Kishore Bhanushali : I Lost Many Acting Opportunities Because of Being Dev Anand’s look-alike

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Kishore Bhanushali reveals, “I lost many acting opportunities because of being Dev Anand’s look-alike.”

Kishore Bhanushali, who plays Commissioner Resham Pal Singh in &TV‘s popular shows Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai and Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, has played various comical roles in his three-decade-long-acting career. The actor is widely known as a doppelganger of the legendary Dev Anand. He has consistently delivered a flawless performance and won the audience’s heart on-screen and on stage with his stand-up comedies. In a candid interview with us, the actor discusses the ups and downs of his journey. 

Have you always wanted to work as an actor?

I never intended to pursue a career in acting. I believe I was born to run my small family business. But when I was young, I remember one boy telling me that I looked like Dev Anand. I had no idea who he was because, at the time, we only knew Rajesh Khanna Ji as a superstar. Then, out of curiosity, I watched one of his films, Yeh Gulistan Hamara, for the first time I saw Dev Anand. I remember I saw that film during my school vacation, and then I went on to see Jewel Thief, and I gradually realised that yes, I do resemble him. Then I began imitating him standing in front of the mirror, and now it’s been 50 years that my name has been linked to his name, and people know me as Dev Anand’s doppelganger.

Did your resemblance to Dev Anand help you break into the entertainment industry?

No, I had to struggle to get work. Many people will not believe it, but I had to pass on many acting opportunities because of being a look-alike of Dev Sahab. But I never gave up on trying. I always believed that where there is a will, there is a way. So, I never stopped, and slowly things turned out in my favour.

When was the first time you met Dev Anand?

I was very young when I first met Dev Anand Sir and told him about my interest in acting, and he advised me to first complete my studies before I entered this world. My love for him and my passion for acting kept me going. Today I perform a three-hour stand-up comedy show called “Kishore ki Awaaz Dev ka Andaaz,” in which, along with doing comedy, I also sing. I have been in show business for over three decades now, and, thanks to Dev Ji, I managed to make a name for myself.

How do you look at your journey in Bollywood?

My journey in Bollywood has been filled with ups and downs. During the 1980s, I did many dance recordings impersonating Dev Anand, earning between one and two rupees daily. However, my family opposed my acting career, so they married me and forced me to run our small family business. I dedicated myself to my family business for nearly two to three years, but I was unhappy. One day, actor Mohan Joshi Sir approached me and asked me to do a show impersonating Dev Anand. After that, I received an offer to work with him in Pagalkhana, and while shooting, Raza Murad Ji noticed me and suggested that he increase my screen presence, and thus my journey began.  Later, Adi Irani recommended me to his brother Indra Irani Ji, who was working on the film ‘Dil’ with Amir Khan and Madhuri. He invited me to meet him at the Parsi house, now known as the famous Mannat (Shah Rukh Khan house). I was cast in a crowd sequence on the first day, but I was happy that after years of struggle, I had the opportunity to work in a film. I did something very amusing inside the crowd while giving a shot, which impressed Indra sir, and the next day he allowed me to share the screen with Anupam Kher Ji, which I did in a single shot, making Amir Khan and others impressed. Indra sir cast me as a supporting actor throughout the film, for which I received an award from BR Chopra sir. I have been acting, singing, and doing stand-up comedy since that day, and I intend to keep doing it.

How did you get into Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai?

My journey with Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai started because of Aasif Sheikh, whom I have known for many years and a dear friend.   He introduced me to Shashank Bali, the show’s director, for various roles in the show. Shashank Ji immediately cast me to play Anita Bhabi’s uncle for one day, and then I got a call to play the commissioner, Resham Pal Singh, in the show. Post that, I also got cast in Happu Ki Ultan Paltan in 2019. And now I am doing two shows playing a similar character, and I am grateful.

Did you ever think your character of Commissioner Resham Pal Singh would run for this long?

I wasn’t convinced when I was asked to take on the commissioner role. But they invited me to come in for a look test, and when I arrived, the creative team gave me a full makeover, along with a fake beard and wig. They sent my photos to the channel, but they were also not convinced by my appearance, however, and asked for changes because they thought it was not funny. The creative team made the changes, and the channel loved my final look. However, as time passed, I grew to like my character and received positive feedback from my fans. And, yes, it is extremely rare for any actor to play the same character in two shows. I find myself extremely lucky. 

While you work to entertain others, how do you like to keep yourself entertained?

Whenever I get time, I spend that time with Aasif Ji, Rohitashv, and Yogesh, chit-chatting about our shows and theatre days. While practising the scenes, we often make jokes about our past experiences. I am a singer too, so whenever I get a chance, I create a “Mahol” and entertain everybody by singing in Kishore Da’s, Mohammed Rafi’s, and RD Burman’s voices.

Any dream job you have?

One of my life’s biggest dreams is to work with directors like Priyadarshini, Mani Ratnam, and Ram Gopal Verma one day.

Watch Kishore Bhanushali as Commissioner Resham Pal Singh in &TV’s Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai and Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, airing every Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 10:30 PM!