It perhaps is an ode lacking from the showy expanse of stardom that the adeptness with the lenses and the exerting brains that puts in the fore some really brilliant encapsulations on screen are not lauded in the same breath as the possessor of the histrionics. Mind us right, for directors and filmmakers and cinematographers et al are indeed praised and waxed for their eloquence and artistic sensibilities and that’s indeed what they expect out of their trade. But hardly do we look at a filmmaker with the same rose tinted pair of glasses as we do in our star struck admiration for the actor on screen. That, even when it is indeed the director who is largely responsible for making an actor out of our fancied man or lady, with such panache that the character ceases to be just a figment of imagination, translating instead into someone so real that they continue to render their entertaining impact for times to come.
No wonder then that with such an intimate connect between the performers in front of the camera and the mastery behind it, no single movie is entirely one expert’s wonder. That perhaps explains why it takes a bit of an actor for every director to work his charm in filmaking. While this might be an adage less heard of and lesser pondered over, it does not matter as long as the skill in focus manages to make itself seen. Over the years in countless of movie industries, there have been numerous actors who have also been directors but that breed is a rare type. Perhaps because the technicalities of expertise and the realisation of an art are not strictly overlapping spheres that not all charming faces on screen can be adept workers at the helm of that very showy presence. But there indeed exist souls so naturally blessed and minds so diversely ingrained that they turn out to be the Jack of all all trades and also the master of quite some. And one such versatile persona gracing the Hindi film industry at present manifests himself in an effectively subtle name- a folk we have forever laughed along with, a presence that has us forever in adoration of his unintended yet palpable innocence as well as relived the artistic realisation of the man as helming the affairs of some really well known Bollywood flicks is the delightedly cheerful Satish Kaushik.
In the repertoire of films that have seen this ingenious personality as an actor, it has been Kaushik’s free flowing tryst with humour that have endeared him to the audiences. There’s a certain commonplace conviction in his style of art that renders Satish Kaushik a funnyman so consistently authentic that in spite of his numerous castings in comic roles, there’s hardly any instance when this man might have bored you by being repetitive. Be it as the Calendar of Mr. India or Kunj Bihari of Haseena Maan Jayegi, Kaushik had been brilliant even when his was never the lead role. As a villain funnier than how dangerous he thinks he is, his portrayal of Pappu Pager in Deewana Mastana is what character success in cinematic terms is reminiscent of.
Call it his adherence to such simplistic old world ideals that make him so disarmingly innocent or the exemplary array of talent he possesses, Satish Kaushik has worked out a code only few are truly cognizant of. Even in being a side presence, the man has been subtly dominant in his every appearance- you wouldn’t know that you are missing him on screen till he barges once again into the frame with another of his funny mannerisms. It indeed is to the credit of Satish Kaushik that even with his casting with the most prominent bigwigs of the industry, he did not fail to impress even for once, enacting and reenacting his trademark wisecrack naivety with a glamour so humble that had the audience in splits. It however is also as exemplary a manifestation of his brilliance that Kaushik tickled every funny bone without being too outrageous or disparaging, but delivering every time just the perfect laugh at the perfect moment to etch his name in the memory of all who have ever been party to his display of gifted gaiety.
But all this is only expected from an artist who has to his name the prestigious National School of Drama as his alma mater, not to mention his background in theater that obviously explains the range of diversity Kaushik manages to portray even in his generally typecast role as the funny element in the entirety. Notwithstanding the standing in his whimsy disposition, the actor refused to remain unbounded by his comic continuity and explored realms as diversely as what the casting allowed him to. Even in the face of purported monotonity, Kaushik held his own as an actor first and a comedian later that indeed led him to establish himself as a finer artist.
However while the very mention of Satish Kaushik invariably sets us on for another wacky ride of understated but never in the bit uncalled for amusement, there’s much more to his credibility as a mere actor and an even mere funnyman fooling around. Even in his not very sporadic dealings in film making, what remains a facet lesser known and much lesser expected is that Satish Kaushik started out also as an assistant director. The 1983 film Masoom had been the first project Kaushik worked on, as assistant to the director Shekhar Kapoor. Masoom incidentally was also Kaushik’s debut experience infront of the camera even when his debut directorial venture Roop Ki Rani Choro Ka Raja saw the light of day a decade later in 1993. Over the years, Kaushik has directed some really memorable films like Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Humare Dil Aapke Paas Hain, Tere Naam et al. Notably, even with his unparalleled command over comedy, Satish Kaushik’s most remarkable directorial ventures have spanned emotional and romantic sagas. That itself points to how versatile Kaushik is as a man perceptive of his craft, even when years and years of fixated casting have rarely done justice to his capabilities. It also is a draw on his own adeptability that even almost four decades into acting and Kaushik still remains as relevant as ever in his artistic encompassment, commanding roles and breathing life into characters, courtesy his passionate realisation of the art of cinema and his desire to constantly reinvent and reevaluate himself to the pursuit.
In Satish Kaushik’s extensive legacy, the versatile man enjoys reputation not just as an actor- director, but also as screenwriter and producer. From asserting his hold over dramatics with seamless transition into serious theatrical roles from amusing filmi comic ones, his is an aptitude that is not just gifted but also developed. For indeed you cannot owe it all to talent if you don’t have the resolution to harbour such efforts that will help in furthering your all. Even in his perceived limited ambit in the fray of commercial cinema, Satish Kaushik did not let himself be sidelined, let alone be disillusioned with the seemingly same old portrayals. Rather he worked even in the limited ambit with such resilience that he developed his distinctive style of comedy, instantly creating an identity of his own, that he treasured, worked on and bettered with every single role. It only is serendipitous therefore that there’s this man who so perfectly excelled in every expectation stamped upon him that he made an entire genre his own.
Perhaps because acting is not just expression for Kaushik, it even is cathartic for him. It was his work that helped him tide over the death of his two year old son, as he acted his way out of sorrows. That itself explains how even in his forever jovial enactments, Satish Kaushik isn’t an actor robbed of his other emotions. They remain there at play, perhaps even furthering him into deliberating his humor consciously, for the ironic effect that it does not seem such. That itself is testimony enough to the exemplary artist this man is. For there’s not many who can lead without being pompous and then there’s Satish Kaushik who led hordes into the cinemas without even himself being the starry superstar. In his true artistic spirit, Satish Kaushik is a talent who delivers with his craft more than he does with his name. After all, an actor is as good as the character he owns and in every single display of his impeccable faculties, that’s exactly what this one of a kind man does in total nonchalance and characteristic fashion. Now if that ain’t a true superstar, then who is?