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This article was first published 12 years ago

Hate movie stars? Arjun Rampal wants you on his show!

Last updated on: November 18, 2011 16:36 IST

Image: Arjun Rampal
Photographs: Courtesy Edelman India Rajul Hegde in Mumbai

Arjun Rampal will make his television debut this Sunday, with his new show Love 2 Hate U, on Star World. The concept of the show is quite new to India.

The channel has auditioned commentators of blogs and social networking sites who have criticised celebrities, and will bring the short-listed ones face-to-face with the celebrities they dislike.

In the first episode, Rampal confronts his own hater, Farhan, a young comedian-writer who compares Rampal to a piece of furniture and cracks jokes on his acting ability in films such as Moksh, Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat and Rock On!!. By the end of the episode, Farhan sees a different side of Rampal.

Celebrities expected on the show are Madhur Bhandarkar, Farah Khan, Chetan Bhagat, Farhan Akhtar, Shah Rukh Khan, and Priyanka Chopra.

Rampal explains the concept behind the show. .

'My hater was a tiger in front of the camera and very different in front of me'

Image: Arjun Rampal

What attracted you to this show?

The unique concept excited me. Today's youth love to hate, as one sees on social networking sites. That's the easiest way to grab attention.

So, when the hater meets the celebrity he/she hates, they both get to know unrevealed aspects of each other and the hater decides if he still feels negatively about the celeb. Criticism is good as long as it's constructive. We are looking for 'haters' with credibility.

Do you think half an hour is enough to change the perception?

Half an hour is tough, it really depends on the credibility of the hater. Some of them really don't have that credibility, to change the perception and make them understand.

For instance, my hater, Farhan was a tiger in front of the camera and very different in front of me. Sometimes it becomes boring and monotonous if there is no strong point of view from the hater.

'Negative criticism is a major turn off'

Image: Arjun Rampal

Did you get irritated with Farhan?

It wasn't irritating because we take it all with a pinch of salt. It's easy to bring somebody down and difficult to be a contributor. That shows the weakness of the person.

I asked him what was the credibility of what he was trying to say, and he replied that I was good in Rajneeti and Om Shanti Om. What do I tell him? Whatever he is doing is for effect. If there was any truth in it, then may be I would have been hurt, but there is no truth in it.

I have realised that when the criticism is genuine, people actually like to listen and improve. But when it is obviously negative, it can be a major turn off. In 15 minutes, I have shown where that man stands.
Does criticism hurt you?

If criticism hurts me, I pick up the phone and talk to that person, that is, if I know there is some truth in it. Only the truth hurts. I am too thick skinned for random criticism to hurt because we are kind of conditioned to that (smiles).

'I thought i was too stiff in Moksh'

Image: Arjun Rampal
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

Is there a particular blogger that you don't like?

I am eager to meet this hater who uses his twitter handle 'bollywoodgau'. This guy is unbelievable and now I have dared him to come on the show if he has the bs. 

It's easy to criticise but if you come forth, your credibility disappears.
Do you remember the harshest feedback you have got?

Many years ago, someone must have decided that models couldn't act and that they were wooden. People made that opinion about me too fast. Now times have changed. I have even received a National Award, but people are stuck with certain notions.

Even Farhan (his hater on the show) said the same thing. One journalist must have written that and everybody followed it and it is eight years now but this young Farhan is still using those lines. He can at least be a little more original. I gave him a few original Arjun Rampal jokes (laughs).
When I first watched the rushes of Moksh (his first film) I didn't like myself; I thought I was too stiff.  The medium is the same but the art form is different. When I tried to analyse it, I realised that every time I heard the sound of the camera I was reacting like a model, it was a reflex action. So, I decided to stop modelling, but I didn't know that my movies will take seven years to get me here (smiles).

I didn't pick up a single modelling assignment after that and I stuck with what I wanted to do. Now I am most comfortable and happiest when I am doing a film, playing the character that I really want to do.

'I was petrified to do a negative role in Om Shanti Om'

Image: Arjun Rampal

How did you deal with criticism?

It's fine. True talent is in the choices you make. When the character is challenging and has so many levels to bring out, you should take a chance and do it.

When I was offered Om Shanti Om, SRK was clear that I must do that part but I was petrified because it was negative. Also I feared that I might look like a caricature with grey hair, but he assured me they will handle that part. After working on it, I realised that there is so much of creativity involved.

When you start working with different people you start growing and there is an abundance of growth for an actor today. If I am not open to criticism and negative thoughts then I will be stereotyped and will have a short shelf life. I think you should keep reinventing yourself.
Who do you dislike? Have you confronted the person and changed your opinion?

There are many in the industry but I don't want to name them. Actually, they are very good friends of mine now. But when I met actors when I first came into this industry I had a different opinion about them, may be because they didn't say 'hi' to me or walked past or were little cold.

You have a perception that this guy has an attitude problem with you, you cook up stories in your own head. It happens with everyone, but it's wrong. This is exactly what we are going to show. The idea of the show is not to stop at bringing celebrities face-to-face with their most feared haters, but also to bridge the gap between the two, bringing the hate-quotient down.

'I don't need to waste my energy on people I dislike'

Image: Arjun Rampal

If you don't like a person or his work, how would you tell him?

I don't need to waste my energy on persons I dislike. If it's the work of someone who doesn't matter to me then I don't comment, out of sheer decency, because he is a creative person.

If a person asked me directly to my face to give an honest opinion, then I would tell the truth, give the reason why I didn't like it, at the risk of never speaking to that person again.
It's your debut as host on television.  Did you do any kind of home work?

It's a tough format -- no script, no fixed set, different locations -- but that makes it interesting. So the whole team does lots of research before the show.
Have you taken any tips from Karan Johar, Simi Garewal or Farah Khan?

No. The format of their shows is completely different.

'I'm really nervous about the show'

Image: Arjun Rampal

Your favourite TV show hosts?

Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and even Preity Zinta.
Are you open to hosting more shows on TV?

Actually, I am very nervous. I don't know how the show will be accepted by the real audience who watch it. People who have watched it have said it's a unique, nice, and fun show.

There will be certain episodes that not everyone will like, but that's part of television. The first show is always the toughest and it will only get better.