Tell us about your new film ACTION REPLAYY.
I'm going to quickly get this out of the way; it is NOT an 'Action' film!! Ok now we're good to go… So Retro here we come people! This is what I would call one of those lovely romantic comedy films. Our tribute to the 70's. It's about a son who goes to extreme measures to revive his parent's marriage. He travels back in time to fix what is clearly very wrong in mine & Aishwarya's extremely dead marriage, he rewinds our life so we can ACTION REPLAYY our life long weaknesses & hopefully get it right second time around. What happens next is a festival of emotions & definitely a Diwali everyone will want to Replayy
Please describe your role? Is it unique compared to the characters you have portrayed before? If so in which way?
I play an extremely innocent Husband, a man that only lives to please his demanding wife. My son hates our marriage, so when returning to 70's he tries to teach me to become 'The Man' I should have been. I'm a nervous wreck, I let people walk, talk & abuse me like a street Hawker with bad breath. But my path to better myself is one very memorable journey, & I must say to play the quirks of the 70's was so much fun compared to the characters of today…
How did this role change you?
"I let people abuse me…"
It changed me completely!! I went from 'Me' at the script reading, to becoming a greasy long haired half blind weakling of a husband, to then an 'almost' strong, bouncy haired handsome 70's stud. It was so interesting to portray versatility in 'one' character in 'one' film…
You are known for your meticulous comic timing and are India's ultimate action hero – how much of your role in ACTION REPLAYY combines both your comedy and action skills?
Not much because 'This is not an 'Action' film,' let me make that perfectly clear, you might see the odd bit of humorous action but nothing to scream from the roof tops. There is one scene where I have a typical 70's Dshmmm Dshmmm fight which is classic, but you have to wait & see why. This film has way more romantic comic timing than anything else, it has a special touch to it that makes you just 'Sighhhh' out loud & make you want to hold your partners hand…
What attracted you to the script of ACTION REPLAYY?
Well actually it's a Theatrical play that Vipul Shah made & starred in years ago, in fact it was an extremely famous & very popular play. I remember my parents going to see it together, I'll never forget what my mother said when she came home! "Bitta, you should see this play, & learn you only get one chance at marriage, so be a man & get it right the first time." I had no idea what she was talking about, but imagine all these years later I'm actually remaking it with the very same man who created it. I know what my mother was saying now, 'We don't get a second chance in this life, what we do today makes all the difference for tomorrow.' that's why I know this movie will open many eyes, it's completely directed at every single one of us…
Tell us about working with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Oh I'd love to!! It's been a long time since Ash & I have worked together, yet it was so easy. Everyone knows how absolutely beautiful she is, but what amazes me is every single shot she gives a million dollar shot with her expressions, her timing, her grace is mesmerizing & then she casually sits down with all of us & tells stories, she even reminded me of a huge accident that happened to her in KHAKEE, where she was trapped under a vehicle between a cactus & a car that had rolled over her & crushed her leg. I was the first person on the scene, she was petrified but seeing me she became calm, apparently she knew I was the only person that would remove her safely from the wreck, then I rushed her to hospital. I had completely forgotten all this, so when she reminded me I now think how brave she was. I have so much respect for her on & off screen, & because I feel that same respect from her also it's very comforting working in that kind of atmosphere…
How did they make you look old for the film? What was the experience like?
I'll never forgive Vipul for doing this to me, everyday I would curse & abuse him for making me wear a wig in the hottest month in India with alcohol & chemicals slapped on my face to make me look like an old haggard husband, even though I know I was acting like child who'd been banned from eating chocolate. I would rather love to jump out of a burning plane into a thorn bush than have to go through this process again. This is why Mr. Bachchan deserves so much respect for what he endured filming PAA. I could never do it, not peacefully anyway. But I must say Vipul hired the best make-up & wig artists from Australia, who have won many awards for their work including Oscars. Paul was very patient with me & he truly is an expert. But get this, Aishwarya would still look like a 21-year-old, even when they tried to make her look 50, her beauty is way more than skin deep.
You & Vipul Shah have given quite a few successful films like WAQT – THE RACE AGAIANST TIME, NAMASTEY LONDON, SINGH IS KINNG, what do you expect from ACTION REPLAYY? Will it hit the box office the same way?
I'm so sorry me & Vipul own a time machine that only travels back in time, it unfortunately doesn't visit the future, so I should say only God knows what lies ahead, & he's keeping very quiet, (he knows how much I love suspense. Of course we would all love another super Box Office success, it really is a lovely movie I don't see why it wouldn't… Touch wood, fingers crossed and all that jazz………………….
You have delivered consecutive hits with Vipul – what is your relationship like with him? What makes his films and your jodi a success?
You make it sound like we're married. It is our 5th film together & every one of them has been memorable in Hindi film history, which is an amazing record, but we work so well together because we both respect each other as utmost professionals, we have full faith in each others movements, the effort we give to our movies & our passions for film is identical. We try very hard not to let each other down or let anything get in the way of work or our friendship. That's where many relationships in this industry go wrong, they get mixed up with personal & professional decisions, very few are pure blooded genuine friendships, it's the same all over the world, I guess mine & Vipul's is one of those special cases.
Can you describe the music soundtrack of the film? What's your favourite song from the film? Does the soundtrack have a disco / retro flavour?
Ah well my favourite song is 'Zor Ka Jhatka' I love the beat & it has one of my favourite dance moves which I hope becomes a trend. The music from this film makes you come alive, we have disco, we have classic retro, we have romance, holi, party numbers, we have a great ensemble of songs… So get ready.