Badshah who has been everyone’s go-to for rap music has now tried his hand on acting. We can catch him in Khandaani Shafakhana, his debut film with Sonakshi Sinha. The movie will be out in theatres on 2nd August. The rapper-turned-actor is quite charming in the trailer and wishes to move further ahead in the acting row.

Q. How was your experience working in a comedy film as your debut?
: Frankly, I didn’t realize when did the shooting of the film got over. When the script was brought to me, I liked it and I also liked the role but I did not give my 100% approval on playing that part. But I didn’t realize how time passed, when I reached on the sets, when did I start and finish the shooting. Now that the trailer is also out, I have started realizing that, yes, the film is coming out. Otherwise I wasn’t ready to accept this fact, I wondered why would they make me a hero? Why would anyone put money on me? There are so many great heroes already but the character was good so I enjoyed doing it.

Q. Was there any hesitation related to the subject of the film?
There was some hesitation but then I thought even Ayushmann does such roles and I have always liked his roles. I wished I could also get such roles someday. So when I got this role, I was comfortable with it, also because I am playing a singer in this role. So there were many factors as well as people who compelled me to do this. Sonakshi and Varun, who are friends, I had already a great rapport with XYZ sir and Shilpi ma’am also made it very easy for me. So I thought even if I made a mistake, nobody would scold me as I was scared for it. So I was very comfortable.

Q. How much takes did your first scene/shot took to film?
The first scene got done in the first take itself. After every take, I used to look at Shilpi ma’am and then she used to walk towards me and Sonakshi.  I would always think that now she will suggest me something but she used to turn towards Sonakshi and suggest her. I used to be shocked that this means I have done it correctly!

Q. What was scarier for you, releasing your first album or your first film?
I think, I had nothing to lose in my first song, nobody knew me. So I was okay with any possibility. But now people know me. So I was worried about this.

Q. For how long have you been thinking about coming into acting? Was Ayushmann your inspiration?
 I was never inclined towards acting but then few years back when offers started coming my way, I thought that even I could do this. I noticed that Ayushmann has created a niche for himself. I loved his characters, they felt very real and relevant to me. So even I wanted to play such charcaters.

Q. Have you rejected any film before this?
 The first one which I rejected was Lust Stories. I was approached for Vicky Kaushal’s role. It didn’t feel right for me and my image. Then I was approached for Good News, for DIljit’s role. Then the third role which was offered to me had a similar subject so I was confused. So I thought I should just break this jinx and move ahead.

Q.  After Gully Boy, the rap genre has reached its peak. How do you feel about it?
I am extremely happy about it. I feel that happy that this genre is getting recognized. And this is also very important for those kids who are leading that lifestyle and who are coming from that background, they are getting a chance to put out their voices. I think that is fabulous. That is what rap is all about, it is about using your voice and telling your stories. But we, Indians, have added the entertainment factor in it because of our Bollywood music. I am really happy how Divine and Emiway is performing. Now this is being accepted. Initially even comedy wasn’t a big genre but then it got bigger, Kapil Sharma entered it. Dancing genre wasn’t that big, then Remo sir gave dancing a higher stage. Now rappers are also being treated with respect.

Q. Do you write your own lyrics for your song? Do you keep in mind that your songs should be heard by all age groups?
 Yes, I write it on my own. When we were young, we were reckless; we never paid attention to our responsibilities towards our society. But as I grew older, I became more responsible and conscious about my society. I feel evolved so now I won’t be able to write a party song like before, it would be a bit different. But I make sure that whatever I write or shoot in a music video, should be heard or watched by maximum people with no restrictions. I have realized that my fan following maximum constitutes kids, so what is the use of keeping visuals which the kids won’t be able to watch.

Q. Do you keep this mind that whatever film you choose should also convey a social message?
 I did not make a conscious decision that I want to convey a message through this film. But it’s good, if it has a message. But as an entertainer, you have to serve public and its good if you are bringing a smile on their faces. And it’s wrong for me if I am doing a film which is not enjoyed by the public.

Q. Talking about sex is still a taboo in India, how was the condition related to this in your home which you were a child?
 We did not talk about this. Although my school had started sex education from our batch so it was helpful for us. So our school took care of that. Even though at first all the students were taken aback but I should give credits to that teacher who explained us everything so properly with patience. And that is how this film is. Here our director is like my teacher. I would urge all parents to go and talk about this with their kids. It is very important to let children know about the importance of having safe sex and also that a sexual disorder is just like any other disorder and it can be cured. Sex is not something which you should not talk about. It’s important for telling children to not have a fear of judgment. As soon as you accept it, half of the job is done.

