WHOLE LOTTA LOVE
With De De Pyaar De out in theatres, lead actors of the film, Ajay Devgn & Rakul Preet Singh, talk to Bhavi Gathani about their new-age film, acceptance from the audience and the lingering fear of Friday
The trailer for De De Pyaar De looks so refreshing, with a new, novel concept. How do you want the audience to receive this film?
Ajay Devgn (AD): I really want the audience to just enjoy the film when they come to the theatres, even though apart from entertainment value, De De Pyaar De does give you a lot of insight into things. The film teaches you some nice things about life. The characters are shown as very mature, and the way they handle situations is something to learn from. I think the film is very well made and has a new-age concept. I am sure the audience will like it.
Rakul Preet Singh (RPS): I agree with Ajay sir. When you watch the film, you will feel that it's a breezy watch. At the same time, we are talking about something so relevant today, and we have been very careful not to make it preachy. We are offering entertainment with an underlying emotion and a message to take back with you when you step out of the theatre. I just want people to come and enjoy the film because it is a happy film, a happy watch.
Ajay, we have seen you in films ranging from comedy to action to more realistic ones in your recent filmography. But the romantic-comedy genre is something we have not seen you attempt in a long time. Was this a breather for you too?
AD: The truth is that every film acts as a breather for me. The reason is that from one genre I go to another genre and from there to a different one. I am enjoying myself at the moment. If I keep repeating the same genre, the same types of stories, I think it will get very boring.
We have been talking to actors lately who have done many comedy films. They say it is a very difficult genre. What is your take on that?
AD: That's true. I believe comedy is something that needs to be written well and performed very well. The timing has to be perfect; the editing has to be perfect. One thing fails and everything falls flat. So yes, it is a difficult genre. People think making people laugh is easy. But trust us, it is very difficult to make someone laugh.
RPS: Yes, I agree.
Your character in this film is certainly not boring.
AD: Yes, I cannot really describe the character except to say that he is a simple, happy-go-lucky, 50-year-old guy who has maybe run away from certain responsibilities in life. He has lived his life, fallen in love, had kids, done all that, but has then run away from all those things. And how he does that, steps away and then starts reliving his life, repeating the same things, a similar process of meeting someone, falling in love, bringing her to his home and to a different dynamic this time around, is something that makes him and the story interesting.
RPS: If I may add, I think his character has his reasons for doing what he does. He is a logical and sensible guy, especially since he has seen so much and been through so much in life.
AD: Yes, that growth is in the character too.
What attracted you to your character, Rakul?
RPS: Honestly, everything about it attracted me. To begin with, there was the amazing story line. My character is very well-written and it is just great to see how things fall into place in the film. Looking at the trailer, the genre and how it tackles the dynamics and relationships – I don't think many films deal with these kinds of stories, as you said earlier. So, all of these things were very exciting to me as an actor, and as a member of the audience. The role I play is that of a girl who is fun, free-spirited and lives life on her own terms. I love the character.
We have seen many slice-of-life films loved by the audience lately. What is it about this film that sets it apart?
AD: It is in that zone. It is in the zone of being realistic and slice-of-life but has a lot of entertainment value too. That is actually the best thing about it. It is very difficult to write a script that is slice-of-life but also close to reality and entertaining; that is something that a movie like Badhaai Ho has done in recent times. I think that genre really works with audiences and I hope that our film works too. (Smiles)
Rakul, we have heard a lot of actresses who have worked in the South say there is no difference in the two industries. Since you have been a part of both, what is your take?
RPS: There really is no difference. Everybody asks me this question and I keep saying that I do not think there is any difference. I think what really counts is whether you are working with a team who knows how to go about the work – whether you have a good team or a bad team, and whether you are making a good film or a bad film. These are the only things that are eventually important, no matter which industry you work in. I have had a great experience there and a great experience here and there is not much difference in their methods of working.
Ajay, as an actor, producer and director, what are your criteria when choosing a film?
AD: What I am producing is something that I hear and I like. For direction, I have been working on a script for the past year and it will take one more year. That's a different process altogether. As an actor, I just follow my heart and do the projects I really like. I believe that if I like it so much, then the audience too will like it. Then you look at factors like who is the producer, who is the director, and will they be able to pull it off the way you expect them to. And if you are assured about everything then you just go for it.
Speaking of what's next, there are a lot of contemporaries in both your leagues that are exploring the digital world. Any such plans for you?
AD: As a production house, we are doing a few things right now. As an actor, nothing as yet has come around that really excites me and makes me think I would want to do it.
RPS: I think digital is a great space. It is offering such variety and such a range of stories to viewers. There is great content and a variety of roles available now. If something great comes my way that is path-breaking then I will probably try and do it.
The first-time directors that I am working with are moving with the times. Be it their writing or how they approach films, it is all in line with today's audiences.
Rakul, did you have any perceptions about Bollywood before entering the industry? Have they changed?
RPS: Well, for me its always been the same. Life is one and I don't think we should segregate it in any way. My journey has been beautiful with a lot of learning.
Actors today are working across films, irrespective of the language. Alia Bhatt is a part of this Telugu period film, RRR. It's one platform and, at the end of the day, we are all actors doing films, no matter what the language is.
It absolutely should be 'Indian film industry'. And I think we are the ones who are segregating it. There is no difference. I look at it as a lovely journey. When I started out, I was very naïve and raw. I didn't know anything about the environment. Over the years, I have learnt a lot from this industry. I consider it just the beginning. I really feel there is so much to do and so much more to learn from new experiences. I am looking forward to this exciting journey and the future. I have so much more to do! (Smiles)
Rakul, you are doing Marjaavaan next. Can you shed some light on that?
RPS: Well, it is too early to speak much about that. All I can tell you is that I have finished shooting for the film, it is scheduled for an October release, and you will see me in a very different role from the role of Ayesha in De De Pyaar De.