Paresh Rawal

  • Actor, Narrator

May 30, 1950  in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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The man who immortalised characters like Baburao Ganpatrao Apte and Teja in iconic comedies like Andaz Apna Apna (1994) and Hera Pheri (2000), Paresh Rawal is a National Award-winning Indian actor and thespian. Although he is mainly remembered for his comedic roles, it would be unfair to call Rawal a comedian. In the course of a career spanning over three decades, the seasoned actor has essayed a diverse range of roles across various genres of cinema, and has been at ease playing comedic, supporting and negative characters. Some of Rawal`s most memorable performances have come in in movies like Naam (1986), Woh Chokri (1994), Raja (1995), Tamanna (1997), Hungama (2003), Garam Masala, OMG - Oh My God!, and Table No. 21.

Born to a Gujarati family in Mumbai, Paresh Rawal studied at Lion`s Juhu High School, after which he graduated from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, where he represented his college in several intercollegiate drama festivals. After completing his studies, he went on to work with Bank of Baroda before eventually venturing into Bollywood.

Rawal married actress and former Miss India pageant winner Swaroop Sampat in 1987. They have two sons, Anirudh and Aditya. While Anirudh is a theatre artist, Aditya has studied screenwriting at the New York University.

Having established himself as a theater artist, Rawal forayed into the film industry in 1984, making his debut with the Aamir Khan-starrer Holi. Prior to this, he had appeared in an uncredited role in the 1983 romantic drama Souten, which starred Rajesh Khanna, Tina Ambani, and Padmini Kolhapure. Following this, he went on to appear in movies like Lorie (1984) and Bhagwan Dada (1986), eventually rising to prominence with his portrayal of a ruthless smuggler in the 1986 crime thriller Naam.

Rawal then went on to portray negative roles in a number of movies such as Ram Lakhan, Jigar, and Damini, underlining his credentials as a respected character actor. While most of these performances garnered him immense praise and acclaim from the audience and critics alike, Rawal surprised everyone with his comical portrayal of Teja and Ram Gopal Bajaj in Rajkumar Santoshi`s comedy Andaz Apna Apna (1994). Although the movie went largely unnoticed at the time of its release, it has since went on to become a cult classic. His next memorable performance came with the Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Kapoor-starrer 1995 romantic drama Raja, where he played the role of a mentally unstable man. The movie was a commercial success and earned several Filmfare Award nominations that year, while Rawal went on to win the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1997 came one of Rawal`s most memorable roles, that of Hasmukhlal in the drama film Judaai. Playing the role of a curious and rather annoying landlord, the actor was seen sporting a question mark on his forehead as part of his look for the role. His next major role was in sharp contrast to the characters he had played up until that point: in the 1997 Pooja Bhatt starrer Tamanna, Rawal was seen playing the role of a kind-hearted eunuch who becomes the guardian of an orphaned baby girl. His performance in the National Film Award-winning movie won Rawal immense critical acclaim.

In 1999, Rawal was cast alongside Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, Karisma Kapoor and Pooja Batra in the romantic comedy Haseena Maan Jaayegi. The actor used a quirky accent in the film, while playing the role of a Nepali security guard whose obsession with suspense novels makes him slightly paranoid. In the year 2000, Rawal essayed the most iconic role of his career - Baburao Ganpatrao Apte - in the Priyadarshan comedy Hera Pheri. His portrayal cemented his position in the industry, in a way, and also made him one of the most sought after actors. He managed to ace the Marathi accent and his comic timing was beyond words. His performance went on to win him the IIFA, Stardust, and Filmfare Award for Best Comedian that year.

In 2003, the actor added yet another memorable comedic character to his repertoire with his portrayal of Radheshyam Tiwari in Priyadarshan`s Hungama. Acing the accent and mannerisms of his North Indian-born industrialist, his comic timing and camaraderie with his co-stars was the heart and soul of the film. He reunited with the filmmaker for the comedy Garam Masala in 2005, where he played the role of the perpetually annoyed chef Mambo. Having minimal dialogues in the movie, Rawal won the show with his mere facial expressions and body language. He subsequently went on to appear in comedies like Malamaal Weekly and Bhagam Bhag.

Playing a negative role after very long, Rawal was seen in the 2010 political thriller Rann, where he played the role of a wealthy and corrupt politician. The movie also featured Amitabh Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh in pivotal roles, and went on to become a critical success. Returning to comedy, the same year, he was seen in the Konkona Sen Sharma and Ajay Devgn-starrer Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?, where he played the role of an annoying relative who refused to leave his nephew`s house, causing inconvenience to his family.

In 2012, Rawal was seen playing the role of Kanjibhai, an atheist, in the satirical comedy drama OMG - Oh My God!, based on the Gujarati play Kanjee Viruddha Kanjee. Despite sparking controversy due to its sensitive subject matter, the film was a critical and commercial success. The following year, he was seen in the psychological drama mystery thriller Table No. 21. The movie was well-received, though it had a slow start at the box office.

The actor then went on feature in movies like Zila Ghaziabad, Raja Natwarlal, Dharam Sankat Mein, and Welcome Back. In 2017, he was seen in the sequel of Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? titled Guest iin London. Notable among Rawal`s most recent acting credits are the action thriller Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) and the biographical drama Sanju (2018), the latter of which saw him portraying legendary actor Sunil Dutt on screen. His 2019 release includes Made In China, directed by Mikhil Musale. His 2020 release includes Soorarai Pottru.