Q. Do you think it was a conscious decision to cast you in the film as you would add to the volume of audience?
 From producer’s point, it was a very wise decision. But choosing this character for myself was an organic choice, it wasn’t forced. Even Sonakshi told me that I popped up in her mind when she first heard about the character.

Q. What kind of reaction did you receive from the industry after the trailer launched?
Karan sir messaged me saying the trailer looks fun and you look amazing. Some of my friends from the industry said they loved the trailer and also my role in it. So I have only received positive feedback till now.

Q. Was it difficult to say no to Karan Johar for Lust Stories?
I have never treated him professionally. We have never talked about work properly and we spoke very casually about this role as well. So it was okay. We only gossip whenever we meet.

Q. Do you have any other topic in your mind which you think should be addressed in a movie?
I think a film should be made on farmers. It is a not a small problem, like sex, it is a prevalent subject.  Whatever is happening with the farmers is also a big issue and everyone should do their part about it. Film is a medium through which people get inspired. Like when Uri released, everyone become patriotic.

Q. Will you write a song for the farmers?
Yeah I can do that from my part.

Q. Rap artists have a way of presenting themselves, like wearing lose tshirts and jackets. Is this aura created purposefully?
I wear jackets only to cover my stomach. If I had a great body to show off, I would have sat here like Shahid Kapoor. There is also a concept of showing off such pricey jackets. I belong from Punjab so the characteristic of showing off is inbuilt in me. There is also a competition between me, Karan sir and Diljit in terms of wearing such jackets or clothes.

Q. Did you ask your director whether they need you to change your physique for the role?
I asked them but they said they need a cute character, not someone with abs. SoI was acceptable.

Q. How much do you spend on your clothes?
I can’t tell you that, otherwise my parents would come to know. But I drive my team crazy by shopping pricey shoes. I love shopping.

Q. Why do you think Punjabi songs are getting so famous?
I think because Punjabi is accepted and it is kind of related to Hindi so people can also understand it somehow. These songs have a very bright and energetic composition. Now all independent musicians are coming on top but Punjabis consider themselves very different, they are not concerned with Bollywood. It is matter of pride and conviction for them.

Q. Why did you choose rap as your thing?
I rap because I can’t sing. If I could sing, then I would have chosen singing. I like rap, we can say a lot of things in one go. And I also love poetry so that makes me like rap too.

Q. Songs are very important for a movie, they pull audiences towards it. When you do a song for a film, do you think you get enough credit for it?
 You get that credit from the audience. I also earn my money through it. So I have no complaints from anyone. But I had a lot of pressure for this film as I was also in it so I wanted to make best songs for it. Initially I didn’t like the songs I was creating for this movie but now I think we have succeeded in creating a good soundtrack for it.

Q. Are you scared of your mother related to things like shopping?
 No, I am not scared of her but I don’t want her to interfere in all this. So I don’t tell many things to people.

Q. You have reached a different level with regards to fame. How do you keep yourself grounded?
 People keep me grounded through social media. Even my cousins and family treat me like that.

Q. How do you handle the negative side of social media?
 I reply back to them. Negative comments do affect me but I can’t do anything about it. I channelize them otherwise you will go mad. Karan sir was telling me recently that there is a point where you are not that strong in your life and you break down because of this negativity. So this life comes with that. You have chosen this life, you need to be able to find a solution for that.

Q. Has success ever overpowered you?
Yeah, it happens sometimes.  Like sometimes, I decline to click photos sometimes, not because of my ‘success and ego’ but because I don’t like being photographed ever since I was a child because my photos never came good.

Q. How do you handle stardom?
The way that this stardom has arrived, it will always leave one day. Someone else will come forward. And I am aware of this. I treat this as a healthy competition but somewhere there is that thing that you want to do more work. Fame will come and go. There is no fear of this now. Initially there was but not now.

Q. There was a statement that rappers don’t get respect like Gulzar sahab and Javed sahab, what do you feel about this?
 We don’t get that respect but we get a different respect and response from people of this generation. Maybe kids these days like what we say and do not understand what these people put out.

Q. What other genres are you looking forward to now?
I am taking acting seriously. I am serious on sets because I want to perform well. I want to play a dark character like Khilji. My character in this movie is of a singer who is sort of arrogance. So when the shoot got over, that arrogance stayed in me which was very wrong. And that happened with Ranveer Singh too. It actually happens.

Q. Have you signed any other film now? Any movie which has been approached to you?
No, not yet. Some movies have been approached to me.

Q. What about your music?
I will put out independent music soon. I am trying to be relevant and reinvent myself. I try to put out songs which is relatable to everyone. You have to treat yourself like your audience because we all are the same.

By Rujuta Thete

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