Ravi likes both his roles, as an actor and a politician. “No one helped me to make my place as an actor. No one helped me as a politician either."

Ravi Kishan: “I Want To  Revive The  Glory Of Bhojpuri Cinema” 888960

Actor-politician Ravi Kishan is on all-time high after getting unprecedented praise for his performance as a morally ambivalent cop in Kiran Rao’s Lapatta Ladies.

This week Ravi has another release titled Mahadev Ka Gorakhpur where he plays title role .

He is darned kicked about the real-life parallel. “As you know Gorakhpur is my constituency.And I am big Shiv bhakt. So we wrote this film Mahadev Ka Gorakhpur for me. It is a Hindi-Bhojpuri bi-lingual.I hope to revive the old glory of Bhojpuri cinema with this film.”

In his 33-year career Ravi Kishan has done it all. Hindi, Bhojpuri and even South Indian films. But nothing he has done in the past can compare with the recognition he is getting for his role as the paan-chewing morally ambivalent cop Shyam Manohar in Kiran Rao’s Laapata Ladies. “It’s destiny. God has been kind. Never in my 33-year career have I seen such praise for a performance.My God! Yeh to kamaal ho gaya.Main aapko ek baat bataoon? Main paan khata hoon toh Amitji(Bachchan) aa jaate hain mere body mein.Yes, how beautiful is this character: daraata bhi hai, hansaata bhi hai , rulata bhi hai…I love my introduction sequence where I am listening to a lady render a thumri in my police station. Right away the audience is intrigued . Gaana sunaane pe paise kam.Wah.”

Ravi is all praise for his director Kiran Rao. “Oh my God, she is such a beautiful soul. So clear about she wants from an actor and yet she gave me all the freedom in the world to interpret my character as I wanted.I give her for credit for tapping my potential.Mera chaunk(tadka) toh rehta hi hai. My eyes, the body language, they all add to my character.I ate 160 paan during the shooting.Thankfully I didn’t get addicted to paan.Kiranji wanted my character to keep eating something. She suggested samosa . I said why not paan? While dubbing I was chewing gum. There wasn’t much dubbing , most of it was lip-sync. We worked in a controlled environment.”

Ravi also enjoyed playing the lawyer Tyagi In the webseries Mamla Legal Hai. “He is so different from Manohar in Laapata Ladies. I loved playing both. Mamla Legal Hai had me cast in a father-son role. Laapata Ladies had me addressing issues as wide-ranging as corruption and women’s empowerment . Manohar in Kiranji’s film is happy being corrupt. But somewhere he has a conscience. He encourages the girl to carry on studying even while he pockets the bribe money. I think most of us are grey rather than black or white.I like playing balanced characters. Thoda bura thoda achcha. Manohar doesn’t suddenly turn into Robin Hood to win brownie points with the audience. He sees that the girl needs a helping hand, so he helps her. Lekin woh suddenly Bhagwan nahin bann jaata.”

The praise for Laapata Ladies has gone to Ravi’s head. “I don’t know what to do. Main kho gaya hoon. I either cry alone with happiness or pray . It took 33 years for people to realize I am worth something.I always used to get one ball and people expected I’d hit a sixer. Now this time I got six balls. Previously it was always like, ‘Raviji, aap aaye hain to aap kar hi lenge’. I was fed up of being taken for granted.I am getting calls left right and centre. I believe production houses are writing stories with prominent characters for me. They want me to finish with the elections and start projects with them.Also Netflix is very happy with me. With Mamla Legal Hai, the big bazaar in the heartland has opened for them.They dropped the series suddenly and it proved a jackpot.

Ravi likes both his roles, as an actor and a politician. “No one helped me to make my place as an actor. No one helped me as a politician either. Whatever I’ve achieved I did it on my own. There is an adage in English, ‘It’s time to pay back.’ I want to make a different to mankind as an actor and a politician.”

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.