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Friday, December 3, 2021

Arjun, Declassified!


As much as Arjun Rampal continues to be hot property indispensable to the glam brigade, he is becoming irresistible to the reality peddlers too. The incredibly good looking star reveals his endearingly sensitive streak to Pratishtha Malhotra…
PRATISHTHA MALHOTRA | Issue Dated: November 3, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : arjun rampal | prakash jha | raone | chakravyuh | film on naxalism |

You seem the obvious choice for glamorous projects like Heroine, Ra.One and Don as much as you are at ease in realistic roles like those in Rajneeti and Chakravyuh. What is the thought process that goes into this?
I am a very simple man...

Style Icon of Bollywood? Really?
(laughs) That’s the image I have. I don’t know why, but it’s fun. I have nothing against it! But when I am doing a job, the biggest satisfaction for me is whether I’m learning from the experience. Did I have a satisfying experience? If I enjoy it, then I know that the audience is going to enjoy it as well. I like intense characters; I like topical films… Prakash Jha, or say, Sudhir Mishra, make their subjects cinematically appealing. Adil Khan’s (his character in Chakravyuh) is a larger than life persona – the way he fights, the way he shoots, the way he talks… As an actor, it was a challenge for me lest it becomes a docu-drama. I want it to be a cinematic experience for the audience when they come in to watch.

So you prefer intense characters even though you’ve played some light-hearted roles in movies like Housefull?
No. I’ve done a guest appearance in the movie called Ajab Gazab Love which is a complete comic character. I prefer intense roles; I think they suit me better. I am quite an intense person myself so it’s more effortless. But then, I like to do something like a Housefull or even a Ra.One which is outright commercial entertainment that has nothing to do with realism. It’s refreshing; it’s good to be able to do everything. If I don’t find the role ‘scary’, I don’t do it. What I mean is, that unless you find enough challenge in a role to make you wonder whether you’d be able to do it or not, or keep you on your toes, I don’t take it up. The minute you feel, ‘this is easy’, you become complacent somewhere. There is no harm in failing if that makes you try harder.

What are your criteria for agreeing to do a film?
There are many questions I ask myself: If I was not in this movie, will I go and watch it myself? What is it that I am going to take away from this film? What is the audience going to take home from this film? Is there some kind of a new vibe? Like in Ra.One, it was very looks oriented; I was shocked to see so many children became my fans after Ra.One. They want to feel my abs, my muscles… They are mesmerised by that character and I know because it was a conscious decision to create that look which these guys will love.

What’s your role in Chakravyuh like?
When working with a film-maker like Prakash Jha, you have to be prepared to go deep into the subject because he’s going to bring you information and researched material. He expects you to immerse yourself in it. He wants to see the character out there; he ensures the complete metamorphosis of an actor and it happened to me when I did Rajneeti and I think I’ve achieved that again with Chakravyuh.
My character in the film is that of Adil Khan. He is a third generation police officer, and an idealist. He is a very honest guy with a heart of gold. My research was the material that Prakash gave me. Besides, I have a cop friend – he doesn’t want me to take his name – and I’ve borrowed a lot from him. He hails from a well-to-do family, but was obsessed with wearing a khakee uniform since his childhood, so much so that he has not drawn a penny in salary from the police force! Whatever he earns, he gives to charity. He wants to bring about a change, because he believes that’s what his profession really is all about. Adil Khan has a similar message.

How has Chakravyuh shaped your views on Naxalism?
I am sympathetic to any person who is driven to desperation to pick up a gun But I feel that is not the right way. That’s what Adil feels too. Adil says that any guy who is going to pick up the gun and attain power at gun point will rule you at gun point and that is what you should be thinking about, so don’t join them.
What have these Maoists done? Have they given whatever they promised… schools, hospitals, roads, water? Can they give it? Are they not corrupt? Are they not just bounty hunters? How sad and sorry is the state of affairs in our country…

Have you been to the Maoist areas? How was your experience?
We were there and I met a few Naxals and this was my argument with them as well. I said if the system doesn’t work, repair it. By destroying it, no one will get what they want. They are anti- establishment. They are rigid about their opinion; they just want to overthrow the government and the establishment… it’s like my way or the highway. Yes, they have lost trust and they have made sure that nobody else will trust again.
I didn’t spend much time with them. I spent most of the time discussing with Prakash, Abhay (Deol) and Manoj (Bajpai). I would wonder where these people (Naxals) get their money from? From extortion? How do they motivate people? If they kill one cop they are given Rs 10,000; if you kill an officer, Rs 50,000. You’re creating bounty hunters. How is that right? But then, I have seen villages where people live in the most atrocious conditions. Nobody deserves to live like that. We possibly look after our pets better than the humans fare in those areas. My heart goes out to them. We can’t remain untouched for long. That beggar knocking at your car window… two years from now, there’ll be 15 around your car and they’ll break your window and take your stuff; you’ll be outnumbered. This is what this film is about and this is why the message is so important. The people with power in their hands are those who can either bring great amount of development or complete unrest within this country. Our – the tax payers’ – money must go to people who are under-privileged; they must get opportunities to rise. That is not what is happening right now. The distribution of wealth will bridge the gap. I have an example: my first film had 50 people on the unit. Today I have a unit of 400-500 people which means ten times more people are employed. And that’s because I grew. With my growth, a lot more people got employed, more money got invested in the movies that I did which means more homes get fed, more children get educated. That is growth. It’s not about taking somebody’s land on which you intend to make 5000 crores and displacing the original owners by giving them 10 or 15 lakhs. After those 15 lakhs get exhausted, what’ll they do – they are not educated, they have nothing at all…

How would you describe your equation with Prakash Jha now that you’ve done two movies and there’s a third in the pipeline?
He is definitely one of my favourite directors. He sees me in a very different light. When he gave me Rajneeti, he told me about my character and the story some seven years before we actually started shooting! And then he calls me like it was just seven days back that he made me hear the subject! But it happened. He saw something in me in the second or third year of my career. With Chakravyuh again, he’s got a character out of me that nobody else could have seen. Now we are good friends and there’s good understanding. I enjoy myself as much as I learn a lot of things.

What are your upcoming projects?
I am shooting for D-Day with Nikhil Advani. That’s an action film in which I play a RAW agent who is a spy. It is not as intense as Chakravyuh. I need a breather (laughs). I have Villain which is a completely commercial film. There’s another intense one with Prakash Jha called Satyagraha. There’s also Sudhir Mishra’s Inkaar which deals with sexual harassment and that will release in January.

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Posted By: no name | No place | November 15th 2012 | 02:11
Good attitude!

Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017