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No laughing matter


HE MAY not be the king of comedy nor can he be classified into an archetypal Bollywood comedian, who makes your funny bones tickle. But there is no denying that Satish Shah has the unique ability of reeling off rib-tickling jokes with a deadpan face. His metamorphosis from the telly star of "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" to the silver screen has been gradual.

One meets the gentle giant at an expansive farmhouse at Gurgaon. After playing a small game of cricket, in which he revels in smashing deliveries hurled by unit boys, he sits on the wooden chair and starts puffing Duncan State Express cigarette. He is an incorrigible smoker. And, no, he isn't playing the gentleman's sport because of his co-actor, Ajay Jadeja but because this game of bat and ball excites him. He doesn't go to gym.

On his current movie, Satish Shah says that he is playing the role of a small-time crook who wants to make plenty of money and to accomplish his mission he starts working as a manager in a rich widow's mansion. Her only heir, Ajay Jadeja, after bickering and bad blood, walks out of her -life and she is left to look after her property.

"Who says heroes cannot dabble at comedy? Look at Amitabh Bachchan!" Shah does not like the label of a comedian restricted to a category only. But he has his preferences. He hasn't glossed over the versatile Kishore Kumar's wisecracks. Mahmood not only entertained and brought out loud guffaws but also mesmerised the audience.

He knows a smattering of Bengali but is well versed in Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi.

Interestingly, the serial, "Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi" that made him a household name, he finds it "awfully boring. But it was a black comedy. I don't like to cram lines during shooting," he says. One wishes him good luck as he gets back to business, methodically reading the script and discussing the finer points of the film with the director, Krishna Kumar.

MADHUR TANKHA

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