Paresh Rawal

Paresh Rawal plays the counterpart of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in “URI: The Surgical Strikes.” The actor told India-West that the film, like the surgical strike itself, is a stout and befitting reply to people who oppose it. (photo provided)

MUMBAI—Never mind if the name in the film has been changed to Govind Bhardwaj, Paresh Rawal plays the counterpart of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in “URI: The Surgical Strikes,” which has released all over. An ardent supporter of Narendra Modi and his vision for the country, Rawal minces no words in our interview, making it a remarkable political statement.

On how Vivek Oberoi is doing a Modi biopic, so what happened to his:

“We are doing our respective biopics in our ways. Modi is too large a persona to have only one such look at his work. But my film will not take off before the elections.”

On how January 2019 seems to have a surfeit of political films that seem, according to a section of the media, a deliberate pre-election plan:

“Look, in India, somewhere, or the other, elections are going on all the time! We cannot stop working because people may look at things that way, can we?”

About Ajit Doval:

“I have seen him, met him and know a lot about him through what people say, his lectures and clippings. He is an absolutely brilliant man and gutsy as well.”

About “URI” the film, and what happened in 2016:

“It was imperative for a ‘Naya Hindustan’ to hit back, and Modi-ji headed the meeting in which every detail was planned. Our Army had the strength to tackle 26/11 too, but for some reason, the then-government told them not to retaliate. This time, what made the difference was the political will.”

On what he learned that was new after working on “URI”:

“It was the amazing meticulousness of the whole operation! Modi-Ji and Doval were adamant that we lose not a single soldier.”

About people who talk ill of the Uri Surgical Strikes even now:

“This movie, like the surgical strike itself, is a stout and befitting reply to such people, it is like salt being applied on their ‘wounds’! They just want to show their importance, and even more basic, existence! This termite clan always sees evil and the worst of everything, and nothing can be done about them. Like when Modi-Ji went to Nawaz Sharif’s house on his birthday, all of a sudden, trusting him and a country in which anything can happen, they said he had gone just to eat the cake! Why, aren’t cakes made in India?  Did he not go there to build a relationship and extend a hand? What can be a bigger statement?”

On Indo-Pak relations:

“They have been attacking us since 1947! Pakistan is not a country that will improve with a single kick! It is a romantic notion that Pakistan will ever improve!”

On Modi and his detractors:

“Look, Modi-Ji has spent 14 years as Gujarat’s Chief Minister. And there was not a single day when the media did not abuse him. Some people told me that they had learned some new abuses from the headlines! But he never stopped, nor did he issue any threats to such journalists. Modi-Ji also never stopped giving ads to publications that opposed or abused him, which could have killed the revenues of any newspaper. His way of looking at it was ‘Abuse me! If that gives you your rozi-roti (livelihood), I am happy I am contributing to it!’ There was not a single curfew or riot in that period.”

On how he reacts to Naseeruddin Shah and his statement about safety in India:

“The saddest part is that it gives a handle to the wrong people. The Congress says, ‘Aage badho! Hum tumhare saath hain (We are with you)!’ It’s a circus! Did you know that the Award Waapsi stunt some years ago was a copy of something that happened in USA during the Vietnam war?”

On his views on how stone-pelters are sympathized with and the Army tarnished:

“The Indian people know the truth and will give the right answer to such people. Till 1947, we had one army, we now have two, and see what has happened to theirs. We must not push our Army, which is so selfless.”

On what he thinks about Navjot Singh Sidhu returning on a comedy show after abusing the country and being anti-national:

“If Sidhu talks bad about our country, people will spit at him. But I see no reason why we should prevent him from earning his living! But that is the high-point of our culture. We forgive so easily! All I will say is, don’t criticize the country, the army, the institutions. Then my blood boils. Criticize the government. No one will bother.”

On how China should be handled:

“It should be done very slowly and carefully. America could not handle China! Nehru made a cardinal blunder when he gave up India’s seat in the Security Council to China! These are all big blunders about which we cannot do anything now. We have to look ahead!”

On whether he will join politics

“Never! I just support Modi, elections or no elections!”

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