Cinema, television, stand-up comedy, theatre, web shows… you name it and Sumeet Raghvan has done it. And now? He teams up with Akshay Kumar on upcoming film Holiday
Actor Sumeet Raghvan wears many hats. He does films, television shows, stand-up comedy, theatre and web shows, with equal ease. Having spent over 35 years of his life in films (he began as a child actor playing the lead in DD show Faster Fene) Sumeet has seen every bit of the industry. However, if there is one thing he doesn’t take to naturally, it is networking. “I can’t call up people and chit-chat with them when I hear that they are on a new project. I’d rather have them watch my talent and sign me on for what they see,” he says.
Filmmaker Vipul Shah has done just that. He asked Sumeet to come along for a role in A. R. Murugadoss’ upcoming film Holiday – A Soldier is Never off Duty (releasing June 6) with Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha. “It’s a big project definitely,” says Sumeet, who has done Ajay Devgn’s U Me Aur Hum, Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan and Nandita Das’ Firaaq. “The original was a huge hit in the South (Tamil film Thuppakki) and moreover we have the brilliant Murugadoss at the helm. Not only did he know the script like the back of his hand but he knew our strengths too. Most importantly, he brought some discipline from south India to the sets!” he adds.
Sumeet plays a cop in the action thriller, and says, “There are things you learn all the while in your life. When I worked with Shah Rukh Khan and now with Akshay, I realised how focussed these guys are. That’s why they have achieved success in life. Akshay enjoys his scenes, he plays pranks like asking for a retake, and deliberately doing something outlandish to make us all crack up, but when it comes to work, he is absolutely serious. When it comes to fitness, there is full dedication. Mercifully, I was totally fit when I met him!” he laughs.
He can’t shake off his most popular character Dr. Saahil of the TV series Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. “I believe it’s online and I still keep getting feedback on the show. I am working with the same team again and we have our next show coming up called Badi Door Se Aaye Hain, an alien comedy, in June. We hope we’ll get an equal, if not better, response,” he says.
The actor is also shooting for his first Marathi film Sandook (treasure chest) set in the 1940s. “I play a day dreamer and it’s a cracker of a role. We’ve shot in a small town of Maharashtra, Kudal, to get the look and feel of the era right. The Marathi is also devoid of any modern terms, it’s very bookish. I am very excited as it’s a great time for Marathi cinema. There is a lot of scope to work with people who share your vision of films,” he says.
The Internet show that the actor hosts, the immensely popular Jay Hind!, completes five years this August and has 400 episodes. The format has been extended to a live stand-up act twice in Mumbai and Sumeet hopes to do more shows. “We are set to upload an entire series of post-poll acts and they are going to be hilarious. I do comedy well, so I would like to host a show but given how popular the clutter breaker in this space (Kapil Sharma’s show) is, I wouldn’t want to do a me-too. Let’s see what new things come my way,” he smiles. Sumeet and wife Chinmayee share the stage in a Marathi musical called Lekure Udand Jhali, where he puts his classical music training to use. With so much going on, which medium does he enjoy the most? Pat comes the reply: “Films. Especially after Sandook, I am high on films. It’s an enriching and fulfilling medium. But television runs your kitchen and pays the EMIs,” he laughs.