She has done a few Hindi films, but Rakul Preet Singh is already popular in South India after working primarily in Telugu and Tamil industries. With her new film De De Pyaar De she is now set to get noticed in Bollywood. Sharing the screen with actors like Ajay Devgn and Tabu in a big romantic comedy Rakul Preet Singh plays the young girlfriend of the hero, trying to show that age doesn’t matter in love.
In De De Pyaar De the audience will see you romancing Ajay Devgn and the trailer has openly established that you are romancing an older actor. When you signed the film, did you anticipate the audience will accept this whole-heartedly?
In today’s time, age is merely a number and love is an emotion that has nothing to do with age. Everyone should be able to understand that and stop living in the past. There are so many successful real-life love stories that substantiate this too. De De Pyaar De’s concept is very progressive and relevant in today’s time, which is why audience across varied agree groups have loved the trailer.
Ajay sir is playing his age and I’m playing mine in the film and that made things a lot easier for me while shooting. It wasn’t difficult at all for me to romance him and he made me feel extremely comfortable right from the first day of the shoot. I have never played a role like this before and I’m extremely excited to see how the audience reacts once they watch the film on 17th May.
From the reactions for the trailer and song, the audiences have commented that you’re looking very different in De De Pyaar De as opposed to your previous films. What went behind putting this together?
After signing De De Pyaar De I had less than two months to shed 8 kilos to look the part of Ayesha on screen. So, I went on an extreme workout regime and took great care of my diet, so much so that I would weigh my food, not for the fear of eating, but for the fear of eating less. Other than that, I trained in belly dancing and bartending as well. I thoroughly enjoyed taking those classes for two weeks and I remember running back to back from one class to another to learn new things. I’m just glad that all the hard work has paid off and people have taken notice of the smaller details as well.
The entire team has put together some refreshing and great looks that matched not only Ayesha’s personality, but also mine and the results are there for everyone to see.
This is the first time you have been paired opposite Ajay Devgn. How was it sharing screen space with him?
I had the most amazing time shooting with Ajay sir as he is so warm and welcoming and makes you feel comfortable when you’re working with him. When I got the opportunity of working with him in De De Pyaar De, I wanted to give my best shot and put in 200 times more effort. Usually I’m not a kind of person who gets intimidated easily, but I did feel the pressure because I was working with a celebrated actor like Ajay Devgn.
I remember we were shooting one day, and I had a two-page scene and I forgot one line. I was extremely embarrassed and apologised immediately, but he calmed me down and asked me not to apologise, else I’d never learn in life. Having a co-actor with a vibe like that made it a lot easier for me to play the part of Ayesha.
Which is your favourite song from De De Pyaar De?
I’m big on romantic films and songs, so Der Se Hi Sahi is one of my favourite songs. We shot for it in London and there were scenes at the Oxford Street which is the main hub for shopping, so we ended up shopping from stores in between shots, it was just too tempting. The song has a lot of fun moments and it reflects my personality and me very well.
You’ve shot for De De Pyaar De in London and Manali. Where did you enjoy the most?
Manali is an extremely beautiful place. I remember going there, as a kid with my parents for vacations, but this was the first time I travelled to Manali for a film shooting. Every day after the shooting, the entire team would play badminton, walk, and workout and do bonfire and chill together. It is so peaceful there that you have to find your own ways to entertain yourself.
London was a blast on the other hand. I’ve shot for several films there previously and it’s the only place in this world where I don’t feel homesick. I remember on the last day of De De Pyaar De, I asked Luv sir and Akiv if we could stay back for few more days.
You’ve shot several scenes for De De Pyaar De with Tabu. Can you talk about your experience of working with her?
Tabu ma’am is drop dead gorgeous and a stellar performer. It didn’t feel like I was working with her for the first time. She is like a breath of fresh air on set and has this amazing vibe and aura around her. I had a blast sharing the screen space with her and I really hope we get to do more work together in the future.
This is your first collaboration with Luv Films. How has the journey been?
It is one of the best production houses that I’ve worked with. The entire team is full of creative enthusiasts and now they are like family to me. I know if I have any doubts, I can simply pick up the phone on them and talk it out. I was extremely overwhelmed with the response that the trailer received and when I was flooded with congratulatory messages, I felt really emotional and pinged the team thanking them for believing in my craft and offering me the role of Ayesha.
What are your expectations from De De Pyaar De?
