Karisma Kapoor is an institution, wouldn't dare to ape her: Sara Ali Khan on starring in Coolie No 1 remake
Sara Ali Khan discusses working on Coolie No 1 and why, despite wishing the film had a theatrical release, she's satisfied with it opting for a digital premiere.
In her career of two years, Sara Ali Khan, with her choices in films, has made it clear that she wants to work in a variety of genres and be part of stories told with conviction. “Either in my role, or in my director, or in my script, or in the world, there needs to be conviction. I want to tell stories that I feel deserve to be told and that I can tell with conviction and honesty," she says. Khan kickstarted her Bollywood journey in 2018 with performance-driven Kedarnath. Next, she was seen in the masala entertainer Simmba followed by the sequel to her father’s 2009 film of the same name, Love Aaj Kal, and now over a year later is David Dhawan’s reprise of Coolie No 1 opposite Varun Dhawan. Being part of remakes so early on in her career also opens her up to comparisons but Khan has her own reasons to do these films.
“It has been very early in my career that I got the opportunity of working with many different and such amazing directors. I don’t think that I have chosen them, I feel they have chosen me. You don’t choose Aanand L Rai (Rai is directing Khan in her next Atrangi Re co-starring Akshay Kumar and Dhanush), who are you? It's not my aukaat (status) to choose these directors. Ultimately my desire and aim in life is to do all kinds of genres of movies. It is not about balancing between genres that today I do commercial and tomorrow serious, I want to do all of that. I want to take up all the scripts with my hard work, shiddat, honesty. It is not so much about doing mainstream films or remakes, that is not my thought process.
I’m a greedy actor and I want to work with different directors.
Today I feel lucky and privileged to work with four different directors,” says Khan in a chat with Firstpost.
She further says, “I was surprised when I was offered Coolie No 1, it was almost like a dream come true. Doing a film with David Sir starring Varun Dhawan where you get to dance on 'Husn hai suhana,' 'Main toh raste se jaa raha tha' it would be any heroine's dream. Initially, I was shocked and then there was a lot of excitement, eagerness and then a little bit of nervousness.”
The actress says that she had seen the 1995-release Govinda-Karisma Kapoor-starrer many years ago, and she watched it again when she was offered the film just to get the feel of it. “But I have not tried to fill in Karisma's shoes because she is an institution in herself. I wouldn’t dare to ape her even if I try hard. I have attempted to bring something of my own. One should be inspired by actors like Govinda and Karisma and bring something new to the table. Also, it won’t be fun if you are going to copy them because you are telling a story and you are trying to tell it in your own way,” says Khan, who found her character refreshing. “She is an innocent, simple girl from a rich family but her desires, hopes, dreams she has for herself are very young, vulnerable, simple and innocent which is something very refreshing for me to play as an actor. Allowing simplicity to take over when fallen in love is what I liked about my character,” she says.
Considering that the film is David Dhawan’s rehash of his hit from a quarter of a century ago, one wonders if she or the team was under pressure to make the film look more relevant for today’s generation, and Khan says, “With David Sir whether it is the screenplay, humour or choreography, it has all been adapted to today’s world. I didn’t take any kind of pressure when we were filming. I was aware that if I am pressurised I won’t be able to perform. For me, it was more about the opportunity of working with David sir and the excitement and chemistry of working with Varun who is one of the most relevant young actors that we have today. The original film was released in 1995 and I was born in that year but rather than trying to copy something that happened when I was born I was far more excited about the opportunity I had in hand.”
While talking about her chemistry with Varun, Khan mentions that her co-star was her constant support and he would look after the minutest details to make her feel comfortable among other co-stars. It was his familiarity with the genre that became an advantage for her as well. “This genre of the film is such that one needs a lot of spontaneity, humour and Varun is superb in both of them. I also think that Varun, apart from being spontaneous, knows this world very well whether it is because he is David sir's son or whether he has watched more of Govinda’s films as compared to me. He was very welcoming to me. It is almost that he took me under his wings. He was like, ‘Sara yeh bahut ho raha hai, Sara yeh thoda kam kar sakte hain ..chin down, chin up..’ He was very helpful and that has definitely come across. He is a very secure and confident co-actor and has a lot of patience. Even in shots where he was not there, he was not required, he would stand on set and give ques,” says Khan, adding, “And we all know that comedy is one of the hardest genres to do. It is not that bas logon ko hasaana hai. But under David sir’s guidance and with Varun’s help I was okay and had a lot of fun,” says Khan.
During the lockdown period, she says that she went back to reading and cycling. Not just that, the workaholic actress also realised that she can control her anxiety and restlessness when home bound. “I was shooting, I was on set with my Atrangi Re team till the 19 March. Soon after the lockdown was announced and I was at the airport in Mumbai, I came home and after that, I never left my home for months. I get restless within 20 minutes when I am waiting for my shot in the vanity van and I start asking my AD if the shot was ready. I am a high-strung person, I am always high on energy. I don’t like chilled time, I’m always running around. But now I have discovered that I have the ability to sit down and relax. I hope the pandemic has brought some kind of thehrav in me by sitting at home. The lockdown taught me to slow down, spend time with family, spend time with mom, brother and spend time with myself. I also got more organised and reorganised stuff. Now I have also become good in the kitchen,” says Khan.
Like many other big star-cast films Coolie No. 1 is yet another direct-to-digital release amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Khan says that she would have been happier if the film had a theatrical release. “I definitely do wish that it was a theatrical release. When I watch the songs I feel, ‘Hai, yeh toh theatre wali film thi..’ But in today’s times of coronavirus and this vatavaran (atmosphere) it is most safe to watch the film in your homes. I wouldn’t want people to watch the film in theatres with 50 percent occupancy. But I also feel that our job is to entertain whether you watch in theatres or home. We want to make you laugh and leave behind your worries for some time. You may laugh with us or laugh on us if you want it that way and that would be our effort,” she signs off with a hearty laugh.
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