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The other Paintal

After enacting the powerful role of Shakuni in B.R. Chopra's "Mahabharat", Gufi Paintal features in yet another larger-than-life role on Doordarshan, in "Raaz... Ki Ek Baatt". SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY speaks to the veteran.

Photo: R.V. Moorthy

From mythology to supernatural... Gufi Paintal in New Delhi.

IF YOU happen to make the blunder of chatting with one Paintal as the other, you must not be blamed for it really. Because, the brothers now look almost the same. With age, those lines marking physical dissimilarities have faded. In their smiles, their sibling bond is so unmistakably sealed.

Grins elder brother Gufi Paintal when he is told so, "It has happened with me quite a few times. I am often asked about the comic roles my brother Paintal has so superbly done in Hindi films." While younger brother Paintal is warmly remembered by yesteryear's movie buffs for some incredible comic takes as in Satte Pe Satta, Rafu Chakkar, Shaadi Ke Baad et al, Gufi, older to Paintal by four years, is so starkly imprinted in our minds as `Shakuni mama' in B.R. Chopra's mega serial Mahabharat even years after it went off the air on Doordarshan.

"That role was undeniably my very best. While discussing the role with B.R. Chopra, I mentioned that my father used to tell us from our childhood that if a man is evil, it shows in the person. It could be that his eyes look it, or his fingers, anything. My father also used to tell us that if a man is physically disabled he has to be superbly able in some mental field. So, I suggested to Chopra saab that Shakuni should be lame, to justify his mental sharpness," relates Gufi. And with all of us as witness, the actor pulled it off so well on screen. "The character also had streaks of the famous Shakespearean character Metcalfe," he adds on second thoughts.

Mahamuni's role

Now after over a decade, Gufi is back on Doordarshan in yet another larger-than-life role, as "Mahaguru, who lives in the jungle, reads the stars, protects the world; he who sees a dream that Satan is entering the world as a child in the womb of a woman."

And if being lame was his USP as Shakuni in Mahabharat, in this role in Raaz... Ki Ek Baatt, which started on the small screen this past Sunday, he dons a dishevelled look, with disorderly hair, unruly beard and a compelling voice that fears the unknown.

"It is a character with a strong supernatural side to it. But what is important is, it is a positive role," says the versatile actor who was in New Delhi recently for the promotion of this Unitech IPTV soap. The serial is beamed on Doordarshan's National Network on Sundays and Mondays between 9 and 9.30 p.m. and features some familiar faces like Jaya Bhattacharya, Ravi Kishen and Vaishali Saini.

At present, working in three more serials across Zee TV, Doordarshan and Sabe TV, Gufi also has two films, Koi Mere Dil Mein Hain and Ram Gopal Varma's D.

"Now, actors like us get less opportunities to be on screen. So, it feels good when something nice and challenging falls in our lap," he says.

You can't help but agree with him.

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