Jaaved Jaaferi talks about playing a father, voicing Takeshi's Castle in the '90s and why he believes questioning is critical in today's times
He is a dancer, an actor, a comedian, a voiceover artiste and a host — essentially a complete entertainer. Jaaved Jaaferi has kept us hooked ever since his debut in Meri Jung in 1985. The energetic track from that film Bol Baby Bol Rock-N-Roll sort of epitomises Jaaved’s free-spirited personality. His recent films, such as Bala and Jabariya Jodi, validate his versatile acting skills. Talking about his role in Jabariya Jodi, the actor says, “This was the first time I played a father to a grown man. It was exciting, but I was also apprehensive because some people asked me why I was playing a father’s role. They said I look as young as other lead actors my age. But I thought of Sanjeev Kumar saab as an example. He played the role of a father at quite a young age. As long as I wasn’t going to get typecast, I was okay with it.” Although the film received mixed responses, the actors were individually appreciated.
Though he continues to entertain people with his variety of roles, Jaaved is fondly remembered for Takeshi’s Castle. He had lent his voice to the dubbed Indian version of the Japanese game show that was a cult television hit across the world . “ I was lucky to get Takeshi’s Castle, I did it for the excitement. It was a great opportunity to reach out to children but strangely it reached out to a lot of adults as well. I still get compliments for it and people say that show was an integral part of their childhood and this means a lot to me,” says Jaaved who has also voiced iconic cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Sher Khan from The Jungle Book.
Jaaved’s comic timing onscreen too is on point. His performances in films like Singh Is Kinng and the Dhamaal franchise, are proofs of his talent. It is something that seems to run in the family. His father is the legendary actor and comedian Jagdeep. “I have learnt a lot from watching him. But I work on my roles — I work on my walk, my talk, the way I look — all these things need to come together. I get inspiration from observing people. I have been observing people all my life and for different characters, I revisit what’s stored in my memory,” he reveals.
Let’s talk and dance
Jaaved, his brother, producer Naved Jaffery and actor-producer Ravi Behl were the pioneers of reality TV shows. They gave India the first reality dance competition Boogie Woogie that debuted on television in 1996 and had a successful run for 17 years. When asked if it will be reviewed, Jaaved offers, “It was a first-of-its kind. We are ready to revive it. We have a lot of ideas and if we get an opportunity, we would love to come back onscreen with it.” Going forward, he will be seen in films such as Sooryavanshi and Coolie No.1. “I am part of a project by Karan Johar, and there’s another film with Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty and Madhavan,” divulges the actor who has been quite vocal about the unrest in colleges and protests across the country against the CAA.
In fact, some videos of his poetry recitations and speeches have gone viral on social media.“If I can sell soft drinks, briefs and vests as an actor, and have that kind of an influence, then how can my conscience not allow me to speak? I am voting, and I have the right to question,” he signs off.
Watch the World Television Premiere of Jabariya Jodi on January 11 on Zee Cinema