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“In fact, it was reverse nepotism for me. My son got me in,” Gujjubhai fame Siddharth Randeria opens up about Gujarati Cinema, Theatre, Nepotism and More

By : Harshita Dagha

The evergreen symbol of Dhollywood, Siddharth Randeria shows no signs of stopping. From the stage to the big screen to everywhere in between, Siddharth Randeria’s dedication and contribution to the world of Gujarati acting is too massive to squeeze into one paragraph and his accolades could easily fill a book. Today, Pop Diaries sits down with the living legend himself.

Tens of Thousands of Shows—No Big Deal

Siddharth Randeria has been on stage since the 1970s. He started from intercollegiate performances and moves on to amateur theatre that was connected to international groups. Ever since his debut, he has crossed over 12,000 live performances. Does all of this ever get tiresome?

Not to this powerhouse of a man, who quickly drew an analogy between theatre and cricket. “Do you ever hear Sachin Tendulkar saying it’s enough, played for two hours, let me go retire? It’s the same with theatre. I do multiple shows over many, many days but it’s never tiring.” What’s the secret then? “The audience, definitely. You never get tired of doing what you love. My two performances can’t be identical. I try to grow with each performance. I consciously improve my performance so it doesn’t become monotonous,” he told Pop Diaries.

From Father to Son

Siddharth Randeria comes from a theatre family. His father, Madhukar Randeria was a stage actor. And his son, Ishaan Randeria, followed but took up direction. In fact, Siddharth Randeria made his official film debut in 2015 under the direction of his son. “I’ve never forced him. Gujju Bhai the Great was our first collaboration together,” he says, “He has learned the art of direction, the technical parts, which I don’t know anything about!”

Gujju Bhai the Great would be followed by the equally-hit sequel GujjuBhai Most Wanted, so it’s safe to say this father-son duo is unstoppable and we can’t wait to see more of it.

He admits that theres not much nepotism in Gujarati cinema since the stakes are not that high. In fact he admits it was “reverse nepotism” for him because it was his son who got him into films from theatre.

All Roads Lead to Bollywood—Or Not

A recent Dada Saheb Phalke award and his last movie Chaal Jeevi Laiye! is breaking all sorts of records. What could possibly be next? Could it be Bollywood? He says, “Not really. This is my comfort level.” He, however, is not averse to it: “But everyone would be open to a good offer.”

In the same breath, he does value the rise of OTTs: “It’s the new sunrise. Here, you have the opportunity to be different. The star factor is not important, that barrier is gone. OTT is looking for fresh talent, fresh faces.”

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