles.

'It was in drama that I found my muse and turned professional on the stage since 1980s,' Anjjan said.

Though he debuted in movies in 1978 with K.A. Abbas' 'The Naxalites', his creativity drew sustenance only from the stage.

In films, he was first noticed in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Golmaal' released in 1979, though he played only a small role in it. The same year, he was also seen in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's joint production with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), 'Sazaa-e-Maut'.

Though he continued to act in movies and plays, it was television that gave him widespread exposure through popular serials of the 1980s such as 'Yeh Jo Hai Zandagi', 'Ek Do Teen Char', 'Bawaji Ka Bioscope' and 'Nukkad'.

And then came the rollicking hit, 'Wagle Ki Duniya', which saw Anjjan in his true elements. Though the serial lasted only 13 episodes, the actor found a place not only in the drawing room of the viewers but also in their hearts.

The year 1990 also proved to be lucky for him - he signed two of Mira Nair's international productions 'Salaam Bombay' and 'Mississipi Masala.'

'Working with Mira provided me with a different high as an actor. It was altogether a different experience. I would say these two films and other Hindi films that I signed heralded a second phase of my acting career.'

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