Ali Asgar talks about the real reason for quitting his comedy show, the possibility of a new show in July, and the special integration episode with Salman Khan with Sunil Grover
Chaya Unnikrishnan (DNA; June 14, 2017)

Ali Asgar is popular for his nani and dadi act in the show hosted by Kapil Sharma. However, ever since the mid-air fracas between Sunil Grover and Kapil, Ali has also been missing from the latter’s show. However, he recently shot for a Tubelight integration episode with Sunil and Co. Ali has also for the first time lent his voice for the Hindi version of Despicable Me 3. Here he talks about his new outing, parting ways with Kapil and his comeback with a new show.

This is probably the fourth time you are shooting with Salman Khan. Are you more at ease with the superstar now?
I feel fortunate and honoured to be part of the Tubelight integration episode. It was a great experience. We are more happy that Salman enjoyed the show. We shot with him for four hours, we didn’t know when it started, when it ended! There’s a feeling of content that we could make Salman laugh. Fortunately, Salman welcomes the characters that I do. And yes, there is a comfort level with him because he is gracious and big-hearted to allow us to go on with the characters and hum woh masti kare with him, play with him and entertain him. At the same time, we also maintain a decorum, and don’t go overboard. The platform is such that there are chances of crossing the line, but we consicously don’t do it. We avoid vulgarity and keep things only slightly naughty.

As nani and dadi you have had a good equation with celebrities...
Yes, as dadi I flirted, hugged and kissed Kapil Dev. The same with other cricketers like Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh or Shikhar Dhawan. God has been kind. When I get into the character, something happens, alag sur lag jata hai. I don’t know what happens. But it is also their large-heartedness that they allow me to do it, which creates a magic by itself.

Was the show with Salman more challenging this time post your exit from Kapil Sharma’s show?
It is challenging every single time. It was an opportunity to shoot with a huge star. We were not conscious about the fact that we were shooting after separating (from Kapil’s show), we didn’t take that pressure or look at it from that angle. All we thought was we have a star of Salman’s calibre with us and how to make it entertaining. We were focussing on entry kaise honi chahiye, we should do this or do that, etc.

When will we see you and Sunil Grover back on TV?
Creatively, discussions are on, but till it is concrete and the shoot happens, I can’t say anything. Many a times a lot of preparations are done, but changes happen on the day of the shoot or on the telecast day. But hopefully, in July something new will start. June mahine mein baarish acchi hogi toh, July mein phasal acchi hogi!

You have never spoken about parting ways with Kapil Sharma.
Whatever happened was bad and I say this with a heavy heart. I parted because I took a creative call — I felt the character of nani was not going anywhere creatively. Since the last eight months, I was feeling there is no scope in this character and I took a bow. I didn’t want the character to die. I have no enmity (with Kapil) or any personal problems. I kept quiet because if I say anything, I don’t how it will be interpreted. I am a non-controversial person and want my work to speak. I was his (Kapil’s) well-wisher, and I will always be.

For the first time you have lent your voice for an animated character in a film. How did that come about?
I got a call from Ashim Samanta asking me if I will do a voiceover for a kids’ animation flick. At that time I didn’t know he was referring to Despicable Me franchise! Only after I auditioned did I realise it is for Gru! I didn’t believe my voice would be selected. That’s because I was speaking in a man’s voice after four years and I was unsure if I will be able to produce it! But Ashim asked me to dub for Gru’s twin brother Dru also. For Gru I spoke in a Punjabi tone and for Dru I chose a Lucknowi accent and kept it a little softer though both these characters are smart alecs.

How many days did it take you to dub?
I did it over a period of seven days. Gru’s voice is grumpy so I would get a sore throat after dubbing for him. More than anything else, I did this for my children — son and daughter — because they don’t welcome me in a female attire. They haven’t been gracious about it from the beginning. That’s why I did Jeannie Aur Juju. Now, that I have done this they will allow me to don a female attire again!