Updated: February 13, 2015 12:00:25 am
Both Arjun Rampal and Jacqueline Fernandez adore debutant Vikramjit Singh, the director of Roy. As soon as he makes an appearance, both head towards him and the three start chatting animatedly oblivious to everything else; even their promotional interviews for a while.
Somehow we extricate them from ‘Vicky’ as they fondly call him and get them to answer our barrage of questions. When the actress complains of an ache in her back, Rampal quickly rattles off two names, Bhagwan a masseur and Akshay, a physiotherapist who he says will align her body like: thak thuk! Fernandez squeals with laughter, asking him to recommend the name of a female therapist instead! In
fact, her laughter fills the air at periodic intervals, while Rampal smiles indulgently as they talk about Roy, their upcoming romantic film which releases a day before Valentine’s Day
Is Roy a love story and a film you would like to watch on Valentine’s Day?
Arjun Rampal: If I had to watch a romantic film it would be Roy. The film is a love story to a large extent and it is the kind of romance which has different layers. Silver Linings Playbook is another film I would like to watch with the person I love.
And Jacqueline you?
Jacqueline Fernandez: Roy of course! And also Breakfast At Tiffany. It may not be your typical love story as it has a lot of thrills woven in the plotline, but it is my favourite romantic film.
What are your expectations from the film, given that it releases just in time for the Valentine’s Day weekend?
AR: She’s good with numbers and commercial evaluations, so let Jacqueline talk about her expectations first.
JF: (laughing) First day `14 (crore) and I think we are going to have a fantastic weekend.
AR: (Interrupting) I love people who are so positive!
JF: I have not watched the entire film like Arjun, but from what I have seen during dubbing, it looks stunning. Vikram makes a very smooth film as the story does not jolt or jar in any way. That’s the beauty of it.
AR: I know that we have made a good film and all of us are proud of it. What it does at the boxoffice is anyone’s guess! But I hope she’s 110 per cent right because everyone wants their film to do well at the BO. The music has done supremely well and that’s a good barometer of how much excitement the film has created. Now the film will speak for itself when people see it.
Which is your favourite song from the film?
JF: Mine is Chittiyaan kalaiyaan veh.
AR: I like Sooraj dooba hain and Boond boond. These songs always play on my car stereo, in my wife’s car, my kids’ car, and when I go out, it’s playing in other people’s cars too!
JF: Actually, I hear them everywhere I go. They are blaring out of houses!
AR: On my daughters’ Annual Day the senior kids performed on Sooraj dooba.
JF: How cool is that!
You are both playing film directors in Roy. How different or similar are your characters?
AR: My character, Kabir makes commercial movies which are very successful at the box-office. I also want to make a franchise and though I possess all the money in the world, I don’t have a script. Jacqueline is just the opposite as a filmmaker, she makes poignant films which travel to film festivals and win all the awards. And she also does yoga (laughs).
JF: Yeah, I am more of the arty sort and it’s great because it is the coming together of two different worlds… and then romance blossoms.
AR: We meet when both of us go to Malaysia to shoot our films — on location, that is.
JF: And the story continues from there…..
Are there any particular aspects of your characters that you had to work on?
JF: I play Ayesha, the film-maker who was someone I could relate to.
AR: She’s a lot like you!
JF: Yes, she was someone I could play easily. I didn’t have to prepare too much, and even added my own contributions. The other character, Tia required more preparations because I wanted her to be different. So, I would express my emotions in a more dramatic way and created a certain amount of mystery around her.
AR: You know there are certain scripts which are well-defined and the characters are very well etched out. That’s how Kabir, my character in Roy was. The script was lying with me for three and a half years. It was immediately after Rajneeti that Vikramjit had approached me. It was not a fullfledged script at that time, but slowly we fleshed it out. Kabir loves cars and the vintage world and I love that too. We wanted to bring in those elements into Kabir’s character—he’s stylish, vintage and cool — someone like Satyajit Ray and we
could have gone down that route, but we made it different, someone who is eccentric, crazy and who does weird things, but is quite honest with his craft.
And who was the director’s favourite on the sets, Arjun, Jacqueline or Ranbir?
