'Katrina has done a fantastic job in Raajneeti'
Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are doing all they can to promote their film Raajneeti. The political drama directed by Prakash Jha releases on June 4.
Joining the good-looking lead pair at a recent promotional event in Mumbai were Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai, the other cast members of the film along with producer Ronnie Screwala. Ajay Devgn, Nana Patekar and Nasseruddin Shah, however gave the event a miss.
So what can we expect from the movie? Ranbir goes first. Excerpts:
Katrina is speaking chaste Hindi in the movie. Do you think she succeeded?
I think she has done a fantastic job.
You play a character with grey shades in the film. At the same time you're seen romancing Katrina...
I play Pratap who is not interested in politics at all. At some point in the film, politics sucks him into its world. I am not playing a villainous or negative role. When you watch the film you will see the reasons behind everything I do. There is a purpose behind everybody's negativity. You will discover it yourself when you watch the film.
We have seen you play the lover boy and boy-next-door kinds of roles. But here you essay a more matured role. How was the experience playing Pratap?
I am glad I got this opportunity to play a role like this so early in my career. It wasn't a conscious decision to shift gears and do a role like this. Tomorrow, if I get a romantic role and if I like it, I will do it. I am only glad that I got to work with such a great cast and director.
Do you feel any sense of competition or pressure working with such an ensemble cast?
No. We all played our parts as honestly as possible. We all believed in the movie. And it wasn't about one person. There were a lot of beautiful relationships formed during the making of this film. I just played my part as honestly as possible.
Given a chance, would you enter politics?
Honestly, I have no interest in politics. My field is only movies. I think our politicians are very capable and have worked very hard to get here. All we can do is support them if their ideologies match with ours.
Do you think politics prevails in Bollywood?
No. I want to believe that the industry is very good to each other and nobody will even think twice before appreciating another actor or director's work.
How was it working with Nana Patekar?
He is like family to me. He has worked with my father and is very fond of me. I love him too. He used to make dinner for us every night. He would discuss his films with us. It wasn't like he was teaching us or showing that he is senior. He was very friendly.
Image: Ranbir Kapoor
Prakash Jha: Katrina is madly in love with Ranbir in the film
Prakash Jha on why he chose Katrina:
She looks Indian, as she is half Kashmiri. I needed a character that would not only look naive and innocent but also actually project that. As for her Hindi, I knew she was hardworking and would work on the language. And she did. She has spoken proper Hindi in the film.
Since you have actors of different levels of experience, did you at any point find it difficult to cast them? Did you have to convince them?
I don't take anyone for granted. When I decide to work with an actor, I request for their time and go and meet them and narrate the script. I am grateful that they liked their part and wanted to be a part of the film.
Is it true that you were given a notice as your film closely resembles the Gandhi family?
Yes. That person who claims to be a Congress sympathiser approached the Sessions court claiming that we are harming the Gandhi family by this film. I can only say that he is completely ill-informed and has no idea about the film.
Your film has four music directors. Why?
It just happened. I initially approached Adesh Srivastav and he recorded the first song for the film. I needed another song and then approached Shantanu Miotra. Since he has never done an item number, I suggested that he make an item number for my film. Then there was Wayne Sharpe who was working with me on the background score. He sent me a track and Gulazar saab and I liked it, and so it became our title track.
The music company suggested we should have a romantic song so that we can make an album. There was no place for a romantic track in the film but there is a romantic couple -- Ranbir and Katrina -- where Katrina is madly in love with Ranbir.
Image: Prakash Jha
Katrina: I didn't need any role model
Katrina on her role:
I play a girl who goes through a very difficult journey. I start out as a young, immature and spoilt girl who realises that she can't always get what she wants in life. She experiences her share of disappointments and rejections. All these help her to be more mature.
As an actor it is amazing for me to go through a graph like that.
How did you prepare for the role? Were you inspired by anyone?
I didn't need any role model. I simply tried to understand what my character was going through. For the part where I join politics, Prakashji gave me videos but that was just to understand the body language. If I were to play a journalist, it doesn't mean I will copy one. I simply observe one's nuances.
Are you open to doing more women-oriented films?
That is what I like about this film. Though I am not the main protagonist, my role is a strong one. My character here is strongwilled. If she wants something, she just goes for it.
Is it true that you were apprehensive to do the film initially?
No. When I got a call from Prakashji, I told him that his movies were different from the ones I usually do. I have seen his Apaharan and Gangajal and loved them but didn't know if I would fit in. But when I heard the script, I instantly said yes.
Image: Katrina Kaif
Arjun Rampal: I hope Raajneeti does better than Housefull
Arjun Rampal on his role:
What are your expectations from this film?
We went beyond our own expectations. Now that we have done our job, we can only hope that the audience enjoy the film as much as we enjoyed working in it.
What is your rapport with Manoj Bajpai?
We have a great camaraderie both on sets and off screen. Since we fight on screen, it sometimes rubs off in reality too [laughs]. But Manoj is a wonderful actor and you get to learn a lot from him. It was a pleasure working with him.
Since you just had a hit with Housefull, how do you think Raajneeti will fare at the box office?
I hope it does better than Housefull. This film is close to my heart because it was offered to me at a time when most people didn't take me seriously as an actor.
Prakashji came to me with the script five years ago, saying that he wanted to make a film with politics as a backdrop. He told me that the story is inspired by the Mahabharat and wanted me to play the role of Bheem.
I was quite surprised that he came to me. After discussing the script, he suddenly disappeared. Muje laga ek acchi script haat se gayi (I thought I lost out on a good script). But he came back four years later and said he was ready to make the film. I wondered where he had disappeared to and he said, "raajneeti pe ek film bana raha hoon, thodi bahut raajneeti tho seekhni padegi "(I am making film on politics, so I have to learn something about it).
I think I have made a friend in Prakash and the entire cast. We all lived together in Bhopal and had great fun.
Image: Arjun Rampal