Film stars, when you meet them, can seem disarmingly ok. If you saw the grungily synonymous Arjun Rampal on the street, you would notice him but you might look the other way with a grimace. But once his face is magnified and projected on to a screen or the ramp, he becomes mesmeric and his identity multiplies. Recently, I met the anonymous Arjun I’d never seen when he invited me to his 20th floor penthouse in Bandra, and once he began to talk, I understood the camera’s infatuation with him. He is cinematic because he’s so restlessly kinetic. His armchair might have had hot bricks in it rather than cushions. His fingers anxiously moved like the piano keys while playing the music he had just mixed for his friend, while his body twisted sideways like a corkscrew. His face seems to have been squeezed in a vice; the rest of him is also pushed and pummelled by invisible forces. His considerable frame houses a cyclone. So, the music is playing awful loud on the top floor of the penthouse and just then Mehr Jessia Rampal enters. Soon you’re made to believe that the music might just calm down. He gets up, turns the volume a tad low to show his wife that he is considerate, which he is anyway. He returns to his leather armchair and says, “You can see I’m surrounded by women all day long,” and breaks into laughter. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent meets the man who overcame his career meltdown, a man who can today be called as a ‘Top gun’ and a man who just can’t stay without his ‘all girl’ band, his awesome threesome – Mehr, Mahikaa & Myra. And just as I was about to finish the interview, Arjun pauses and says, “My father teases me and says that I am a ‘ladies man’.” We aren’t surprised. Smiley.
“Ed Harris was wasted in Stepmom“
When I saw Stepmom and Ed Harris in it, I really thought that he had nothing to do in it. So when I was told that I was to be cast in Ed’s role in the remake, I was a little apprehensive. I feel the guy could’ve done a lot. Just the way the whole scenario has changed is amazing. We Are Family isn’t a frame to frame copy of Stepmom. It’s an adaptation.
When I saw Stepmom and Ed Harris in it, I really thought that he had nothing to do in it
“This is a young film by heart”
For me, it’s a young film, it’s entertaining and the contribution that comes is immense because the whole second half of the film is completely different from the original. We Are Family is what happens in a time of crisis. The answer is that it brings out the best in everybody and that’s what it does. Each one has a start and a finish and you are definitely contributing towards the script and the screenplay, hopefully.
“The audience will sympathise with my character”
The challenge to do such a role was that it was unsympathetic. The question – Will you sympathise with him or not? And my challenge is for the audience to sympathise with the character I play in the film.
“I have a lot to achieve”
I got opportunities. I made the most of them. I got to work with people whom I learnt a lot from over these years. I got confidence because of the level of success that comes but finally, I have had certain amount of achievements and there is a lot more to achieve. It’s as simple as that. I keep saying that if you don’t have a goal in life, you can’t score.
“This isn’t a KJo film. It’s Siddharth Malhotra all the way”
Karan Johar is trying to get away from his usual stuff. He is mixing his bag with a film like Kurbaan or My Name is Khan. He tries to do things on a different level, always. I Hate LUV Stories was different again. He has not come on the sets once. It is Siddharth’s film all and all. Karan doesn’t want his directors to get intimidated or influenced by his presence. That’s great because Karan is a guy who gets involved so much on the pre-production level and leaves them once the film goes on floors. We Are Family isn’t a Karan Johar film; it’s a Siddharth Malhotra film all out.
We Are Family isn’t a Karan Johar film; it’s a Siddharth Malhotra film all out.
“It’s the best casting we can ever have for a film like this”
A film like this could be very melodramatic, could be over the top and all those things but I feel We Are Family is very restrained, very dignified and every character has played their part with a lot of dignity and maturity. That is also happening because Kareena is in great form. She is doing good work and is pushing the envelope. Kajol is natural; she is so good when it comes to films like We Are Family. The casting is spot on.
“I am a father and my equation with my kids is in a particular way”
I am a father. My equation with my kids in the house is in a particular way which is endearing. Kajol is a mother too and is hands on. Her approach to children is very different. Even off screen, you can see her scolding children, laughing and joking with them. Then you have a Kareena who doesn’t have any children and she is been put into a situation where she needs to deal with them. So how would she, was the question. That awkwardness and gawkiness comes out quite realistically in Kareena.
I always say that I am surrounded by women in my own house and I sometimes say, “Where are the guys man?”
My father teases and calls me a ‘Ladies man’
I always say that I am surrounded by women in my own house and I sometimes say, “Where are the guys man?” (Laughs). My father teases me and calls me ‘A Ladies man’. There was a suggestion coming from both me and Siddharth Malhotra in We Are Family. You must’ve seen it in the first theatrical promo in the end when I talk to my kid in the film. We were sitting on a dining table and I told Siddharth that there has to be a conversation where two men have to have a man to man kind of conversation and he asked, “What should the conversation be?” I answered, “It’s tough to live with all these women…and that’s when the kid should turn around and say ‘tell me about it, you went and got one more’.” We all loved it and went ahead using it and it turned out to be the best part in the promo.
“I thought the message was really beautiful”
We Are Family is endearing and it touches your heart. Why is the film called We Are Family? The message is loud and clear – Live in the moment, don’t dwell in the past. What you have around you which we all take for granted are also just visitors, so cherish that. That’s a very noble message to give out. At times, we do neglect our parents, our families. After watching this movie, people should just go and give their parents a big hug. I did the film because I thought the message was really beautiful.
“Karan said that the film is a refreshing cry”
Kajol is a phenomenal actress. I’ve always loved her work. Going out there and doing scenes with her which are totally on her turf is a different ball game. The way she cries and emotes, the way her body language changes is amazing. She is fantastic in the film. She is so right for that character. After Karan Johar saw the film he said, “We Are Family is a refreshing cry.” That’s the whole idea. You will feel so much positivity after watching We Are Family.