The Bollywood shine hasn’t affected Arjun Rampal at all, not even after he has won and collected several awards for his overnight successful cult film Rock On. Today this six feet handsome man stands taller than ever as his career reaches yet another level – a level which only a few have managed to achieve in their decade long career of acting. At the moment though, he is having a laugh with his fellow co-stars Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani in London. We dialed his UK mobile to find out that he is to start his forty day shoot for Housefull out there, is reading a book ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ on a surprisingly sunny afternoon and is ready to party real hard in Central London whenever he gets spare time. Arjun the person is so clever, and privileged, and talkative and engaging and glossy-eyed and vaguely expensive looking, not in a designer sense but in a lucky-enough-to-have-inherited-exquisite-bone-structure sort of way, that he’s precisely the kind of character you’d expect to see popping up in Hindi films. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist talks to Rampal on his two big films: Housefull and Rajneeti, his co-actors:
Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpai and Ajay Devgan, his wife: Mehr, his love for London, his love for food and fashion and the infamous Kasab trial. Alive and kicking from London in this Bollywood Hungama exclusive.
UK is extremely special for me not because Rock On got the only five star rating from there and not because Om Shanti Om grossed more than a million pounds, No. London will always be special for me also because I shot my first home production I See U. I also remember it as a country and a city where I celebrated my first wedding anniversary.
Food and Fashion:
London has some of the world’s best eateries and fashion. The ambience and the energy are pretty exciting. I love shopping in London and especially go to this store called Browns. It’s got some great outfits. As far as food is concerned, I have cut down on the British Jacket Potatoes at the moment (laughs).
Clubs v/s Pubs:
I don’t go to pubs in the UK but you’ll definitely find me in some of the clubs out there. I am a clubbing kind of a guy. There are some great clubs there. I used to go to Ministry of Sound but now it’s too slow paced. Cafe De Paris and a lot of other small clubs have taken over the city of London big time. I like going to clubs because the city has got some of the greatest music you’ll ever hear in your lifetime.
I’m on a mad outdoor schedule this time. But that’s the way I like it. Housefull is an out and out mad comic caper. I’m looking forward for the forty day shoot in London. Then I’m back in Mumbai for the launch of my club on the 28th of August. Then back to the remaining shoot of Rajneeti.
We all are in a constant process of growing as an actor. Akshay Kumar is no different. He has been extremely successful in his career and I wish him even more success. I find that Akshay is far more comfortable in front of the camera than he was when I last saw him in Aankhen. He has proved his talent and has definitely come a long way. My all time favourite film of his is Hera Pheri.
Rock On to Rajneeti:
I go into characters like I play in Rajneeti because I like them and they are something different to do. Whatever has happened post Rock On has been wonderful but you need to move on and forget it. You’ve got to unlearn all the things that you’ve learnt with every film and go and do something new. Rajneeti has me in an intense character I’ve never played before. It’s strong and powerful. There is some crazy stuff I’ve done in Rajneeti and let’s see how people react to it. The idea really is to start pushing the envelope and we all want change. Audiences want the same too. I don’t want to make the kind of mistakes I’ve made in the past but am glad that I did only because today I’m more confident.
Dream photo shoot with Mehr:
It’s really flattering to know that a lot of people want to see me with my wife on the front cover of a magazine. It’s been ages we’ve shot together. But I’m always insecure to shoot with my wife. Mehr is the only one who makes me feel insecure (laughs). It’ll be great to do a nice cover story together. Mehr is great in front of the camera and it’ll be an odd fun to have a shoot like that.
Mehr Jessia Rampal:
Mehr is a very casual person most of the time. She is one girl who doesn’t take long to get ready at all. She will wear anything and will look good in it. She has got this strange classic and a simple vibe about her that makes you inspire and envy, sometimes (laughs). She doesn’t get carried away that easily. She is the ultimate style statement.
Ajay Devgan and Manoj Bajpai:
Ajay Devgan is a complete natural actor. He is a treat for any director. A classic actor. Manoj Bajpai is very theatrical in nature of his acting. He is a genuine gift for any producer director. They both are Indian Film Industry’s best we will ever have. Both have given their best ever shot at Rajneeti. You can only be as good as what you are and they both have proved that every time they’ve faced the camera.
Kasab trial and Indian politics:
The beauty and the burden of a democracy is this: No idea prevails without the support of the majority. Moral issues are decided by the people and not by the majority of one. The whole of India knows about Kasab and his terror act and we as a majority also know what lies ahead of him. When such foreign bodies come and spread terror and create havoc in our country, it only unites the country. It brings all of us together. So when people come together, it is even fierce than terror. Congress today coming in power has shown the different side of India post 26/11. They have become stronger in their approach towards the betterment of our country, whether it’s the economy, industry, infrastructure or terrorism. I think India has got a very good government in place right now and you can see and feel the change.