Rakul Preet on playing Sridevi in NTR biopic: I know I'm putting myself out there for a lot of criticism
In an exclusive interview, Rakul Preet talks about her slate of big Hindi, Tamil and Telugu releases, and reuniting with Sidharth Malhotra for Marjaavaan.
If one could define Rakul Preet’s life, and how things have changed for her over the years, then it boils down to one word - work. With multiple projects lined up in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, it looks as if she cannot afford to take a day off. The only break she managed to take in the past few months was a weekend in Goa and that too because the shoot of one of her films got postponed. And yet, she often makes headlines for not signing enough films, especially in Telugu.
“It sounds crazy isn’t it? I’ve seven films lined up in the next few months and yet, people say that I’m not getting any offers in Telugu. I’ve always considered Hyderabad and Telugu film industry to be my home. And when my own people say things like ‘Oh, Rakul isn’t getting roles in Telugu, but she is signing big films in Hindi’, it hurts,” Rakul confesses. “I’m not going anywhere! There are only 365 days in a year and I’m as busy as I can be. How much more can I accommodate? I’m dying already (laughs).”
In Hindi, the actress will soon be seen in Luv Ranjan’s De De Pyaar De, which also stars Ajay Devgn and Tabu, and recently, she signed yet another film, Marjaavaan, which will be directed by Milap Zaveri. In the film, Rakul is paired opposite Sidharth Malhotra and it is the second time the two will be teaming up with each other, after Aiyaary.
Rakul recalls shooting for a promotional song of De De Pyaar De in Mumbai recently. One day, she had messaged Nikkhil Advani regarding another project. It was he who told her that Milap Zaveri is going to pitch a story to her. “It’s too early to talk about the film, but I can tell you that I’ve an author-backed role in the film. It’s a very massy, commercial film with a ‘90s flavour to it. Milap is known for his dialogues, and I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten a character which I have never played before. The whole look of the film is going to be quite raw and rugged, and I’ve a lot of mass dialogues in it. They don’t really write such characters for actresses these days. You’ll see me speaking in a different slang. And it’s a pleasure working with Sidharth once again. It was wonderful working with him in Aiyaary, and I’m really looking forward to Marjaavaan now.”
The film is expected to go on floors soon, but before that, Luv Ranjan’s De De Pyaar De is going to be her next release in Hindi. The actress had to loose oodles of weight for the film because the brief given to her was that she had to look like Deepika Padukone in Cocktail. “It took a lot of effort and time to achieve this look. I play a bartender in the film and it’s set in London. It became a running joke during the shoot because I don’t drink and yet, I was playing this role (laughs). De De Pyaar De is a new age love story and there’s nothing filmy about it. The fact that I got to share screen space with fantastic actors like Ajay Devgn and Tabu was an enriching experience. We have a lot of combination scenes in the film, and it was a challenge for me to match up to them. I’m trying to put my best foot forward, no matter what roles I take up, and when a role is good, it shows,” Rakul says.
With close to 20 films to her credit in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi so far, Rakul acknowledges that her experience in front of the camera has helped her evolve with each film. “I’m still in an early stage of my career in Hindi and I’m getting good roles. When you do plenty of work, it definitely helps in understanding the emotion of the characters better. Experience matters a lot. The roles are getting better for women and there are quite a few mainstream films which are going beyond the commercial cinema format. The idea is to always strive to do something different and better. All the characters that I’m playing now are different from each other, and the last few months have been quite gratifying.”
The actress has three films lined up in Tamil, including Suriya’s NGK, Karthi-starrer Dev and an untitled sci-fi film with Sivakarthikeyan. “I’m playing an astronomer in Sivakarthikeyan’s film,” the actress reveals, rather gleefully. “NGK has a political angle to it and on the other hand, Dev has me playing an NRI, who’s a millionaire. It’s a romantic drama about people with different ideologies in life. While Karthi’s characterisation is that of a guy who is quite adventurous, I’m playing someone whose work is her life and she has no time for herself. It’s an interesting character study of two people who are poles apart. Having worked with Karthi in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru, we shared a great rapport while working on the sets of Dev too. We hit it off really well right from the beginning.”
Meanwhile, in Telugu, she is going to team up with Naga Chaitanya soon for a multi-starrer which also has Venkatesh in a lead role, but at the moment, all eyes are on the NTR biopic, titled as Kathanayakudu, in which she has essayed the role of Sridevi. The film has Balakrishna playing NT Rama Rao and Krish as the director. “It’s the first time someone is playing Sridevi onscreen. I’m both nervous and excited about it. I know that I’m putting myself out there for a lot of criticism if I don’t do a good job. When I was offered the role, I kept asking myself if I can pull it off, but I’m glad that Krish had that faith in me. It’s a big deal for me and I hope I can do justice to the character,” Rakul signs off.
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