SATISH SUNDARESAN catches up with Rakul Preet for an exclusive interview, wherein she speaks all about his upcoming film, Aiyaari amongst other things
The ever cheerful Rakul Preet is a perfect combination of good looks and talent. After having participated in the Miss India competition, she went onto take the proverbial plunge into the world of films. Much before she made her debut in Bollywood in the Gen-Next love story Yaariyan, she was already a big name in the southern film industry. These days, the gorgeous Rakul Preet is on cloud nine and she has every reason to be there. Her much awaited film Aiyaari is on its way to be released this month. The film is extremely special to her as it stars a ‘constellation of superstars’ in the form of performance veterans like Manoj Bajpayee, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher. Having been paired opposite the hunky Sidharth Malhotra, Rakul Preet has pinned all her hopes on this film. Excerpts from the interview:
How does it feel to be the lady of the moment?
I am feeling very great. I am very happy and delighted with the response that the film’s trailer has generated. Unfortunately, with the to and fro about the release date of Aiyaari, there had been a delay in the film’s release. Now that all the things are sorted out, all of us are very excited as we have a great film on hand in the form of Aiyaari.
How would you describe Aiyaari?
The film can be described as a ‘portfolio of the best talents in the country’.
What all have been your Aiyaari ki tayyari?
Aiyaari ki tayyari? (thinks for a while). Well, my Aiyaari ki tayyari had not been too much as I am not playing a role that required too much of action. I play a software engineer in the film. So my taiyaari was more about unlearning everything that I knew before, as I was working with Neeraj sir. The characters of his film should be like a clean slate and be in a position to absorb everything which is being told about. One must simply grasp what Neeraj Pandey sir has to offer, because his way of shooting a film is very different from a lot of other film makers. My tayyari was basically to unlearn everything and surrender myself to Neeraj Pandey sir’s vision to be able to extract the best out of us.
Did you happen to Aiyaari or did Aiyaari happen to you?
I think both happened to each other. That’s why I am in the film! (laughs).
Is it true that you had given your first ever audition to Neeraj Pandey, even before Yaariyaan happened?
Yes, very much. After I shifted my base to Mumbai, I got a call from a casting director asking me to audition for Neeraj Pandey’s film. While that film did not happen, a few years later, I was offered MS Dhoni’s biopic, wherein I was to play Disha Patani’s role. Sadly, I missed out on the film due to the unavailability of dates. Post that, I got a call from the casting director for Aiyaari. The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us a bit about your character in Aiyaari.
Besides being Sidharth Malhotra’s love interest, I play the role of a computer hacker. At this moment, all that I can tell you is that my character forms an integral part of the film.
Looking back, did you have a crush on him like a zillion plus girls post the release of Student Of The Year?
Sid won’t like this… But, I have never been a starstruck person (laughs). But I have always admired everyone’s work.
How was the experience of working with Neeraj Pandey, Manoj Bajpayee, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher?
The one word that sums it all is ‘AMAZING’. When you work with someone extremely talented as them, even your own performance doubles up by volumes!
You have worked with many directors. How different is Neeraj Pandey?
Every director has his or her own style of filmmaking. As far as Neeraj sir is concerned, he does his homework extremely well. He gives you the freedom to experiment within the boundaries of character. At the same time, he does not like any kind of over the top drama.
There were uncertainties regarding the release date of Aiyaari. What was the issue?
As Aiyaari is an army film, it was initially supposed to be released on 25 January. Then, Padmavat happened. Post that, our film and PadMan shifted our dates to February 9. Then, unfortunately, there were some delay in the censor board clearance of Aiyaari, which we have received now. We all are now geared up for the release of our film, which is on 16th February. I guess whatever happens, happens for a reason.
After Aiyaari, what next?
I have already started shooting for my next Hindi film, which is with Ajay Devgn and Tabu. The film is being directed by Akib Ali. The film is a typical rom-com. In the same breath, let me add that this is one film which has extremely well written characters. Besides that, I am also doing a film with Suriya and Karthi each in the south.
Three reasons why audience should watch Aiyaari?
Firstly, because it is a Neraj Pandey film and he has never disappointed you in the past. Secondly, it has got an amazing starcast. It is not every day that you get to see a film of this stature with powerhouses of talents being seen together in one single frame. Thirdly, the film has me and Sidharth Malhotra (smiles).
Aiyaari is an edge of the seat thriller. Is this the first time that you are acting in a thriller?
No. Earlier, I had done a thriller called Dhruva with Ram Charan in the south. The film did really well at the Box-Office. I think people are wanting this film to be remade in Hindi.