Chit Chat

My relationship with SRK is nobody’s business: Arjun Rampal

During a packed schedule on the promotional trip to Ahmedabad, we caught up with Arjun Rampal in his car while he rode through traffic visiting various places to meet fans. And you could see a look of disbelief among onlookers as they got a glance of Arjun at various traffic junctions. But he was totally relaxed, completely in control as he casually waved at his fans and continued chatting with TOI, occasionally flashing warm smiles at excited fans. Excerpts:

Your latest film, D-Day, was shot extensively in Ahmedabad. How was the experience of working here?
It was an amazing experience shooting in Ahmedabad. The people here are very hospitable and extremely sensitive towards our work. There are not many cities in India where the crowd is so understanding and adjusting. There were thousands of people present everyday while we were shooting, but they never created any problem for us.

After a series of unsuccessful films in the initial part of your career, you have finally found your foothold in the industry and now you are choosing different kind of roles.
I think that is a normal progression for an actor. Many times an actor is stuck for the lack of choices. The same happened with me when I started my career. That was the time when mainly romantic films were being made and that is what I was offered all the time. Filmmakers were not willing to delve into new subjects. But now times are different. People are more open and want to experiment with various genres and subjects. Producers, directors and even the audience has opened up to experimental cinema. This has given us the opportunity to opt for various kind of roles. I think this is the best time to be part of the Hindi film industry.

So now since you have choices, what kind of films would you like to do?
I would like to do a commercially viable film with a good script and a lot of entertainment value. At the end of the day, it’s all about commerce. I have done outright commercial masala films as well, where it was all about nonsensical masti in the past, but now I am looking at more meaningful cinema. I do want my films to have the required entertainment quotient, but I’d prefer doing films where you don’t have to leave your brains behind. I want my audience to go to the theaters with their entire body intact (laughs). The idea is to keep reinventing yourself. Once you attain a certain status as an actor, your fans start expecting from you and you should be able to fulfill them. That’s why I try to choose as many different kind of roles as I can so that my fans are not disappointed with me. It would also get boring for me as an actor to keep repeating myself.

So you agree that the audience has been a big factor for the change Bollywood has gone through?
Of course, the audience has been quite instrumental for the change. They have greater access to world cinema, are internet savvy and even English channels enable enable them to experience different kind of entertainment options. And they are expecting the same from us now and we are willing to give it to them. The demarcation between an art house film and an entertainer has blurred, only because a larger section of the audience has accepted such realistic films. A lot of today’s films would have been easily tagged as parallel cinema 10 years back and only a few people would have seen them.

There were reports that your friendship with Shah Rukh Khan went through a turbulent time. How are things going now?
What’s my relationship with Shah Rukh Khan got to do with my career? My relationship with Shah Rukh is my concern and no one’s business. Do these people, who keep inquiring about such issues, pay our bills or help us in anyway? So why should they be bothered about my relationship with him and why should I be even clearing the air about us?

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