Once a famous star and a renown name in Bollywood, Lilliput is now living his life in full of misery and poverty. Lilliput was the first dwarf who dared to try his luck in the glamorous television industry. He isn’t just an excellent actor but also a brilliant writer and the proof of his clever humor is 90s famous show ‘Dekh Bhai Dekh’.
The veteran actor, Lilliput Aka M.M. Faruqui while talking to Mumbai Mirror, recalled the time when he first came to the city of dreams, Mumbai and started giving auditions:
“When I arrived in Mumbai in December 1975, I was the first dwarf actor here and decided to make a brand of myself. I thought in a big industry like Bollywood a dwarf can find lots of fun roles to play so I christened myself Lilliput and began to audition.”
The actor talked about the double standards of the industry and how his height became the reason for directors and producers to neglect him. The last five years have been nightmarish for Dekh Bhai Dekh writer-actor Lilliput.
The actor admitted that he is under debts and no one is ready to give him any work just because they can’t look beyond his height.
“For the last one year, I have been making the rounds of producers’ offices with two scripts. Some say, ‘Dekhenge, sochenge,’ while others are blunt, ‘Baune uthke chale aate hain director banne.”
Lilliput in his interview expressed the hypocrisy of the so-called glamorous industry where the talent of a person is judged by his height. Recalling how an assistant director, who is a big name today, warned him that the film industry would never look beyond his height, Lilliput said:
In hindsight, I realise he was right.
He further added:
But the Hindi film industry lets the length of a man’s legs define his capability. It doesn’t understand that a man doesn’t think with his feet.
Condemning the bias of the film industry towards his height, the actor admitted that he has been exploited by many directors and producers. His payments have been delayed and many a time he was paid less than what he agreed upon. The actor/writer revealed that it was writer-producer Anand Mahendroo who encouraged him to write dialogue for the 1992 Shah Rukh Khan starer, ‘Chamatkar’, and the popular sitcom, Dekh Bhai Dekh.
Praising popular director Subash Ghai for giving his a villain’s role with Amitabh Bachchan, Faruqui said:
“The film never took off but Subhashji still recommends me to friends. No other director saw me the way he did.”
Talking about the award-winning actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister in ‘Game of Thrones’, Lilliput expressed that west is generalizing when it comes to dwarfs. He feels that dwarfs are also treated just like normal humans there.
“I see that better roles keep coming his way in Hollywood while India still can’t understand that a dwarf can fall in love, fight, travel and even play mindgames. Here, a dwarf is a lesser human being because of his height. Every day I feel wasted as an artiste and that’s my biggest regret.”
Lilliput takes up whatever offers that comes on his way. His elder daughter is the breadwinner of their family. Revealing more about the industry, Faruqui made this clear that you can never make friends in there.
He even said that there are many people in the industry who know him and none of them are his friends.
“And if you are not a part of that world, you are not a part of the industry. Yahaan dost kahan hote hain, yahaan vyaapar-wale mitr hote hai.”
It’s sad to see a talented actor/writer living such life. It not the height but the talent that should speak. Faruqui has proved himself as a brilliant actor and a writer. Now, it’s the industry’s turn to give him back what he deserves.