As people from different walks of life mourn the comedian-actor-politician’s death, NGGOSSIPS looks back at the time when the then-unknown artiste took up small roles in films, including a couple of blockbusters, where his presence was almost missed. All this was years before he made his mark on India’s entertainment canvas with his body of work that spans stand-up comedy and television gigs.
Tezaab (1988): It’s this Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit-starrer film in which Srivastava played the character of an extra. He, however, went unnoticed in the film, which boasted of a huge star cast. But the future ‘King of Comedy’ hung in there and soon got his second film which was released the following year.
Maine Pyar Kiya (1989): Srivastava then featured in ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ which was Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s debut as a lead. He played the role of Shambhu, a truck cleaner, who’s an accomplice of the driver who beats up Salman in the film. Although a small role yet again, Srivastava impressed the audience with his comic timing and rural accent of the English that he aspires to speak in.
Baazigar (1993): Srivastava had to wait for four years until his next release, ‘Baazigar’, which featured the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, in an anti-hero avatar. In the film, directed by the duo Abbas-Mustan, Raju played the role of a college student.
Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya (2001): In 1994, Srivastava became a regular on Doordarshan’s ‘Tea Time Manoranjan’ and later in the sci-fi show ‘Shaktimaan’. From there on, he straddled films and television, and his next role in films came in 2001 in the Govinda and Juhi Chawla-starrer ‘Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya’, where he played a character called Baba Chin Chin Choo.
Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon (2004): Srivastava then went on to work in the Kareen Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan multi-starrer ‘Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon’. Here as well, he brought comic relief in the narrative with his antics, dialogue delivery and timing as he played the character of Kareena’s house help – Shambhu.
Journey Bombay to Goa: Laughter Unlimited (2007): After tasting success with the television show, ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’, Raju went on to star with his fellow comedians on the show — Sunil Pal, Aasif Sheikh and Ahsaan Qureshi — in the road film ‘Journey Bombay to Goa: Laughter Unlimited’. The film also starred Vijay Raaz, Asrani and Tinnu Anand. Srivastava played the role of Anthony Gonsalves in the film, which turned out to be an average grosser.
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