Intellectuals, thought leaders and all-around serious guys. That is how I would have tagged Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal before I met the cast of Rock On 2 for a round-table on a smog-filled afternoon in Delhi on a Monday. Half an hour in the same room and all my judgments went out of the window. From now on, consider them pranksters-in-chief. At least I do.
Actually calling it a round-table is an exaggeration. It was more of a drag the chairs, share the mike and let’s have some serious leg-pulling. Present there was the entire cast — Farhan, Arjun, Shraddha Kapoor, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora, director Shujaat Saudagar and producer Ritesh Sidhwani. Farhan started seriously enough. When asked from the various masks he wears — actor, director, producer, live performer and singer (phew) — what is his real identity in his own eyes, he called himself first and foremost an entertainer. “I do enjoy engaging with people, entertaining them… transporting them to a make-believe world through music and films,” he says.
He defined the experience of going back to Rock On 2 like living in a house where you have lived before. “You know where the light switches are, you know where the kitchen is, where the living room is… there is that sense of familiarity when you do a sequel,” he explains.
It is the discussion of sequels which opens the floodgates. When Ritesh is asked why he teased us with Don 3 on Twitter and never confirmed anything, Farhan is quick to ask, “You spoke about Don 3?” Ritesh is on the backfoot, just for a moment, “Sh*t, was I not supposed to? You spoke about Dil Chahta Hai 2?” Rock On 2, Dil Chahta Hai 2, Don 3, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara 2… it seems Farhan and Ritesh only talk sequels these days. Should we get our hopes up? “Any film that can lend itself to part 2, part 3 (Farhan cuts in with ‘part 4’), we should do it. I write something about any film on any handle, somebody asked about Don’s sequel so I wrote Don 3, said hmm and put a question mark. That’s the pressure,” explains Ritesh.
Farhan’s take is this: “We want Don 3 is a trend which periodically keeps on coming back. Nobody has to do anything and yet one day you will see We Want Don 3. When we made Don then we started suffering from comparisons with 1978 Don. We were told we could never make a better film. Nobody was trying to make a better film, we were only paying a tribute. Then when we made Don 2, they started comparing it to our first Don! There will also be comparisons, this is a part of the territory… the only way I can escape this is by not commenting on it at all.” A straight answer, now imagine it with the rest of the cast crying ‘we want Don 3’ as he gave his answer and you get the complete picture.
But is a sequel happening, really happening? “See we also want to have fun. If people say We Want Don 3, we say We Want To Give You Don 3.”
The new entrants Shraddha and Shashank are all praise for the original cast. “I loved the original film so much that when I watched it, I told my family I was going to be a part of the film’s sequel if they ever make it. When I heard they were making the film, I called up Ritesh and asked him why don’t you meet me. They met me and they liked the way I sing and it has been a dream come true,” Shraddha reveals.
Shashank hints at the hassee-mazak that went on while they made the film. Shujaat also talks about how much they loved working together that everyone was sad when the team was finally parting.
If the team had so much fun and there were so many pranks, who exactly is the prankster-in-chief? Arjun and Farhan try to pin it all on Shraddha. “Not at all, I am actually the most mature out of the whole gang. Arjun and Purab are actually like Tom and Jerry on the sets,” Shraddha clears her name.
Arjun finally owns up but blames Farhan for kickstarting it. “Farhan kickstarted it and then it went in an overdrive. To begin with, we were all serious and intellectual and polite and then something happened to Farhan. He banged open my door and Farhan said mazaa nahi aa raha yaar. We were then having whisky and momos for breakfast and we were really a rock band. Farhan got us into character,” Arjun says.
While playing the rockstars, did they trash any hotel rooms? They looked pained and shocked to even hear this. “No, we didn’t trash any hotel rooms,” Arjun says, “Actually we were too trashed to trash any hotel rooms.”