After doing intense and meaningful films like Citylight, Shahid, Aligarh and Trapped, Rao’s next big film is an out-and-out commercial romcom. He talks to SANGEETA YADAV about his film Behen Hogi Teri and the transformation he has gone through
- Raabta and Behen Hogi Teri are all set to hit the big screen. How does it feel?
I am excited and happy about how the films have shaped up. Behen Hogi Teri is out and out an entertainer and will leave you in splits. My character Gattu is from Lucknow. To understand the role, I went through complete transformation — from getting the right accent, style of walking, wearing clothes, etc. In Raabta, I play a 324-year-old man. Though the role is small, it was a great experience. I wore a lot of prosthetic make-up. The look has surprised everyone.
- After doing films like Citylight, Aligarh, Trapped, you are moving towards conventional cinema…
Whichever scripts excite me as an actor, I say yes to it. Films like Trapped and Aligarh are mentally very exhausting. But with Behen Hogi Teri, you will find humour and the situations are realistic. You will come out of the cinema hall happy and relaxed.
- The film addresses the issue of women calling almost every man bhaiyya. How do men look at this?
It’s an unfair rule of our system to call almost every man bhaiyya. But that’s how it has been since ages. They calling sabziwala and autowala bhaiyya. I am sure they are not happy about it. Somewhere we have accepted the bhaiyya rule and as long as women are not tying rakhis, it works. Instead of saying ‘bhaiyya’, they can say ‘excuse me’… It will be very strange if a stranger called me bhaiyya. I don’t know how I will react. Probably I would say: ‘No I am not your bhaiyya’.
- One actress you have would like to make your sister in real life?
No… Please! No one. The actresses can make any other man bhaiyya but not me. I am not bhaiyya material for these women.
- What you used to do when somebody in your school wished to make you their brother but you didn’t want that?
Luckily in my case, none of them wanted to make me their brother. But a lot of girls had a crush on me in my school days. However it was fun to see a lot of boys who never wanted to make a particular girl their sister, make excuses to bunk the school.
- How was your bonding with the co-stars ?
We had a great ensemble of starcast — Shruti Haasan, Gautam Gulati, Gulshan Grover, Ranjeet, Kamlesh Gill, Darshan Jariwala, Ninad Kamat and others. We have tried and make an honest and entertaining film. Shruti is a fabulous actor and we had a lot of fun. Actors like Gulshan sir and Ranjeet are very professional and committed to work which was inspiring.
- Any scene for which you gave a lot of retakes?
There was a particular drunk scene where Gattu is talking about his frustrations. I don’t drink in real life but for this role, to make it look real I decided to get drunk. That scene was of three minutes but the camera just kept rolling. I don’t know what I was doing and but knew that I am performing. At the end of it all the entire crew was all on the floor laughing.
- Is it awkward to deal with the fact that you are a teetotaler?
Earlier it used to be. People would say: ‘What? You don’t drink? You don’t smoke? Whatever not?’ Now that people know, it has become easy to stand with a glass of water. But if someone asks me: ‘Why not a drink’ I have an answer: ‘I am happy with my vodka’.
- You have shaved a part of your hair to play Subhash Chandra Bose for a web-series. To what extent will you to to transform yourself for a role?
It’s my responsibility as an actor to get into the skin of the character. For me, it is like an internal process and my way of approaching a role. I am not doing anything extra-ordinary. If I am playing Subhash Chandra Bose in a web-series, I have to look as real as possible. For that, if I have to go bald, I will do it. I am willing to play an extremely important and amazing role in my career. I want to feel like Netaji probably did and decided not to hear prosthetic make-up and wig. As an actor, I need to give my best.
The article also got published in Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/i-take-acting-responsibly.html