How did you feel when Maneesh read you the script OF BAND BAAJA BAARAAT?
I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I love romcoms. Ever since I became an actress, which was not very long ago, I wanted to do a romantic comedy but I don’t see such films being made in our country like something I can fall in love with. I fell in love with this script as soon as it was narrated to me. When Maneesh narrated the script to me I did not realise how those three/three and a half hours passed. I was completely engrossed because Maneesh’s narration was lovely. His understanding of the characters was great. He was narrating exactly how he wanted the characters to say the dialogues. I understood the idea and the world of the film instantly because of the narration and I was in love with the film so much that I didn’t have to tell him that. After the narration I didn’t find it important to tell him that I loved the script and wanted to do it or didn’t want to do it, I also took that liberty because he is a friend, and we have shared a great relationship over three years.
Did you and Maneesh know each other before BAND BAAJA BAARAAT?
We have been friends for three years. Maneesh had been instrumental in me being in RAB NE BANA DI JODI. He was the person that auditioned me for Taani, that’s how long back we go. It’s very rare that you get a Hindi film script which is a romcom… in a romcom there is never a story. It’s always about a boy meeting a girl… how they meet, what happens, what’s the conflict – this is always the story. It’s the story telling in this script, the screenplay and the dialogues that completely grasp you as a listener. This script completely took over me when I read it, and this is
‘I was very scared of Adi initially.’
Tell us a bit about your character, Shruti Kakkar.
Shruti could be a girl from any Indian city – Delhi, Bangalore, Nagpur, Mumbai. She wants to do a lot in life. She has many goals, is very ambitious and she is a very principled and well brought up kid from a loving close family. Her goal to be a wedding planner was perhaps set from the third wedding she ever attended with her parents when she had decided that I want to be part of these huge weddings, this glamour and I wanted to be making it in this world. She knew this right from the beginning ever since she was young and anything else that was surrounding – boys etc, friends; movies are all distractions like they are all uskee paao ki jooti.
CHECK OUT: Anushka doesn’t care about her look and walk
How did you prepare for this role – the world of wedding planners and the world of a Delhi girl?
We play wedding planners but that’s not the film – it’s just the backdrop. It’s a love story. As much as we needed to know about the planners was provided in the script as Maneesh and Habib Faisal (Screenplay & Dialogue writer) had researched extensively. Maneesh has been to so many weddings in his life in Delhi that he had a pretty good idea about it. Me on the other hand , I have not attended any wedding because by the time I was fourteen I was done with all the weddings in my family and nobody got married after that. I had to obviously learn a few things. And of course I learned things from Maneesh but when I read the script I didn’t really feel I needed to know exactly what a wedding planner was coz that is not the film – it’s not a documentary on wedding planning, it’s a film simply set in the environment and it’s primarily a love story.
How was the experience working with Maneesh Sharma?
I met Maneesh for the first time during my auditions for RNBDJ – he was playing table tennis and was sweating when I first saw him! He was the Associate Director. We became friends that very day we got along that day itself, because I was very scared of Adi initially, Maneesh was the medium between us. So we became friends. Maneesh is one of the five people I know in Mumbai ever since I have been here. Maneesh understands me, he understands my gestures and the things I do with my hands, my face, my eyes like anything, some of my movements that even I am not aware of he had observed me and he could take that out and make it a part of Shruti’s characteristics. It was lovely working with Maneesh. I didn’t have to pretend anytime. I could just go up and tell him ‘dude mujhe samajh nahi aa rahaa hai‘ or say I don’t agree with this. So there was no pretense. When we were on set of course we were director and actor but here was a comfort level, which I have never shared in my life that has helped me a lot to play Shruti.
