Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai
Son of veteran film producer and Tips Industries co-founder Kumar Taurani, Girish Kumar will be making his debut opposite Shruti Haasan in Ramaiya Vastavaiya.
A romantic comedy, the film is directed by Prabhu Deva and is set to release on July 19.
When Sonil Dedhia met the young actor in his office in suburban Mumbai, he seemed quite nervous about his first outing in Bollywood. Excerpts from a conversation:
You are making your acting debut in Ramaiya Vastavaiya. Has the feeling sunk in?
I have just started out (smiles). I am finally getting in the groove of a film release. It was a totally different environment when we were shooting for the film. Not a lot of people knew me then. Only the people on the sets knew me. Now that people are seeing my trailers, recognising me it and appreciating my work, it feels nice.
Did you notice any change in the behaviour of the people around you?My family and friends are very happy for me. I am also happy that my work is getting appreciated. So far the response has been very positive.
'I wanted a simple comedy film'
What was more important for your launch vehicle -- roping in the star director or acquiring the rights of the script (the film has been remade from Telugu blockbuster Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, directed by Prabhu Deva himself).
In the initial stages, both the elements were been worked out separately but they got finalised simultaneously. Prabhu Sir (Prabhu Deva) was being signed and the script was being acquired almost at the same time without anybody's knowledge.
The moment we got Prabhu Sir on board, we informed him that we had managed to get the rights of his first Telugu film so he got very excited. Somewhere even he had the thought of remaking it in his mind. He thought that I would fit well in it.
Moreover, I wanted my first film to be such that all kinds of audience could go for it. I didn't want anything bold or sleazy. I wanted a simple comedy film.
Is it true that Tips signed Prabhu Deva three years ago and you trained under him in that time?
Prabhu Sir was signed when he was about to start shooting for Rowdy Rathore. But he was committed to that project. For me, the film started a year and a half ago. My training period lasted a year. He took my screen tests, one for acting and the other for dance. Although he was happy with both, he wanted me to get more comfortable on camera and polish my dancing skills since my character was very outspoken and bubbly.
Did that wait ever frustrate you?Things will only happen when they have to. When I see the film now, I think it was worth the while. I would rather do quality work than rush up on bad films.
'I never had any hang ups of being the producer's son'
How was your first day on the sets?
We started the shoot with the song, Jeene laga hoon. I was nervous as I was finally seeing my dreams of acting coming true. It was half a day shoot and went smoothly.
What was the toughest part of working with Prabhu Deva?
I didn't find anything tough. He was very desciplined with me. I was always willing to follow his instructions and didn't have any hang ups of being the producer's son. I was as much of a struggler as anybody else must've been.
The trailers give a hint of the film being a mix of Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya and Maine Pyar Kiya. Did the similarities strike you too?
If you look at it that way, there a lot of films like that like Bobby, Raja Hindustani and even Titanic where a poor boy meets a rich girl or vice versa and how they fall in love.
Yes, the general aspect of it is similar but this film is character and screenplay driven. So it's different. When you see the film, you would know it isn't like any of the films you and I mentioned.
'My father was very keen that I be launched in the home banner'
Shruti Haasan is reasonably more experienced than you. Did it ever become overwhelming?
No. She is very sweet and professional so she was very comfortable to work with.
Are you, in any way, close to the character you portray?
I think I have become closer to the character after doing it because as an actor you tend to take some qualities of the character you play in your real life too. Now that I have finished shooting, I somewhere miss that character too
Did it help being Kumar Taurani's son?
Getting my first film was not really easy. Just because I am producer Kumar Taurani's son doesn't mean I did not struggle. I had my own share of struggle but not like other newcomers. It must be easy compared to other people but getting into acting was difficult for me in its own right. I did have an opportunity but I had to work towards it to prove to people that I am worth being given that opportunity. I did my training, screen tests and everything that a normal person has to do.
Did you never consider being launched by any other banner?
By the time I could decide or looking out, things started shaping up in my home banner itself. Also, my father was very keen that I should be launched in the home banner.
Was acting always your first option?
Yes, acting was always on my mind. That is the only thing that I wanted to do.
You never thought of becoming a producer?
Producer ka beta kya banega? Ya toh actor, ya producer. I chose acting.
'My biggest fear is the audience not accepting me'
Did you visit the film sets when you were younger?
I went on the sets of Race and Prince. So I did sit behind the camera a lot to get the know-how of filmmaking. I would observe the actor's body language and how they would say the dialogues.
Any actor in the film industry whom you seek inspiration from?
Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan really inspire me. I really like their work.
What is your biggest fear as an actor?
I think biggest fear would be of audience not accepting me. As an actor, you put in a lot to keep the audience entertained and if that doesn't work then there's definitely something wrong.