How did you feel when Manish read you the script of Band Baaja Baaraat?
I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I love romcoms. Ever since I became an actress, which was not very long ago, I wanted to do a romantic comedy but I don’t see such films being made in our country like something I can fall in love with. I fell in love with this script as soon as it was narrated to me. When Maneesh narrated the script to me I did not realize how those three/three and a half hours passed. I was completely engrossed because Maneesh’s narration was lovely. His understanding of the characters was great. He was narrating exactly how he wanted the characters to say the dialogues. After the narration I didn’t find it important to tell him that I loved the script and wanted to do it or didn’t want to do it.
It’s very rare that you get a Hindi film script which is a romcom… in a romcom there is never a story. It’s always about a boy meeting a girl... how they meet, what happens, what’s the conflict - this is always the story. It’s the story telling in this script, the screen play and the dialogues that completely grasp you as a listener. This script completely took over me when I read it, and this is very rare in a Hindi film. Band Baaja Baaraat is a romcom, it is a love story but with a lot of ‘desi-pan’ to it... coz your characters are so grounded that you relate to it and become completely part of the film. That is what is so lovely about the movie and script.
Tell us about your character, Shruti Kakkar.
Shruti could be a girl from any Indian city - Delhi, Bangalore, Nagpur, Mumbai. She wants to do a lot in life. She has many goals, is very ambitious and she is a very principled and well brought up kid from a loving close family. She is somebody who can talk to her parents about anything under the sun… about boys and about her problems just anything and everything. She’s that person and in spite of Shruti being so meticulous and so systematic in life, whether it was college or in life, she is so studious. Her goal to be a wedding planner was perhaps set from the third wedding she ever attended with her parents when she had decided that I want to be part of these huge weddings, this glamour and I wanted to be making it in this world. She is battameez but in an endearing way. She is very moofat with family members and she won’t polish what she is saying coz she’s very honest and has had a good upbringing. This is how girls are today, Shruti is very relatable… any girl can relate to her. She’s a feminist and she is everything a girl wants to be. She will always do the right things, she is very gutsy and very endearing and she is very cool and that’s what I love about her. She has guts and it’s very enjoyable to see her… I was always smiling reading about her in the script.
How did you prepare for this role - the world of wedding planners and the world of a Delhi girl?
We play wedding planners but that’s not the film - it’s just the backdrop. It’s a love story. As much as we needed to know about the planners was provided in the script as Maneesh and Habib Faisal (Screenplay & Dialogue writer) had researched extensively. What I really worked on was speaking in a way a Delhi girl would talk. I am from Bangalore and I had to learn a certain lingo. I had to cut out the pauses in between words and talk fast but make sure so people can understand what you are saying and we had enough readings with Maneesh for that. I used to underline my script to cut out pauses to get the hang of the language and lingo. I interacted with my cousins from Delhi to understand how they talk and speak. I tried to watch recent films about Delhi and people of Delhi and apart from that I have to credit Habib and Maneesh - they are from Delhi and know how Delhites speak or how Delhi girls speak. I haven’t enjoyed speaking as much in character like how Shruti speaks. I love that manner of speaking!
Tell us about Maneesh Sharma.
I met Maneesh for the first time during my auditions for RNBDJ - he was playing table tennis and was sweating when I first saw him! He was the Associate Director. We became friends that very day we got along that day itself, because I was very scared of Adi initially, Maneesh was the medium between us. So we became friends. Maneesh is one of the five people I know in Bombay ever since I have been here. Maneesh understands me, he understands my gestures and the things I do with my hands, my face, my eyes like anything, some of my movements that even I am not aware of he had observed me and he could take that out and make it a part of Shruti’s characteristics. It was lovely working with Maneesh.
Tell us about Ranveer Singh & his character Bittoo.
hen I was called for the narration I was informed there was a new guy in the room and I was kind of thinking he will be this new guy in the movie. So I met Ranveer for the first time at the reading. RV is not a very normal guy. He’s not the kind of guy I have met or come around. When he came into the room he had his ipod on and was grooving to the music. I don’t think he knew he was meeting me. Maneesh just told him you will be meeting your co actor so without a care in the world he just walks in and says hey wassup and that’s the impression I have about Ranveer. He doesn’t care about anything. He’s focused like he was there for a reading and he was completely unperturbed about what was happening around him and that’s the impression of Ranveer I have even today.
People will assume that because I worked with Shahrukh Khan or Shahid Kapoor and comparatively I am still very new, only in my third film, and when you work with people who are experienced and seasoned you learn a lot from them and that’s nice... and that helps you as an actor in your growth. So I assumed that from Ranveer I won’t learn so much. You know just do my part in the film and go out of it but I must say today I have learned a lot from him as an actor.
Bitto is everything that Shruti is not… but when they come together it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. When they come together it seems all right… all the friction they have generates spark and that spark is so attractive to watch. Bittoo had to be very well cast, the film is about these two characters and these two people completely embody the characters and Ranveer is the most correct choice for this role. Ranveer is Bittoo and Bittoo is Ranveer.
A lot has been send about Ranveer and Anushka’s chemistry. Comments?
It is a huge misconception that chemistry comes from actors. Chemistry comes from characters and from the script… when the script is so well written as this one was. If you are a decent actor and honest to your job and have a decent understanding of your character then you just do your thing honestly. I have done my thing and Ranveer has done his things… its just worked out so well me and Ranveer. We were not discussing what should we do so that the chemistry works even Maneesh never discussed this, we simply came together and performed and there you have Bittoo and Shruti!
Your overall experience of working in the movie.
I think when I was in school and when I took part in a play or dance group, and when the year ends you have this sinking feeling that your experience has ended and you are not going to get anything or you feel this is over and you have to move on from the experience and that’s how I feel about this movie today and that is because not only because I was working with people I was happy to work with but because I was working on this film and this script and I feel very fortunate that at the beginning of my career I am offered such a film and a script and I really want to thank Aditya Chopra, Maneesh and genuinely also Ranveer.
The film is such that performance was expected from the character and I really want to thank Adi and Maneesh for thinking that I would be right for this role because you really need to have confidence in an artist to offer him/her a film like this so I really want to thank them for that because this is one film I will cherish for my life. I don’t really know about the success of this film whether it will work or not but it’s not something I can ever predict but I will always have respect for this movie and know that I have done a very good film with talented people and had the time of my life and I sure it will do well!
Anushka of RNBDJ to Anushka of BBB. How has that been?
Obviously I am more confident as an actor, I have more confidence, I have started to understand some technicalities of filmmaking... you start to understand more, you understand how you can give dialogues in a certain way coz you are more confident about it, apart from that I have had more experiences. First I used to think aap jaise ho duniya vaise hoti hai but I know that’s not how the world will be and u have to adapt to all kinds of people - this is very important for me. I was very young when I was in Rab Ne… and this journey had enabled me as an actor.
I am not very confident of my growth as an actor but I am very confident of my growth as a person. I have given my everything to this movie and I can say this with a lot of confidence. I knew this script was so amazing to have that I wanted to give it my all and not let people down who had so much confidence in me and because Maneesh was a friend and it was his first film. I haven’t done it just for this of course; I have done it for myself too and I want him to him feel proud of me and I hope he feels that way. I hope people will enjoy this movie as much as we liked making it and I know that it will always remain one of the best experiences of my life.