Till sometime ago the professions parents wanted their kids to enter into was doctors, lawyers or engineers. Apart from that there was nothing and going into anything else meant that because they couldn’t do anything else the kid is doing this… but with Shruti, in this film she always wanted to be a wedding planner and her parents were always supportive of what she wanted to do. I think things are changing in our society and parents are allowing their kids to do what they want to do. Shruti stands for that generation, that youth. She wants to be a wedding planner. Log jaante bhi nahi hai wedding planners kya hota hai. In India this is a service only provided to the high society with a high budget. There is a dialogue in the film ‘maame chaache milke shaadiyaan karaan lete hain.’ Another thing the movie touches upon, even me I belong to this generation is that we choose work over love in today’s time. I do that too. You feel now is the time to work. You feel whatever comes into my life will distract me from my path and I should not loose focus but we fail to understand that these are things we cannot control. Feelings of love cannot be controlled when someone comes into your life and you are not even aware of it. You are so completely lost and we completely just shut that side of ours to it… that emotion. And we just start thinking that will never happen and we think hum to correct jaa rahein hain and we are being correct and being all principled and following our dreams but these things suddenly strike you in life. And you gotta make a choice and that’s another thing you see in this film.
How was the experience working tell us about Ranveer Singh?
When I was called for the narration I was informed there was a new guy in the room and I was kind of thinking he will be this new guy in the movie. So I met Ranveer for the first time at the
‘I’m not very confident of my growth as an actor.’
You have worked with Shahrukh and Shahid in the past, who are very experienced. So how was it working with Raveer, who’s a newcomer?
People will assume that because I worked with Shahrukh Khan or Shahid Kapoor and comparatively I am still very new, only in my third film, and when you work with people who are experienced and seasoned you learn a lot from them and that’s nice… and that helps you as an actor in your growth. So I assumed that from Ranveer I won’t learn so much. You know just do my part in the film and go out of it but I must say today I have learned a lot from him as an actor. Ranveer is the most inhibited actor I know and I genuinely mean this not that I know too many of them but Ranveer is one of the most uninhibited people I have met. If he had come on set and was doing breathing exercises that he was very fond of. He would just start doing kapal bharti which was so irritating in the beginning but he just didn’t care and it takes getting used to but he just wouldn’t care. He knew everyone was waiting for him but he just wouldn’t care and at the end of the day if he can deliver the scenes like it was meant to then he can do whatever before that, it’s fine and I like that attitude about him and I really learned from him.
A lot has been send about Ranveer and Anushka’s chemistry. What do you have to say about it?
It is a huge misconception that chemistry comes from actors. Chemistry comes from characters and from the script… when the script is so well written as this one was. If you are a decent actor and honest to your job and have a decent understanding of your character then you just do your thing honestly. I have done my thing and Ranveer has done his things. It just worked out so well me and Ranveer. We were not discussing what should we do so that the chemistry works even Maneesh never discussed this, we simply came together and performed and there you have Bittoo and Shruti!
CHECK OUT: BAND BAAJA BAARAT Movie Preview
Did you guide Ranveer along the way?
I used to actually get nostalgic when I saw Ranveer’s journey especially the time when he was doing his auditions. I met him while he was doing auditions. I used to feel I know exactly what it feels like being in that place so every stage of Ranveer’s journey especially auditions I have been able to relate to. I was exactly in that same place two years ago so I felt a little protective towards him for this reason coz I saw myself there like the first time his picture came in the news papers in Delhi he was saying people are saying this and that and I completely could relate to that. I was always baattaaoing my gyaan with him so we had that common factor going. When I acted in RNBDJ for the first time, I just wanted to be instructed enough then left alone. That’s how I am so far. So here I just did my reading with Ranveer and left him alone and you never had to tell anything to Ranveer. Maneesh was always handling him. Maneesh just used to say bring this down or tone this up. You never really had to say much to him as he was always prepared, he knew his lines, he was focused, in fact you had to get him out of his zone, you had to say hey Ranveer you are stepping on my foot that’s how he used to get! So he did his bit and if he needed anything I was always around him and what gyaan can you baataao in two films?
Anushka of RNBDJ to Anushka of BBB. How has that been?
Obviously I am more confident as an actor, I have more confidence, I have started to understand some technicalities of filmmaking… you start to understand more, you understand how you can give dialogues in a certain way coz you are more confident about it, apart from that I have had more experiences. First I used to think aap jaise ho duniya vaise hoti hai but I know that’s not how the world will be and u have to adapt to all kinds of people – this is very important for me. I was very young when I was in RAB NE… and this journey had enabled me as an actor. I am not very confident of my growth as an actor but I am very confident of my growth as a person.