After tickling our funny bone with films like Mubarakan and Namaste England, Arjun Kapoor will play an intelligence officer in his upcoming film – India’s Most Wanted. And while he thinks portraying characters picked from real-life can be complicated, that’s exactly what actors bargain for.
India’s Most Wanted traces the journey of five Intelligence Bureau officers on a mission to catch a dreaded terrorist, without any guns and back-up to rely on. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com in New Delhi, Arjun spoke at length about the psychological shift needed while doing such films based on true events.
“It comes with a lot of complexities, because I’ll be honest, I have never done it before. You have to rely on a lot of research, then meeting people, making it believable to yourself. Especially this character, because this is an extension of our regular working class people and you have to blend with the crowd. I know they are intelligence officers (but) when you meet them, you realize their specialty is they behave like common men. It is also the mindset. There is a psychological shift that you take. And there is a social skill that they develop to handle all difficult situations. So, it is real, therefore it is complex, and you want to do justice to it,” Arjun shared while talking about playing the role of intelligence officer Prabhat Kumar in the film.
But considering films revolving around true life incidents and real characters have become the flavour in Bollywood, is it a deliberate attempt from Arjun’s side to pick such a film? He said, “This film was offered to me last year in February, and most of the films that have done well this year, were also being made that time. So, there was no way of knowing that these will invoke all these other cool films that we should be making.”
“I felt it is a story that needs to be told. It is a story that is lost in time. It happened five years back. And our youth has no idea. Our social media has no idea that we have caught one of the most dreaded terrorists of our country who killed 400 people. He is still alive. He is still in Tihar Jail saying he is not guilty. And he is living off tax payers’ money. So, I felt emotionally stirred to tell the story more than career wise,” he added.
India’s Most Wanted has been shot in Bihar and Nepal. Arjun shared his experience of shooting in its bylanes. “The story did begin from there even in real life. The starting point of our journey is from Patna where the mission falls into place. He (director Raj Kumar Gupta) wanted to go to Patna and asked me if I would like to come along. I said yes I’ll come, because I feel a connect. And I feel it always adds value when people who are from that part of the world feel authentically represented, whether it is the dialect or whether it is the way you shoot. So, we shot in some iconic places, but we have used them in the most simplest fashion. So, scenes happen with that in the backdrop. And I think it is a nice starting point. It gives a nice desi texture to the film which was needed.”
Throughout the film’s trailers and promotions, one thing which has remained hidden is its main villain, the terrorist who Arjun and his team are chasing. While some reports state the antagonist is based on Indian Mujahideen militant Abdul Subhan Qureshi, also referred to as India’s Osama Bin Laden, others claim it is about Yasin Bhatkal.
Arjun revealed why the makers chose so much secrecy around the main terrorist in the film. “You want to speak about the people who brought this man to justice and not glorify the man. The important conversation for us is the unsung heroes who sacrifice so much to do things that don’t get noticed. The moment we glorify the moment, we open up that Pandora’s Box, and what happens is all the attention goes towards the heinous crimes or the hideous man that he is that you will discover in the film. But there is a time to discover that. If we give it away now, it will take away from the way we want the film to be projected.”
India’s Most Wanted has been directed by Raj Kumar Gupta. It releases on May 24.