The Yaariyan actress opens up about working with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan as well...
Rakul Preet Singh has been doing a handful of south films. She is also making a comeback to Bollywood with a Ramesh Sippy directorial. I recently happened to catch up with her over a call and here's what she had to say about her upcoming releases....
You have done a handful of films down south. A lot of Bollywood actresses started their careers down south e.g. Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra. Do you think South films are a sure shot ticket to Bollywood? I mean they definitely help, don't they?
Yes a lot of them have started from South be it 20 years back or now. I don't think it is a sure shot ticket but it surely does refine you as an actor. I feel the more you work the more you learn and get prepared to face the challenges. That's the only way it can help but having said this it doesn't mean you work in South just to enter Bollywood. It's for the love of films. At least that's true in my case.
You are starring opposite superstar Ravi Teja in Kick 2. We have seen that heroines usually have little to do in big superstar vehicles. How important is your character in Kick 2?
My character in Kick 2 is super exciting. Being the female lead I had 70 working days so you can imagine. It's very well crafted and I'm quite "kicked" about it.
Ravi Teja's Kick was remade in Hindi starring Salman Khan. I think both Salman and Ravi Teja fans would want to know if Kick 2 is a continuation of Kick? If yes, then what happens to Ileana's character?
Well it is a sequel but not on the same lines. It's quite different and I guess the fans will have to wait and watch what happens to Ileana's character.
You have always played the vivacious girl next door. But in films like Yaariyan and Current Theega you shared screen with actresses like Evelyn Sharma and Sunny Leone who effortlessly pull off bold scenes. Were you ever intimidated by them?
No. Never. Every person has a specific role and I don't think anyone can overshadow what's written for you. I'm happy with both the films.
Will we ever see you doing bold scenes in future?
Depends whether it's needed for the film or not. If it's just a film selling on the basis of bold scenes I won't do it.
A lot South heroines ditch regional cinema when they get Bollywood projects. Would you still do a Telugu or Tamil flick, after a film with Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan?
Haha! Let me first get an SRK or Salman film and then I will think. One thing I can say for sure is that I will try and balance both as much as I can. My career began in the south and I won't purposely ditch it.
Talking about Bollywood, how is Shimla Mirchi shaping up? Tell us about the storyline of the film.
Well, I guess it's shaping up quite well. It's a cute quirky love story with three main people — Rajkummar Rao, Hema Malini and myself. Its a pleasure to be working with such amazing actors and a legendary director.
The film is Ramesh Sippy's directorial comeback. How did you end up grabbing such an important project?
Ramesh Sir had seen my Airtel campaign which was quite a hit. He loved me in that and once I auditioned and I was in. On the other hand, I loved the script too. My role is a complete contrast to what I was seen in Yaariyan. It's a brilliant role.
How's Ramesh Sippy as a director?
I honestly don't think I could have been luckier. We all know how great a director he is but, despite that he gives his actors all the space and freedom to perform and analyse a scene. Besides all this he is an amazing person. He is truly a mentor.
You have worked with a first time director like Divya Kumar and now you are working with a directorial legend. What sort of differences do you find in their approach towards filmmaking?
Well I don't know the differences as such because my work is to give what the director demands. The similarity is that both are equally passionate about their work.
Your last B-Town film Yaariyan did well, but you didn't go on to get a lot of films in Bollywood. Why so?
I did get a lot of films but I didn't take any as I was doing a bunch of films in Telugu around the release of Yaariyan and I didn't want to take up just anything that came my way. The kind of films I am doing in Telugu are bigger than what I was getting but when I got Shimla Mirchi I jumped to it. Even after this releases I will only take up a film if it excites me.
Are you being choosy and picky in selecting the scripts?
Don't know if it's being choosy, but yes I am trying to be careful.
You are also sharing screen space with stalwart like Hema Malini and National Award winner Rajkummar Rao. How was the experience with them?
Superb. Both of them are super grounded. Lovely people. Raj has a great sense of humour and one can literally die laughing at his jokes. Hemaji is in real sense a dream girl and it was a pleasure working with her.
Could you share some funny incidents from during the shoot of the film Shimla Mirch and Kick 2?
Well both films have been super fun. Shimla Mirchi has been a lovely journey. Lots of pranks, travel, learning and fun. And so is Kick 2. I can't really pinpoint one incident but you can imagine what a laugh riot it must have been with the presence of Sanjay Mishra and Rajpal Yadav.
What other future projects do we get to see you in Bollywood?
I haven't signed anything in Hindi yet. Hopefully soon.
Down South what other films are in the pipeline?
I'm doing Kick 2 with Ravi Teja. Besides it I'm doing a film with Junior NTR.
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