'It's difficult to handle two women'
Arjun Rampal is one of the top actors of 2010, beating even Shah Rukh Khan at the box office.
After a series of hits, he's back on the big screen with Karan Johar's production We Are Family, co-starring Kajol and Kareena Kapoor.
While the film released yesterday with a mixed bag of reviews, Arjun tells Patcy N what it feels like to work with two gorgeous women.
What was it like working with Kajol and Kareena?
I think I am lucky to get this opportunity. I am a huge fan of Kajol. Doing emotional scenes with her was special.
Kareena is in great form, just like Sachin Tendulkar. We Are Family is not an easy film to work in. Two really strong performances were seen in Stepmom (from which WAF has been adapted) by Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. It is wonderful to see how Kareena and Kajol bring their own into the character.
Image: Arjun Rampal in We Are Family
'I felt like a ping-pong ball'
Both are fantastic. Both have their own styles of working. Both have a great body of work. So it was wonderful to share space with them. When you have good actors working with you, you create good work.
I found a good friend in Kareena. We had to shoot a song and were asked to sit in a convertible car for 13 hours without anyone else in the frame. The crew, shooting those scenes, were in choppers. If I had to sit with someone for such a long time, I would have killed myself or that person out of boredom. But Kareena is very entertaining. You will see the chemistry on screen too.
Did you ever feel sidelined because the two women had the stronger roles?
I felt like a ping-pong ball (laughs).
On a serious note, no, not at all. They are good actors, and good actors do not make others feel insecure. Kajol makes you cry without glycerine, and then she would go and read a book. Kareena is a foodie like me so inbetween shots, we would discuss where to go for dinner. I went on some wonderful dinner dates with Kareena, where I got to know her better. Don't worry, Saif (Ali Khan) was also there!
I play a responsible man in the film. In fact, I have two women in the film, so double responsibility.
The original had Ed Harris in this role. He plays an older man. The way the character was written was restricted. WAF is not a frame-to-frame remake; it's an adaptation. The way Siddharth (Malhotra, director) has written my character, it's an addition to the original story. I enjoyed doing it. When I sign a film, I see what challenge is there in it. Here, I felt my character was very unsympathetic. I had to bring sympathy to it.
Image: A scene from We Are Family
'I have a very glamorous woman in my life'
That was the easiest because I am a father in real life. Karan told me my body language with children was wonderful because it was real. It was not overplayed.
Similarly, Kajol is a mother. I have seen how she is with her daughter Nysa. She's is a very hands-on mom, very protective. She wants to take care of every single thing. She is just like that in the film.
Kareena has no children, so it was a perfect cast. Her awkwardness came out naturally.
Do you think having another woman is easy?
I have a very glamorous woman in my life (Rampal is married to former supermodel Mehr Jesia), so it is quite easy for me to stay away from them. I come from a broken home so I work that much harder to make my marriage work. I am very lucky to have a very nice family. I don't want to rock the boat.
It's difficult to handle two women. They can adjust and live together but it's difficult for a man. If anyone is caught in such a situation, they should watch We Are Family. I will show them how to deal with such a situation.
Image: A scene fro We Are Family
'I will miss being a part of Don 2'
Of course. We deal with that aspect in the film too. But we are also saying that all stepmoms are not wicked witches, as they have been portrayed on screen over the years.
You are not a part of Don 2. Does that upset you?
No. But of course, I will miss being a part of it. People are speculating why I am not doing the role. But Shah Rukh Khan cleared the air. Some characters cannot be taken forward in sequels. That's why they decided to go ahead with new characters. Farhan Akhtar is a dear friend; he gave me Rock On!! and Don. We have some good memories. But friendship does not necessarily mean that I be part of all his movies.
What about your production house?
I am working on a script. We will go on the floors next June.
Image: A scene from We Are Family