To call Arunoday Singh one of the high points of Blackmail won’t be wrong. The actor plays the troubled boyfriend Ranjit Arora whom Irrfan Khan’s Dev Kaushal blackmails. His comedy in tragedy left the audience in splits. Now that the film has fared well at the box office, Arunoday is ecstatic. “I’ve been resurrected. I do feel reborn,” he said while sharing his happiness with indianexpress.com.
Blackmail also stars Kirti Kulhari, Divya Dutta and Pradhuman Singh. Arunoday’s character is having an extramarital affair with Irrfan’s onscreen wife Kirti. After Irrfan finds that out, he begins blackmailing Arunoday, who portrays a man caught in a marriage with a controlling wife (Divya Dutta). The film has been directed by Delhi Belly fame Abhinay Deo.
“I auditioned for the film and the minute I read about it, I knew the character would be fun to play because he was very brazenly stupid, he was really funny and there was something about him which was charming. So I thought I’ll have fun playing him. I didn’t think I would get the part but Abhinay Deo made sure I got it and so it’s been a privilege. I just got lucky. I can’t take any credit,” said Arunoday.
Blackmail falls under the genre of dark comedy and given that Abhinay Deo’s previous work has also been on similar lines, Arunoday explained how it was working on such a film and under such a director. “Every film is the same as long as the director knows what they are doing. If the director is familiar with the genre, the act of acting is the same. You just follow the script,” he said.
Arunoday has films like Yeh Saali Zindagi, Aisha, Jism 2, Main Tera Hero and Ungli to his credit. Having worked in varied genres, which one has been his personal favourite? “Dark comedy would be right up there. I’ve enjoyed it very much because I have a very similar sense of humour like Abhinay Deo. So he got such good work out of me,” shared the actor.
Arunoday also got to work with Irrfan for the second time. He says the maverick actor inspires him. “I thought he was an amazing man when I met him on the set of Yeh Saali Zindagi which was like seven years ago. I’m his big fan and I find his journey and career very inspiring. Especially for someone who comes from outside. He hasn’t changed a bit. He is the same guy. He talks about the same things with the same amount of passion and interest. He is as relaxed and as sure of himself,” the 35-year-old actor told us.
Despite being part of some good films, Arunoday remained absent from the scene for sometime, only being seen in small roles or cameos. Why did he get into a shell? “I was put into a shell actually. Good scripts weren’t finding me and the scripts that were finding me were not worth what I believed in. So nobody was looking for me and I wasn’t finding anybody either. It’s an actor’s journey,” he said.
Arunoday’s last big film Mohenjo Daro also bombed at the box office. Explaining how failures affect him, he said, “I’m disappointed for a bit because the heart always hopes like a child. My heart hopes like a teenager, like a kid in the store. It is always little disappointing but I pick up and carry on. I’ve been here before. It’s not new for me.”
Arunoday is known for having one of the best bodies in the business. Does he agree that being macho and having good looks have become a prerequisite for an actor in films today? “Considering it is a visual medium, it’s always natural. And in our country, we prefer a superficial kind of entertainment which then lends itself to well-toned bodies and that’s not easy to do. It takes great discipline and dedication. I think there’s more to people than what they look like,” he opined.
Arunoday has also taken interest in digital content, getting associated with projects like Salute Siachen,
Love Per Square Foot and Mama’s Boys. He talked about doing web content too. “The job of acting remains the same. The only thing that changes is your surrounding. A big budget movie might put you in a more pleasant surrounding than a web show. All that changes is the quality of hotel that I’m staying in. But other than that the job is the same and it is fantastic,” he said.
The actor further shared that he wishes to work with directors like Vishal Bharadwaj, Shriram Raghavan, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap.
We even quizzed him about life post marriage to his Canadian girlfriend Lee Elton in 2016, and how she takes his female fan following. “Fans have been great and lovely. I think they find me more approachable and sweeter because I’m married. And luckily she (Lee Elton) doesn’t have much fan following to worry about, (because) I’m still building that. She loved me even before I was an actor. It’s just the journey. She is happy and proud of me,” he said.
Arunoday, who loves to write poetry and paint, is also gearing up for a musical production, Sound of Music, where he portrays Captain Von Trapp, originally played by actor Christopher Plummer in the 1965 film. The actor is also set to debut as a singer with this theater outing.