1.Your look in the film is very different and most talked about - can you tell us a bit about it?
The idea in the film, to give the two characters a different look, was obviously because they are two different characters and we wanted them to be extremely opposite.
The first character is Surinder Sahni - we wanted him to be a very real kind of a person - middle class, or maybe lower middle class kind of a guy, having a fixed routine - perhaps to the extent of being boring, fixed in what he does. Doesn't deviate and life is normal for him and he thinks this is how life should be and also wanted to give him a little bit of amusing quality without making him a caricature, or a comic and to get all that, I think a physical appearance was very very important.
Especially also for the movement of the story, the look was very important, which you will get to know when you see the film. One fine day, I just sort of put some moustache and got some hair piece done and showed it to Adi and Adi said, this is the guy he should look like. It's not just how weird I look, or funny I look, or geeky I look, or simple I look, but the simplicity of the character will permeate through the screen and you will say 'Oh wow! In real life I am like this'.
All of us become little weak when we are in love, all men hide this from their friends and other men, but in front of women they are like chickens or hens and we just don't ever say it. I think Surinder Sahni says it and it's an internal voice of every man who's actually quite baby like when it comes to the women he loves and Surinder Sahni is that persona, and within this whole look is the simplicity and the middle class-ness in the soul - it's just honesty when it comes to a woman.
2.What was your shoot experience like in Punjab?
I have done a lot of films in Punjab or different parts of Punjab. The people of Punjab are very lovable, hospitable and Punjabis always feed you well so you get great food, great hospitality and you get great locations.
And you also get great great crowds, so we had lots of crowds there, which is the only issue when you are shooting. But, they are really well mannered and really nice. So as soon as you get them off your body, one thousand of them, they are really well mannered and good to you. Khalsa College was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever shot in. It has absolutely the most gorgeous structure - I never thought Khalsa College is like this, I have always heard about it. It's stunning - the beauty, the bigness, the expanse and all the arches and all the students, the principals there. I would say even on behalf of the YRF unit - Khalsa College really adds to the film, even though it comes in just a couple of scenes.
Golden Temple: I think I am blessed that I could get access to a holy place like this. I could go and 'teko matha'... I got the Kada, I got the Prashad, I prayed for my family, for the film, and everybody I know. As an actor, I do get to go to lot of beautiful places, but such a pious and wonderful place I could go to and the fact that I could spend that time as if it was stopped for us, though it wasn't because all the shooting was done with real people moving around. They were really kind because everybody comes to think about Rab there, nobody is really there to think about a shooting, but I felt really nice having shot in the Golden Temple and it was a great experience spiritually and of course filming wise, it looks beautiful on screen.
3.Any one memorable incident during the shoot of the film?
I think the most memorable part of this film making, to me at least, was the first seven-eight days when I changed my look for Surinder Sahni and I would be walking on the sets with nobody recognizing me. I got a taste of things to come thirty years later, when I am no longer a star, that nobody will recognize me and I will miss it.
I think that is the most memorable moment and I hope it never happens to me again ever, because not to be recognized after twenty years of such high recognition is something I wasn't ready for. And not only that, my own make up person, who's known me for twenty years, I would look at him to give me my make up equipment and he would just look through me. Nobody recognized me, including my own people, and I found that strangely eerie, surreal and shocking to say the least.
4.What sets "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" apart from the other YRF films that you have been a part of?
I truly believe that "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" is a film that when Adi narrated it to me, I just felt that he's being very courageous and brave. I never thought, with all due respect to Adi, who I believe can think of some really different kind of films he's produced, different kinds of films he's made, he's never even thought of being part of like 'Dhoom', 'Kabul Express' and 'Chak De India'. He really wants to experiment with commercial cinema, hoping that it does well - but still tries to think different within that parameter.
I never thought that for his own directorial venture, after eight years, he will think of a film like 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi'. I didn't believe him, I thought it's a lie, but I think it's truly brave of him to take three characters - make a whole film revolve round them, not be bothered that the baggage of 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' or 'Mohabbatein' weighs heavy on him, or the films we have done together whether it is 'Darr', 'Veer-Zaara', 'Dil To Pagal Hai', 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', 'Mohabbatien', 'Chak De India' - we have done really some fine commercially viable and wonderfully different films also together, but not once did he think, and he said 'No, we will make Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi'.
So I think the unique part of "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" from Yash Raj Films is that after many years Yash Raj Films is making another film which it really feels for. I think it is a film which they don't want to make as a film; I think they just want to do as something they wish to experience. You reach a stage, I think Adi has reached a stage in his life where he just wants to make a film not for what commerce it will do - 'inshaallah it will do well', what critics will say, it's just a story he wanted to tell. I think it's an evolution of a director and a producer and that's what sets "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" very very different from all the others. I think they have made some wonderful films - this will also be considered as one of the wonderful films that Yash Raj Films has made, but I think it will be considered an immensely different film for me and for Adi.
4.An extraordinary romantic icon like you playing an ordinary man in a love story. Comment.
I joke a lot about my stardom – of course I take it very seriously ,because it's a job that I do and I have always said this that I am just an employee of the superstar that goes by the name of Shahrukh Khan - to be really honest, I have never thought 'I am a Superstar'.
I have never thought of myself as a romantic icon. I am just an employee of this romantic icon and I just need to work hard for my employer, this iconic romantic star or hero. I am basically very ordinary in the way I think, in the way I do things. It may not look from the outside, I live in a one lakh square feet house, I have got big cars, but these are all the trappings and peripherals that have come to me via the fact that I am an actor, but I come from a middle class background and educated lower middle class background and I have never lost touch with that.
And as a matter of fact, to be really honest, some of these iconic romantic characters so to say get attached with my name I think are iconic, because deep down inside they have a very simple basic middle class attitude. Suri is what I really am. Maybe when I tell my children, my children say 'but you don't look like this'. Ya, maybe I don't look like this, but maybe if I hadn't become a star I would look like that. I would have a moustache and have a side parting. I used to have a side parting, so it's not that I would look any different. But I would not wear keds on pants - I mean that's one thing I would have not done, or may be I would have, I really don't know. It's not really too different from what I am. And my challenge as an actor is genuinely to make Surinder Sahni the new romantic icon.
I want everybody not to love Raj anymore and say you know what - 'We want to be Suri'. I think 'Suri is beautiful' and I think 99.9 percent of us walk like Suri, talk like Suri, and look like Suri. Imagine, me with a moustache and a side hair, I would look like Suri, so it doesn't make a difference deep down inside or at least after shaving your moustache you can be a Rockstar. So that's the whole attitude that I want. The whole romantic iconic status crown now shift from Raj and Rahul, these really cool guys, on to "Surinder Sahni", because he's got a "good heart".