Raj Arjun is an actor known for his role in movies like Raees and Shabri. He has also acted in other Hindi movies like Kaalo. He has also acted in Tamil movies like Thaandavam. Recently he was seen in Hindi Bollywood film ‘’Secret Superstar’’ (2017).
There was a scene in the film where your son Guddu by mistakenly makes your cup of tea fall on you and you try to hit him but stop so how did you get into that zone?
Yes there was a scene in the film where my son Guddu by mistakenly makes the cup of tea fall on me and I try to hit him but stop. It’s not about getting into any sort of a zone as this thing and psychology is very common and prevalent in our Indian society where by in real life I’ve seen many people with such a psychology around me.
It’s like in reality even if your son makes a mistake in childhood or does something unintentionally you just forgive him for his deeds but if the same thing is done by your daughter then you don’t forgive her for the same and you have a tendency to scold her or even beat her at times.
For getting into the skin of my character I just had to sort of absorb that kind of a mentality and psychology within myself and after that only my character came out in a so much better way than what was expected originally from me.
Here in the film even when I want to I could not beat my son for his mistake as my character then stops and remembers that he’s my own flesh and blood, my son who’d probably be my successor as well and also my character is attached to his son very much in the film and he always gets toys, chocolates and gifts for his son only but not for his wife and daughter as he’s not attached to his wife and daughter in film at all.
Was that a reflection of entirety in what we saw in climax where character of granny says that ‘’Teri maa ne 9 mahine fight kiya tujhe iss duniya me lane ke liye kyunki abba ko ladki nahi chahiye thi’’?
This has been happening in our Indian society since ages where the typical patriarchal society is not at all happy if there’s a girl in their family as it’s not a very proud and good feeling for them to be honest.
If it’s a boy then his mistakes, antics, pranks, and naughtiness we tell in a very happy mood and joyfully as a quality but if it’s a girl then we tend to tell it in a sad and upset way as a mistake, highlighting the girl’s irresponsibility for the same and also blaming the mother for it as well.
That statement of granny in film that ‘’Teri maa ne 9 mahine fight kiya tujhe iss duniya me lane ke liye kyunki abba ko ladki nahi chahiye thi’’ clearly highlights that Insiya was a burden on character of Abba in film as he was really not happy with her being his daughter right from day one in the film so right from Insia’s childhood her Abba is not attached to her and his wife in any way due to the same factor.
When you got this role in the film did you have a discussion with director regarding your character and the questions that you had in your mind related to the same?
Actually this is my approach that I don’t ask many questions to director regarding my character or the film and also am very scared of the fact that if I ask many questions to director than he’d end up being very irritated and just tell me that please don’t do method acting and over acting as well and also he’d tell me that don’t come to set from next day onwards as its very irritating that you ask me so many questions for same.
So what I do is that I don’t ask questions to director but rather try to do a self-analysis assessment to those questions and try to build a logic that leads me to the answers to my questions when I sleep at night during that time so I get a lot of different type of answers and reasoning’s / reasons to my questions and in this way I try to prepare a background to my character in film.
Are you into method acting and did you have any intensive workshops for your preparation of your character in film?
No I am not into method acting but yes its true that I do so much preparation for my character in the film that me and my mind gets tired very easily and my preparation for character in film starts right from moment the director tells me that I am playing this character in film and gives me the script for the same and even if script is not there still my preparation for getting into skin of my character is just on like even when am driving, eating food or sleeping as well and that can be anything like sensible or senseless without a head or a tail as well and sometimes is not even connected to the script of the film.
My upbringing has been such that now it’s just got permanently embedded into my genes and by default every time I do use the same method as well. Sometimes even I get very much fed up and irritated by myself due to the same like when that much of hard work is not needed then why am I doing that much of hard work for my character in film.
How did ‘’Secret Superstar’’ happen to you?
Firstly the earlier films references work for big film actors not for actors like me as I feel that may be am not that much of a good actor even now. I feel that it was destiny and it’s a long story where there has been a lot of contribution and assessment of many people who’ve finalized me for getting this role in film most important people who’ve finalized me is Aamir Sir as without his permission and nod or a green signal nothing can take place or be finalized as Aamir Khan Productions is a very big production house and also Secret Superstar was a very big, ambitious and a prestigious film as well and so Aamir Sir’s permission was needed in each and everything in film. Directly Aamir sir was not there in my approach at all first few days.
Tell us your story about how life was before Secret Superstar happened to you in 2017?
The story goes this way that from 1999 till 2015 that’s last to last year I was very fed up, irritated and damn frustrated with asking for work in film industry from casting directors, big famous directors, producers who so ever was in my approach.
Till 2015 I was very dejected and depressed from my life where I felt that nothing would happen in my life and my dream of being an actor would just be a dream and not be a reality and then I lost my self-confidence and esteem as well and then I thought that may be destiny doesn’t want me to be an actor in bollywood films so who am I to go against it and fight with it.
17 years I gave to Bombay that is from 1999 to 2015 and before that for 12 years I did theatre in Bhopal so it was a very long journey where in the end I was physically exhausted but not mentally at all as in my mind and body there is nothing else but only acting and even if I’d die then I’d die with my dream and wish of becoming an actor in bollywood films.
So physically I had stopped doing efforts for same. One day my daughter Sara who does ads and commercials in TV was called by Mukesh Chhabra’s Casting Company and so I went along with her over there. So I was sitting outside on sofa so I don’t know as to what happened to Mukesh that day but then he told me to read some few lines that laptop scene in film and after I read those lines it was sent to Advait who liked it very much and then again I gave audition to Abhishek Anmol the casting director for the film since Mukesh had left it.
Has Advait ever told you that you’ve to do this scene this way or that way during shoot of film?
No as in one or two scenes I got a very good feedback from him and he’s just like Aamir Sir as Aamir sir always doesn’t take credit he just pushes and encourages you to give your best foot forward and complete 100% for the same.
In secret superstar Aamir Sir had done an extended cameo role of Shakti Kumar which was a small but very powerful role and he just pulled it off effortlessly but if someone ever tells me to do such a type of a role in any film I’d be very scared to even attempt doing the same as for me it’d be very difficult to bring a variety in that type of a role the way Aamir sir has done in the film.
Was it easy for you to switch off once camera was off while you were off screen during film shoot?
No actually I didn’t switch off at all as even off screen once camera was off I was in my character only and was in that type of a zone as well where I didn’t even talk or used to interact with any one on the sets be it Zaira or Meher and I also didn’t used to chill and hangout with other actors off screen.
I was so insecure and there was such a huge responsibility on my shoulders that I didn’t even dare to switch on or off even when camera was off during film shoot and also it’s not my habit to do a switch on or off as after 18 years of struggle in film industry I had got work and a role which was just written for me and I wanted to live that character so I had two options that either I switch off once off screen and chill with my co actors or I don’t switch it off and try to live that character for a long period of time so I chose the second option as my hunger for the character was more and also I have a habit of not leaving a character very easily.
By Vrinda Mundara.