Very rarely do actors get a chance to prepare as intensely as Arjun Rampal in Daddy. In this bio-pic on the gangster Arun Gawli directed by Aushim Ahluwalia, Arjun got to play a real-life character, and that too one with shades of deep grey embedded in its soul.
“This was my first real-life character. And I had to give it my best shot. I neither wanted my Arun Gawli to be a spiffy caricature nor a faith replication of the original. Yes, I’ve worked very hard to look like Gawli. But more than appearance I wanted to get to the core of his personality, to understand how a man with so many criminal cases against him is considered a messiah by his people. Was it just the money and largesse that he demonstrated which endeared him to the poor? I think there was more. I’ve tried to understand the two sides of Gawli’s personality, the criminal and the messiah.”
Arjun spent months preparing to “be” Gawli. He watched documentaries and video footage on Gawli to get a hang on how Gawli walked talked and lived.
“It was a challenge, but at the top of it all, Gawli approved. So I feel all the effort was worth it.”
Gawli will accompany Arjun in the promotion of the film Daddy, just as the real Dhoni endorsed and supported the reel Dhoni in Neeraj Pandey’s elaborately staged bio-pic M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story on the legendary cricketer.
“For me preparation is not just important, it’s the key to getting the characterization right. I spent an abundant time with Dhoni, imbibed absorbed his habits but made it a point not to copy him,” says Sushant.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is immersed in playing the legendary Urdu writer Saddat Haasan Manto spent month preparing for the part. “I wanted to feel what it meant to be a thinking mind in the 1940s.For months I got rid of all the techno-gadgets that control our lives.”
Nawazuddin stopped using his cell phone and locked himself away from the hustle bustle to play Manto.
The will to infuse intensity into a real character can sometimes overpower an actor’s better judgment. Randeep Hooda played havoc with his metabolism when he lost close to 40 kilos to play the prisoner of war Sarbjit Singh.
“At the end of the day you have to know where to draw the line in your preparation. There is a famous incident of the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier telling Dustin Hoffman during the making of Marathon Man to “try acting” instead of running for hours to look convincing as a sprinter… at the of all the preparation you just have to act,” says Arjun Rampal.