Rakul Preet Singh opens up about her experience with Aiyaary

Rakul Preet Singh made a huge impact with her role in Aiyaary this year. But somewhere she always knew that destiny would have her working with Neeraj Pandey, one of the most sought-after filmmakers in the Hindi film industry. She says, “[o]bviously, I didn’t have it in my mind that a film with Neeraj sir would come back to me, because I honestly feel that was just destined to happen.  The first time I auditioned, it was for Neeraj sir. Then, I signed a film with him, we had readings, everything – but, the schedule was shifted by a month and I already had three Telugu films I was shooting for that month, so I couldn’t shift the dates. I was upset that I missed out on a great project. But I also don’t remain upset for a long time. I don’t get overly sad or overly happy also. Then, I totally forgot about it."

Being a huge sensation in the South, she also knew that if she did a Hindi film, it would have to be the kind that she would feel that she had an impact with her role in the film. Talking about this more, Rakul Preet says, “I definitely knew that if I do a Hindi film, it would be big – otherwise, it wouldn’t appeal to me because I was working majorly in the South at that time, so it needed to make sense to me to leave that market, come and do a film here. Obviously, it had to make sense so the project had to be at the same level that I was doing there.”

So when the casting call came forAiyaary¸ asking her to come to Mumbai and hear the narration, it was a situation where destiny worked its magic. But, I ask her, quite candidly, was it the instant connect with the film or the fact that Neeraj Pandey was making the film…what exactly made her say yes?

She responds,  “In my head, I knew that whatever the film may be, Neeraj sir is a fine director. I also knew that the role they were offering me was opposite Sidharth, and Sidharth has such a great name in the market too. He is one of the young stars. Then, there was ManojBaypayee – and to me, a journey which consists of some of the finest people in their work department, I mean, be it the director, or the actors we have in the film, that was so important. You just learn so much when you work with people with that much experience, you know. That is great for the person you are, but also the actor you are.”

Rakul Preet continues, “I remember Neeraj sir telling me I could take some time to think about my role and what the film was about, and I said to him, “sir, nothing to think about. I would love to work for you. It’s a yes from my side. Let me know how we can proceed.””

Of course, as Rakul Preet mentions earlier in our conversation, working with seasoned and talented actors also helps. In fact, the first scene she shot for the film was with Manoj Bajpayee. I ask her if she was nervous at all, and she responds in such a candid way, with a very interesting take: “I don’t get nervous. You need to be excited when you are working with someone of that level. If you become nervous, you shut yourself off from learning. You shut yourself from being yourself. I am always very happy working with people who know more than me.”

Working with Neeraj Pandey has been described as a learning experience by many seasoned actors, as some describe him as the director who you have to unlearn for, because of the style of shooting he likes. Somewhere, Rakul Preet agrees with the unlearning part but says, “[t]hat’s something that you can’t really put into words. It’s a very subconscious process to learn; so is the unlearning part. You just have to, in a sense, go blank and adapt to what the director is saying.”

She then changes the course slightly as she acknowledges that every director has his own way of doing this: “[h]aving said that, every director has a different style of shooting. Some people like to rehearse. Some people like to be spontaneous. Some people like reading. Neeraj sir – he would just tell you where you are, but not everything, because then, you really end up behaving like your character, because that is just how much your actual character should know. You don’t need to know what the other person is saying because acting is action and reaction. Then, you get a real reaction as opposed to me knowing what happens in the next scene.”

Aiyaary truly being one of the more impressive films of the year so far, it is evident that Neeraj Pandey leaves a hugely positive impression on everyone he works with. Rakul Preet agrees, “[h]e is someone who just knows what he is doing so well. He is the writer, director – so he knows everything. No one knows the characters better than him. Whatever we know would be lesser than what he knows so we just listen to Neeraj sir and let yourself be that character as you go with the flow.”

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Armin Sethi

Bollywood Film Fame Canada has been a source of original content consisting of real conversations, reviews, and news of everything film, music, and entertainment for 15 years.

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