Rakul Preet Singh on her upcoming film De De Pyaar De: It's a progressive story, not a love triangle
Rakul Preet Singh says she would have liked to act in the Saina Nehwal biopic.
From Nagarjuna and Suriya to Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, who’s currently one of the most sought after actresses in the Telugu and Tamil industry with her films turning out to be big box office successes, is now striving to make a mark in Bollywood. With De De Pyaar De and Marjaavaan already in the pipeline, Rakul has multiple South projects which she has kicked off. She is currently shooting a Tamil sci-fi film with Sivakarthikeyan and a Telugu romantic comedy with Nagarjuna. These days, she’s seen promoting two films since De De Pyaar De and NGK are releasing this month.
Her previous Hindi release, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary (2018) alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee, may have been disappointing at the box office, but offers kept pouring in. Rakul believes De De Pyaar De's success will help strengthen her position in Bollywood. “First of all, it is great to be working with such big stars and then getting almost the same screen time. That my role is at par with Ajay Devgn and Tabu, is incredible. This film also marks my entry into the commercial set-up and I hope people take proper notice of me,” she says.
Directed by debutant Akiv Ali, the film shows a 50-year-old divorcee falling in love with a 26-year-old woman (Rakul) and facing stiff opposition from his ex-wife (Tabu) and family. “The film is not a love triangle,” Rakul clarifies, further adding, “A girl and a boy fall in love and there is an age difference. He wants his family to accept her. It is a very fresh story - quirky and progressive.”
After doing a couple of films in the South, Rakul debuted in Bollywood with Yaariyan (2014) and after a four-year gap she was seen in Aiyaary last year. Why so few and far between in Bollywood? “I didn’t think that would be the problem though. It wasn’t planned. My first Telugu film released before Yaariyan even though I’d started shooting both the films around the same time. Venkatadri Express became a hit and there was no looking back. I signed a bunch of films in South by the time Yaariyan released and I went back to the South for shoots. Those films got me bigger films with bigger stars, so I continued working there and decided to solidify my footing there,” she explains.
“Also, I have never understood the concept of leaving the work you are getting in order to find more work. I believe that work will get more work and that is exactly what happened with me. When I chose Aiyaary, I was supposed to do M S Dhoni as well, but it didn’t happen due to date issues. I have waited and will wait for the right films to come. I am glad things happened at a point when I was more prepared to hustle in Mumbai. I was all of 20 when I did Yaariyan. I don’t think I could have managed so much media and pressure or spoken with so much sense and confidence,” Rakul adds.
After four years of non-stop work in Telugu films (17 films), the Delhi-born actor gradually found a foothold in the Tamil industry as well, and has done films with top stars like Karthi, Suriya and Sivakarthikeyen. “Everyone is very warm over there; nobody is a star in their head which makes it easy to work with them," she continues, “Alia is doing (S S Rajamouli's) RRR and Shraddha is doing Saaho, then why should I worry about working in Hindi or South films? I want to have some credible cinema in my filmography."
“There has always been a cross exchange but it is after Baahubali that the transition was noticed. Remakes have been happening since the 1980s. Sridevi, Tabu were all working in the South first and later came to Hindi cinema, and vice versa. Except for the language, there is no difference and since I have learnt the language, there is absolutely no barrier for me,” she adds.
Rakul’s struggle seems to have made her turn towards spirituality. “So much so that my friends call me Sadhguru 2.0,” she laughs. “I am someone who celebrates every Friday, whether my film is a hit or a disaster, thanking the universe that I am living my dream. So many people don’t even know what their dream is, forget living it."
Besides having a big wish-list of directors, starting from Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani, to Karan Johar, Rakul says she would love to work in romcoms, love stories, period sagas and biopics. “I am a sucker for love stories,” she says. “I would also love to do a biopic, but after another film or two. Biopics are such a great way to celebrate life. I would have loved to do the Saina Nehwal biopic because she is a friend and I have been into sports. But that is already cast,” she sighs as she signs off.
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