AR: I think Vikramjit is like a big mother. He was all for Jacqueline, but would also pamper Ranbir and me. It was not only us,
he would pamper his crew right from the spotboy to the lightboy.
JF: But the kind of comfort we could share with Vicky was amazing. And that comfort level is something which really helps an actor. From
the minute I came on the sets and started working and the manner in which he would explain things have helped me as an actor. He
has the knack to create a certain comfort level with his actors.
AR: It is hard to believe that Roy is his debut film. Vicky talks a lot, and there were times when we were not sure about grasping what he was telling us. He was completely involved with the film and his approach is very different. He does not rush into anything, but gives you ample time to prepare. He will push you until we get the emotions right, but all this is done in a very mild manner.
JF: He’s also very receptive to what an actor has to contribute.
AR: For instance, if Jacqueline was not comfortable doing anything, he would say let’s move on. He does not like to see discomfort on his actor’s face, as that would otherwise show on screen. He is not the kind to convince an actor to work in an uncomfortable situation.
Were there instances during the shooting when you did not feel comfortable?
JF: Not really. We had our scripts with us. So, when we started out, everything was very clear to us.
AR: Yes, and even though we waited so long for the movie, we completed it in 55 days. If there’s no clarity, you can’t shoot so fast.
Since it’s the first time that both of you are working together, what is it that surprised you’ll about the other?
AR: Actually, I was a little apprehensive about Jacqueline as I was not sure how she would play this double role. She has not done this kind of realistic cinema which Roy is to a certain degree. But when we started reading and working together, I realised that we should put aside her language problem, because films are not about language. A good actor is one who grasps emotions and understand them, which she did effortlessly. Her expressions and body language were fantastic. She was a bit anxious on the first two days, but after that, she was fine. I saw the film recently,and realised how beautifully she has portrayed both the characters. She was very sincere towards her
work, constantly asking if Vikram was happy, wanting to improvise scenes to enhance her performance. Today, she can read and write Hindi, and I give my assurance, that after Roy people are going to see her as a new actor.
JF: You know of what I had seen him in his films and knew about him, I thought Arjun was a bit intimidating.
JF: Yeah. First of all he’s a very intense actor who has done some intense films. But when you work with him there is so much fun on the set all the time—intelligent humour and conversation. The best thing was that I opened up as an actor. He would make me feel comfortable with my lines and create a relaxed atmosphere, which is something that doesn’t happen with all your co-stars. But with Arjun it was different.
AR: We just didn’t want it to appear that it was acting.
JF: And a lot of our scenes together are conversational. For me, that means just remember your lines and put them together. But with Arjun around, it would always be questioning about how can we go about doing this better.
AR: Recently, I was watching the film and there is a scene in which she does yoga while conversing with me. She is doing this back flip kind of thing and she casually turns around to look at me. It was like ‘wow’, as my character in the film also says. (laughs). It was so natural.
Your favourite scene from the film?
AR: There are many actually. There’s one scene between Jacqueline and Ranbir in a conversation. He tells her that he’s going to go away and she tells him to ask me. Ranbir tells her that he knows she will not come, to which she replies, she’s sure he will not ask me. That’s a really nice scene. Ranbir is a phenomenal actor and he has never been seen the way he will be seen in Roy.
JF: My favourite scene with him is when we meet for the first time. We are involved in this banter because we are both very intelligent filmmakers.
AR: I know that’s a lovely scene because one is flamboyant and the other is very reserved. The film has got a lot of good moments. There’s a scene where she does ballet on the beach, you know jumping around on the sand, so gracefully. In the film, the scene cements our
And what was the most memorable part of the shoot?
AR: The only fun time I had was watching Jacqueline’s laughter early in the morning in Malaysia. She wakes up early and she would wake up the whole team. The quiet resort we were staying in would suddenly resound with her laughter. I liked it because it would put
a smile on my face. And we’d say amongst ourselves that it would have been very boring without her. Even if there was a tense situation, it would be diffused by the sound of her laughter.
Anything about each other which puts you off?
AR &JF: (Together) Nothing!
AR: Maybe when we do our second film together!
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