I can say one thing for sure, that I haven’t played a role like this ever before and the makers have put in a lot of efforts for portraying this unseen side of me beautifully on the screen. With De De Pyaar De the audience will see me as a quintessential commercial Hindi film actor. People who haven’t seen my body of work yet will get a chance to know my capabilities and me. Ayesha’s role has everything from glamour to emotion, dance and drama and it’ll be great to see people’s reaction.
I always give my 100% to the work I do, it doesn’t matter if I’m working for a Hindi film or a regional one.
How was your experience working with Akiv Ali?
Akiv has been in the industry for a very long time and has played a major role in editing some of the greatest films in Bollywood. He understands direction very well and knows the pulse of the audience. He knows how a scene should look and what could be the possible reaction of the audience on a particular scene. He is a fabulous director and I had a wonderful time being directed by him.
Ajay is famed for the pranks he plays on his co-stars; did you fall prey to any of his pranks during the shooting of the film?
I had heard that Ajay sir is a prankster; my only concern was that I don’t become a victim of his pranks. I was really scared about that. But after a week of shooting, I thought of a plan. I went up to him and told him that, ‘Sir, everybody knows you will be playing pranks, so let me be in your team and I can help you execute your pranks. You’ll need me to play pranks and looking at my face nobody will even guess that I am the one.’ I said this to him just safeguard myself and not fall prey to his pranks. He had a good laugh about this. So, yeah, I had been lucky that he didn’t play any pranks on me. But I do remember when we were shooting in Manali, and one-day post dinner we were just chilling and talking about ghost stories and I said, ‘I am not scared.’ He was like ‘Oh you are not scared?’ I immediately thought he might now plot a prank on me, so I told him, “Yes sir, but that doesn’t mean you make me scared. My mom is staying with me so please don’t play any pranks please.’ So, yes I was lucky that he didn’t play any prank on me.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while portraying your character?
Honestly, I am the kind of a person who doesn’t like the word ‘challenge.’ I feel it’s a very difficult word. The whole high of our work is that you get to do something you have not done before, and there are many exciting parts to it right from the start. For example, understanding the character to be absolutely effortless while performing to look the way I look in the film. So, there wasn’t as such a challenge that I faced. I think the brief was pretty clear, and also the team was pretty clear on what they wanted. There was right guidance from the word go, so nothing felt like it was very difficult. If anything, it was a very enjoyable journey and I cherish every bit of it.
What is your favourite line or dialogue from the film and why?
Now, that is a difficult question. De De Pyaar De is a laugh riot and is laden with funny lines. In the trailer itself, there are a bunch of lines, which I really love. My favourite one is the one where Manju says, ‘Pata hai hum college mein the jab yeh gaana aaya tha.’ To which, my character Ayesha responds, ‘Aap itni purani hai?’ I even love the one where Ayesha says, ‘Bade buzurg kehte hai shaunk umar dekhe paalne chahiye.’ Well, I don’t want to reveal the others, which are not in the trailer, but yes, I had a lot of fun delivering these punch lines. Every time I got the scene, I would burst out laughing, as the lines were so funny. Even my intro scene is hilarious.
Besides yourself, which actor in the film is going to blow people away?
Well, I really hope I blow people away with my performance (laughs). But I feel each and every one has done a fantastic job. Be it Tabu ma’am, Ajay sir, or even the supporting cast of the film, I feel everyone is going to blow people away with their outstanding performances. I feel each and every character is strong and has a specific trait, which will make them stand out.
What are the memories from the film that you will take back with you?
I think every bit of this film is extremely special for me. From the fact that I’m doing this film to the fact that the team became a family, whether it is Akiv sir, Luv sir, Ankur or all members of the crew. De De Pyaar De has been a lovely journey for me. From the memories that we have of our outdoor schedules be it London or Manali… honestly, this film on the whole gets me overwhelmed all the time. So, I think it’s just countless memories.
Any particular funny incident or anecdote from the sets that you can recall?
Every day is fun when you get along with the people you’re shooting with. So, work was a lot of fun throughout. I don’t think I can pin point to one particular incident. I never understand how to answer this question, because you cherish the entire journey. I know we had great time and laughed a lot throughout the film.
What did director Akiv Ali manage to unlock in you as an actor?
I think Akiv sir knew exactly how he wanted Ayesha to be; I just surrendered myself to his vision. So, I can’t tell what he unlocked in me, he will be able to say that better. Having said that, I feel that the fact that he wanted me to portray Ayesha, who is very comfortable in her space, effortlessly and not look like I was acting, and be very real, is something that he has managed to unlock in me. I think it’s the effortlessness.
PR interview from Media House