First of many: Khurshed Lawyer revisits Munna Bhai MBBS, in collaboration with Sanjay Dutt


Actor Khurshed Lawyer says he couldn’t hold back his laughter when Sanjay Dutt said the dialogue, “Sab kuch apna samajh, simple underwear ko chhod ke.” Khurshed was referring to the scene in Munna Bhai MBBS (2003) when Dutt first meets his character Nagarajan Swami in their hostel room.

Khurshed, who made his full acting debut with the Rajkumar Hirani-directed blockbuster, reflects on the film and how to work with it Sanjay Dutt busted several myths about the actor.

Khurshed continued to appear in films like Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Double Dhamaal, Pyaare Mohan and The Verdict, apart from TV shows Sasural Genda Phool, Baa Bahu Baby and Sharaarat. He recently returned to acting with The Great Indian Murder where he played a psychiatrist.

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In a chat with indianexpress.com, Khurshed Lawyer reflected on his most memorable role as Swami in Munna Bhai MBBSand how will forever be grateful to Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra for trusting a newcomer like him

Landing Munna Bhai MBBS

I was 27-28 years old when the film came to me. A casting coordinator asked me to audition for this. I went to Raju’s office in Bandra where I tested the “Dola Re Dola” scene, both ragged and scrambled others. After 3-4 months of forgetting about it, I got a call. They asked me to come to Santa Cruz to Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s office and sign up. I thought it was a wrong number because I didn’t even know his office. The man reminded me of that heartbreaking audition. That’s when I realized it was real.

munna bhai mbbs scenes lawyer sanjay dutt swami khurshed Khurshed Lawyer and Sanjay Dutt in a photo by Munna Bhai MBBS.

On his first scene with Sanjay Dutt

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The first time I worked with him was during the inn room scene. I had to keep a straight face and look at him without smiling. I just couldn’t do it. We must have done 10-12 times because I kept laughing every time he said “simple underwear ko chhod ke…” I thought I had to stand still or they would kick me out. Our DOP Vinod Prathan kept yelling at me, and Baba was saying ‘don’t make him nervous’. He then told me to think he wasn’t there, to let him finish his dialogue and then I could run out of the room and do whatever I wanted. I called, and the next move was accepted. The warmth he showed made me so comfortable. After that, I never had a hiccup.

Even the ragging scene was very memorable. When Baba put his hand on my shoulder, I felt elated. When I got on set, someone told me to practice my steps because they thought I had to dance on stage while being ragged. Then they learned that I should be with Baba. Although I begged them to allow me to dance too. It would have been fun!

On his fondest memory of Munna Bhai MBBS

I behaved like that new kid in school who sits quietly because he thinks if he says anything he’ll be kicked out of class. I think everyone except Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Dutt was as good as a rookie or their careers were resurrected by this movie.

Baba was a completely different character at that time, perhaps because of his background. It is like an imposing hell. But he’s such a gentle giant, a beautiful human being. I have such fond memories of him. Despite everything I had heard about him being angry and bad-tempered, I had never experienced any of this.

When he first rose to fame after Munna Bhai MBBS

No one suspected that this film would become so iconic. After the movie was released, I went to watch it with my family at Maratha Mandir. Until the interval, no one knew we were sitting there. It was only later when I went to the washroom that someone noticed me and said, “Arey tu toh Swami hai na? Realization came to me in the toilet. I was at the helm when I got my claim to fame (laughs). Once the movie was over, we couldn’t hang out that long. It was surreal. I have people who message me regularly even today when they watch the movie.

Read also | First of a long list: Gajraj Rao | Vivek Oberoi | Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyoub | Rajpal Yadav | Rajeev Khandelwal | Govind Namdev | Neena Gupta | Pankaj Tripathi | Satish Kaushik | Mohit Raina | Shahid Kapoor | Anang Desai | Jimmy Shergil | Taboo | Chhaya hard | Gaurav Gera | Saurabh Shukla | Deepak Dobriyal | Seema Pahwa | Annup Sonii | Sayantani Ghosh | Annu Kapoor | Ajay Devgn | Vishal Malhotra | Rahul Khanna | Ashutosh Rana | Jaaved Jaaferi | Ashwath Bhat | Varun Badola | Renuka Shahane | Taapsee Pannu | Manoj Bajpayee | Milind Soman | Rajkummar Rao | Akilendra Mishra | Rohit Roy | Suchitra Pillai | Gulshan Grover | Abhay Deol | Ashwini Kalsekar | Adil Hussein | Shweta Tiwari | Purab Kohli | Mita Vasisht | Vipin Sharma | Divya Dutta | Jaideep Ahlawat | Archana Puran Singh | Daya Shankar Pandei | Hina Khan | Rajesh Tailang | Urvashi Dholakia | Manish Chaudhari | Sheeba Chadha | Karanvir Bohra | Bhairavi Raichura | Pratik Gandhi | Konkona Sen Sharma | Gurmeet Choudhary | Lakshmi Manchu | Zakir Hussein | Nimrat Kaour | Hiten Tejwani | Ayesha Raza Mishra | Ali Fazal | Riya Sen | Rakesh Bedi | Samir Kochar | Shekhar Souman | Piyush Mishra | Neelu Vaghela | Sumeet Vyas | Ayub Khan | Cyrus Sahukar | Vindu Dara Singh | Karan Singh Grover | Amrita Puri | Arjun Mathur | Natasha Rastogui | Yaspal Sharma | Rimi Sen | Vaishnavi MacDonald | Arjun Bijlani | Kritika Karma | Vikas Kumar | Delnaaz Irani | Sharib Hashmi | Jugal Hansraj | Sanjay Mishra | Sushant Singh | Sarika Singh | Darshan Kumar | Manoj Pahwa | Sharad Kelkar | Treasure of Shenaz

On his relationships with the cast and crew after the film’s release

We had a very good relationship. Unfortunately, I didn’t work with Raju again because when he approached me for the second part (Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 2006), I couldn’t. 3 Idiots also arrived at the same time as Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. With Baba, I did Double Dhamaal and some commercials. He has always loved me very much and watches over me if he learns that I am also part of the project.



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