Rajul Hegde in Mumbai
Bihar seems to be infamous for a lot of social issues, one of them being groom kidnapping. This week's release Antardwand (watch the trailer here) hopes to explore just that.
Starring Raj Singh Chaudhary, who wowed us in Gulaal, the film follows the trials and tribulations of a guilt-ridden groom, who is desperate to escape his predicament.
Chaudhary tells Rajul Hegde what his film, directed by Sushil Rajpal, is all about.
Tell us about Antardwand.
I play an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) aspirant, who lives in Delhi and decides to return to his native place in Bihar to seek permission to marry his girlfriend. But on reaching Bihar, he is confronted with the prospect of marrying a girl chosen by his father.
As the negotiations between his father and the would-be father-in-law break down, the guy decides to return to Delhi after confiding to his father of his intentions to marry his girlfriend. This is where the movie takes a dramatic turn and the protagonist is kidnapped, locked for 20 days, tortured and forced to marry at gunpoint.
Were you aware of such stories before doing the film?
No. I got to know about it only after I read the script. I heard that there are 1,300 such cases, which are registered in Bihar.
'I met the real groom'
How did you bag this role? Did Jab We Met director Imtiaz Ali suggest your name to the director?
Director Sushil Rajpal had already selected another actor for the role. But a few days before the shoot, the actor started throwing tantrums and putting forward conditions for shooting in Bihar.
That's when Sushil approached Imtiaz to play the role since they were friends and he knew that he (Imtiaz) was also an actor. But Imtiaz suggested my name after watching the rushes of Gulaal.
Imtiaz, who is a close friend of (Gulaal director) Anurag Kashyap, had met me earlier and we had developed a keen friendship by then.
This film is based on a true story. Did you get a chance to meet the person on whom the story is based?
Yes. I met him. I could feel his emotions when he narrated the story.
'Vinay Pathak would entertain us with jokes'
Did you face any problems while shooting in Bihar?
Though we were shooting in a remote village in Bihar, the people were surprisingly friendly and co-operative. I think things work when you explain and speak to them politely.
A couple of years ago when we were shooting in Delhi, we had problems controlling the crowd. Sometimes people create unnecessary problems when they see an actress.
How was it shooting with Sushil Rajpal?
We all worked as a team so there was no sense of hierarchy. Everyone was chilled out.
Normally when we shoot in Mumbai or big cities, after the pack-up we go to our hotel rooms. But here, the entire unit was staying in a boy's hostel because there was no hotel nearby. So all of us would gather at the hostel terrace and have fun.
Vinay Pathak and Akhilendra Mishra would entertain us with funny jokes from the industry. This would create a very lively and fun atmosphere.
'I don't mind doing films like Rang De Basanti or 3 Idiots'
We have seen you doing only issue-based films. Don't you think an actor of your calibre should branch out and do different kinds of films?
I just go with the flow. These are the scripts which interested me. I don't mind doing films like Rang De Basanti or 3 Idiots. I want to do a good film which has substance rather than act in a smaller film as a lead, which goes unnoticed.
I am yet to get a full on 'entertainment' film [smiles]. I am doing a dark comedy, which is again a meaningful film.
My favourite comedy films are Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Khosla Ka Ghosla. I want to do something similar to these films though I think the first one is too much to ask for.
Which are your other projects?
I am doing 23:45 by Gautam Adhikari, two films with Anurag Kashyap and one more film with Sushil Rajpal.