Shyam Benegal gives Yashpal his due


By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Nov 13 (IANS) Bored of playing baddies and unhappy with Bollywood's second-hand treatment, actor Yashpal Sharma, who was seen in "Lagaan", "GangaaJal" and "Apaharan", embarks on a new journey with Shyam Benegal's "Chamki".

"I play the protagonist's husband. It's a superb script! Apart from Prakash Jha and a few directors I'm not happy with the way Bollywood treats me," Yashpal told IANS.

"I'm given neither proper money nor the kind of roles I deserve. In fact, for Prakash's 'Apaharan', both Nana Patekar and I had been nominated in the same category for a popular award. That felt good. But I feel ill treated and underused. Maybe it's time for me to be taken more seriously now," he added.He admits he hasn't been chasing up roles too hard. "The good roles come my way, but mostly in the offbeat circuit. "

Yashpal played key roles in Jahnu Barua and Paresh Kamdar's films too.

"In Barua's 'Chasing Butterflies' I play the main lead. I play a reformed terrorist who has lost his limb. It's the story of my relationship with a child. I keep remembering what happened to Balraj Sahni in 'Kabulliwallah' and Pran in 'Nanha Farishta' where they shared screen space with a child actor. I hope something similar happens to me."

But the film that Yashpal hopes would do the turning trick for him is Paresh Kamdar's "Johnny Johnny Yes Papa".

"I share the main lead with a child. I can't tell you how beautiful the film is. It'll remind audiences of films like Vittorio De Sica's 'Bicycle Thieves' and Roberto Benigni's 'Life Is Beautiful'. I'm hoping to make the switchover to more substantial roles with the film."

Yashpal shares the limelight with little Amit Pandit, who played Hrithik's friend in "Koi...Mil Gaya".

"It's the kind of film that will make or break me. I'm very proud to be associated with it. I'm sick of playing the villain. But what to do? I can only do what I'm offered."

In Sushen Bhatnagar's "Trisha", Yashpal plays the lead opposite Divya Dutta.