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'Kangana can be funny when you get to know her'

By ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA
May 30, 2022 09:32 IST
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'I admire the discipline with which she trained for the action scenes.'
'I admire her for the dedication with which she managed to lose all the weight she had put on for Thalaivi, physically transforming herself before coming into this film.'

IMAGE: Arjun Rampal with Kangana Ranaut. Photograph: Kind courtesy Arjun Rampal/Instagram

Arjun Rampal finds his Dhaakad co-star Kangana Ranaut "very different"

He's probably among the few in Bollywood who remains her friend.

In the concluding segment of an interesting interview with Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya, Arjun says, "When we met and sat on the script, it was nice to see how much she had evolved. I think it was nice for her too to see how much I had evolved."

I remember your Dhaakad co-star, Kangana Ranaut, and you celebrated together when you won your respective National Awards, she for Fashion and you for Rock On!!

Kangana and I have known each other for a while and winning the National Award was a big moment in both our careers.

So after the ceremony, we went to Lap, the pub I owned in Delhi at the time, and celebrated together.

It was fun!

Later, we met at parties and events, even did a very different film together in Thailand, called Rascals.

We lost touch for a bit, but in the middle, I called her for a film I wanted to do, in which she had a kind of a double role.

I've always found her very different and unique.

She can be quite lighthearted and funny when you get to know her.

What was it like collaborating with her again in a film that pitted her against you?

When they told me Kangana was doing Dhaakad, I thought it was very good casting because as an actor, Kangana gives it her all.

I admire the discipline with which she trained for the action scenes.

I admire her for the dedication with which she managed to lose all the weight she had put on for Thalaivi, physically transforming herself before coming into this film.

When we met and sat on the script, it was nice to see how much she had evolved.

I think it was nice for her too to see how much I had evolved.

As a result, we were both contributing towards not just our own, but other people's characters, saying "This person should be doing this, Kangana should be saying this, Arjun needs to be in this scene...'

It came out naturally, organically and unanimously, and for me, there's a lot of comfort when you are working with an actor who looks at the project as a whole and works towards that more just focusing on themselves.

IMAGE: Arjun Rampal in Dhaakad.

At a time when OTT is booming and films are looking for different content, aren't you looking to make a comeback as a producer after the Arun Gawli biopic Daddy?

That's very much on the cards.

I've been working on a few scripts and they are ready now.

Production is an organic step for any actor, particularly one who likes to tell stories, focusing on what kind of subjects to exploit, imbibe and bring to the screen.

Ever wanted to direct?

I would like to direct a film for sure, before I lose interest.

I am looking for the right subject.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Arjun Rampal/Instagram

When is The Rapist, which chronicles the journey of three protagonists whose lives are interlaced because of one horrific incident, releasing in India?
It won the prestigious Kim Jiseok Award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2021.

The Rapist has been written and directed by Aparna Sen, who is a phenomenal film-maker and is currently doing the rounds of film festivals, winning accolades wherever it is screened.

Once it has done these festival rounds, you will see it on the OTT platform.

You are set to make your Telugu film debut with Hari Hara Veera Mallu, a period action film, set against the backdrop of the Mughal empire, with Pawan Kalyan in the lead. You are reportedly playing Aurangzeb?

I can't tell you much about this Pawan Kalyanji film, written and directed by Krish, or my character because it is still to be formally announced by the producer.

All I can say is that it's a massive film which I signed before the pandemic, long before the mega success of Pushpa, RRR and KGF 2.

I was intrigued to see how they make films down South, scale up their production to such phenomenal levels.

We are in the process of shooting it right now and there's such discipline on the set. I'm very excited.

IMAGE: With partner Gabriella Demetriades and son Arik. Photograph: Kind courtesy Arjun Rampal/Instagram

I've always wondered that when you play a character as vicious as Rudraveer in Dhaakad, one so far removed from the person you are, do you carry the baggage home after 'Pack-up' or do you try and cleanse yourself of all the negativity before returning to your family, your young son in particular?

Yes, Rudraveer is a very dark character and the only way to make him look real, was to feel those emotions.

Of course, there's that switch you turn off before going home, but you're right, some residue of such characters linger on in your subconscious.

Sometimes even the makeup doesn't come off completely and you return with kohl in your eyes. In this case, there were those tattoos on my body and the back stories I had created playing in my head.

That's why, when we were shooting in India, I had my daughters, Mahikaa and Myra, with me, along with Gabriella (Demetriades) and our son Arik.

I could come back to my lovely family at the end of the day, telling myself, 'Thank God I am not him!'

This way, I would leave Rudraveer at the door, not carry him further into the room with me.

Every character teaches you a lot, this one taught me what not to be and what not to do.

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ROSHMILA BHATTACHARYA