Road, Movie recently premiered at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival. Directed by Dev Benegal, the film has seen some fabulous critic reviews coming its way and is now going full steam ahead to make its presence felt in more such international film festivals.
Even though the film is being sold as an Abhay Deol starrer, the man who is not being missed by a single critic is Satish Kaushik.
"When it is written about that Satish Kaushik has come up trumps in the movie, I obviously pride myself. More so because while in Bollywood, I have been pretty much slotted in the last 25 odd years as an actor, in the West, filmmakers are still willing to experiment," says Satish Kaushik who continues to play the balancing act between being an actor and a director.
In the film, Kaushik plays the role of a wanderer who seemingly knows everything about life. As a constant companion of Abhay Deol, he brings some of the most light hearted moments in the film while also making quite a few statements in an understated manner.
"For them an actor is an actor. They don't hesitate in putting you in a challenging situation. Whether it is Road, Movie or the earlier Brick Lane , I have got some great roles to play,” he says. “They have been a complete departure from the dozens of funny characters that I have played. Of course, these are the roles that have given me recognition in my country. But as a creative person, I am happy that West is giving me my due."
Now that West seems to be waking up for him, is he planning to become a little more aggressive about his international assignments?
"Of course, I will love to do that," he says. "Films like Road, Movie and Brick Lane add a lot to your resume. It now boasts of international presence as well. Most importantly, the kind of roles coming to me isn’t peripheral. It's not that 'chalo, ek Indian aadmi lena hai do scene ke liye, so let's get someone from Bollywood'. They are worthy roles, the kinds that are integral to the film, both quality as well as length wise."
This is the reason why both he as well as Danny Boyle felt that they may work in some other assignment instead of Slumdog Millionaire. Not many are aware that Satish Kaushik was earlier auditioned for the role of a sub inspector (who reports to Irrfan Khan) that was later played by Saurabh Shukla.
"Yes, Danny had auditioned me and I was more or less finalised too. But then he told me that he had seen me in Brick Lane and believed that as an actor, I had a lot more to offer. He felt that if I played the role for which I had auditioned, it wouldn't justify my standing as an actor. We agreed to get together for something better in time to come," says Kaushik.
His contemporaries from the early 80s, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, have already made an impression in the West, whether in the American or British film industry. Happy to join the league?
"Yes, of course. This is the right time to go for the kill. All us senior actors are seeing some good recognition coming our way," he says.