Thursday, 6 November 2008

"EMI is coming at a time when our economy is in a mess", Arjun Rampal

exclusive by Devansh Patel

It was as natural as rain, as predictable as the entertainment taxes - one day Arjun Rampal would win over his audiences. What was surprising was that when it happened, in 2006, after the release of Don, then came an award winning performance in 2007 - Om Shanti Om. Come September 2008, Rock On created a stampede and he is busy making space on his shelf for some more trophies for the next year. Over the last 7 years Rampal had delivered a series of usually small and sometimes big but almost always scene-stealing performances. Remember the Deewanapan of Suraj Saxena? The blind Arjun Verma of Aankhen who robs the bank? A tattoed and shameless Ek Ajnabee who back stabs his colonel? All Rampal, all brilliant. The lead roles were few and far between, the financial imperative unfortunately dictating that acting matters. So, when given the chance, Rampal really pulled out the stops by pulling out his guitar and giving his best ever performance in Rock On. Rampal was clearly among the very best. Maybe he was the best. For an actor who once feared Fridays was now fearless, and is getting ready for his next multi-starer hitting cinemas this Friday, EMI. Bollywood Hungama's London correspondent Devansh Patel caught hold of the very busy Arjun Rampal in a light mood where he struggled with time but not his answers, in this five minute exclusive. Well, success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

From a rock star guitarist to playing a D.J in EMI. Music in flowing in your blood it seems?
(laughs) You said it bro. Actually I started doing EMI before I signed Rock On. I even finished shooting EMI before Rock On. But unfotunately it's releasing a bit late. Yes, both are musically inclined films that have come to me. I am turning into a music lover slowly.

EMI is a light humourous entertainer. We haven't seen you in a comic avtaar before.
It's all the serious roles I've been doing off late. Be it Ek Ajnabee, Rock On, The Last Lear, and now EMI gave me the oppurtunity I was waiting for, to do a light role. Also, I was missing the song and dance routine (laughs). You will see me shake a leg after the stupendous success of my last hit number 'Stranger' from Ek Ajnabee.

Do you love dancing?
I do shake a leg sometimes. In Bollywood you have to learn the A to Z. There is no way out or you'll be termed as a stereo-type. And when you're playing a DJ or a Rock star, you need to dance anyway.

EMI also comes at the time when the world is going through the credit crunch scenario.
Yes, EMI is coming at the time when our economy is in a mess and the banks are in a bigger mess. But the film is a light hearted take on the credit card scenario here (laughs). People will have a laugh and much to think about and learn too from EMI.

Heard you play a catholic once again. What a coincidence?
It's a sweet coincidence. I bet the catholic community is already falling in love with me (laughs). I play this character called Ryan Breganza who is a D.J. Like most young ambitious people, he wants all the good things in life and is always in debt and trouble but he manages to find his way out of trouble. It's an interesting role for me plus all the four stories in the film run parallel to each other and yet interconnect with them. Ryan Breganza fights the ongoing battle to pay his loan on time like all the others do in the film and then in walks Sattarbhai to help them out. There is a sweet message at the end of the film which people will take home.

This is your first film with Sanjay Dutt. How was the tough experience?
It wasn't a tough experience but if you've used a pun, then he is a tough guy. I've known Sanju for a long time now but haven't had a chance of doing a film together. He is a very warm person and a talented actor. He is an easy going guy. There is no one who could've played Sattarbhai besides him.

There are two current actresses who have a crush on you.
What are you saying? I do not agree with it but I do agree some of them have had a crush on me while they were in their school or college. I'd like to know their names anyway.

One is Deepika Padukone and the other is Mugdha Godse, who recently delivered a stunning performance in Fashion.
Good to know that. But I think Mehr is lucky (laughs). I think you'll have to ask the two pretty ladies why they've had a crush on me so that I can make some kind of a comment. I can't be that lucky (comments).

You're 37 now. Don't you think you've got success a bit late?
Not at all. I was a well known model before and the entire country is aware of that fact. So Arjun Rampal was a successful model but as far as films are concerned, yes, initially some of my films didn't work at the box office and it's only after Om Shanti Om that I felt so close to success that I could touch it. Rock On just doubled it up. My fan following has gone up too. Suddenly Arjun is the talk of the town and I am happy. Better late than never. I don't believe that an actor has a shelved life. Today I am successful only because I've never given up and have always focused on acting than modelling.

Your debut film Pyaar Ishq Mohabbat had Suneil Shetty as one of your co-stars. You're working him with him again but this time he is a producer. How was the equation?
We added up well (laughs). He is a great host as we all know. Actually Suneil Shetty is one of the most helpful people within the Indian Film Industry today. He is always the first one there to help anybody. As a producer he is that much more caring and is a fantastic to work with on and off the sets. He is very thoughtful and takes each and every decision carefully. I hope EMI does well for him as a producer.

Rock On wasn't that well received in the overseas box office. Will EMI come as a welcome relief?
I hope it does well in the overseas territory. I know that Rock On had to struggle knowing the theme of the film plus fresh new faces but EMI has a lot of factors going with it. It's got me (laughs), Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar, Mallaika Arora Khan and it's a Sunil Shetty film. What else do you need? Infact, the script is good too and plus it's a light hearted comedy. I've heard that comedy films work in the overseas. EMI will definitely be a success.

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