Punjabi by naturehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/punjabi-by-nature-4/

Punjabi by nature

The director and actors of Ghanchakkar on creating a dark comedy around a retired vault breaker and a loud Punjaban

Two years ago,Rajkumar Gupta gave a sneak peak into Ghanchakkar,his “quirky,quasi-realistic black comedy”. “As a filmmaker,I’ll be dead if I make the same kind of films. It’s important that I reinvent myself,for there is no greater kick than challenging your own capability,” said the acclaimed director of hard-hitting films such as Aamir and No One Killed Jessica.

Ghanchakkar is this experiment. “We all come across people in our lives who are unbelievable in the sense that we wonder: ‘Oh my god,do such people really exist?’ That’s Ghanchakkar,” said Gupta. So,when you sit in the theatre and watch Emraan Hashmi running around in a red polka-dotted night suit and Vidya Balan in as-gaudy-as-it-gets clothes and a whip in her hand,you’ll know what Gupta was talking about.

In Chandigarh for the film’s promotion,the trio — Hashmi,Balan and Gupta — talked about their roles. In black tights,animal-print shirt and neon pink jacket — Balan got eyeballs rolling. “I always like to come in character because press conferences tend to get boring. This is to break the monotony,” said the actor,showing off a gold encrusted ‘Neetu’ embossed on her jacket.

“I play a happy-go-lucky Punjaban who loves to read Vogue,cooking,clothes and her husband. She is a Miss-know-it-all,and all of Neetu’s clothes have been picked from street shops,” said Balan,dropping her famous “hain” from the film,and tweaking her accent to Punjabi.

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A quiet Hashmi,is the opposite — a retired vault breaker called Sanjay Athray. Where Balan is loud and vibrant,Hashmi is the subdued “jholu ram”. “Or is he just pretending? Ghanchakkar is a comedy,thriller and suspense,a first for all of us and I had to take these two actors because they are risk taking individuals,” added Gupta.

“I loved playing a hatti-katti Punjaban in the film,” said Balan,who was told to gain weight for the film. “But I had already gained so much for The Dirty Picture,so I was allowed to maintain that weight,” she added. Her real hunger is for good films,“I’m a bhooki actress,” she claimed.

Hashmi,on the other hand,finds it terribly tough to gain and lose. “I packed extra kilos for Shanghai,and I know how difficult it was for me to shed it. I’ve been on a strict diet for three years now and I intend to continue,” he said.

With heavy Punjabi influences,Gupta felt that singer Altaf Raja would make an instant connect with the song Jholu Ram,which he did. Music composer Amit Trivedi,in the meantime,roped in Richa Sharma for Lazy Lad,which has many women nodding their heads in agreement. “My husband Siddharth (Roy Kapoor) is a workacholic and I have to tell him to be a little lazy,” said Balan. Emraan admits that most men are couch potatoes. “When I’m home,I am glued to the couch,and can go on for like 7-8 hours without doing anything,” he said.