Please describe your role? Is it unique compared to the characters you have portrayed before? If so in which way?
I play an extremely innocent Husband, a man that only lives to please his demanding wife. My son hates our marriage, so when returning to the 70’s he tries to teach me to become ‘The Man’ I should have been. I’m a nervous wreck, I let people walk talk & abuse me like a street Hawker with bad breath. But my path to better myself is one very memorable journey, & I must say to play the quirks of the 70’s was so much fun compared to the characters of today…
How did this role change you?
It changed me completely!! I went from ‘Me’ at the script reading, to becoming a greasy long haired half blind weakling of a husband, to then an ‘almost’ strong, bouncy haired handsome 70’s stud. It was so interesting to portray so much versatility in ‘one’ character in ‘one’ film…
You are known for your meticulous comic timing and are India’s ultimate action hero – how much of your role in Action Replayy combines both your comedy and action skills?
Not much because ‘This is not an ‘Action’ film,’ ;o) let me make that perfectly clear, you might see the odd bit of humorous action but nothing to scream from the roof tops. There is one scene where I have a typical 70’s Dshmmm Dshmmm fight which is a classic, but you have to wait & see why. This film has way more romantic comic timing than anything else, it has a special touch to it that makes you just ‘Sighhhh’ out loud ;o) & make you want to hold your partners hand…
What attracted you to the script of Action Replayy?
Well actually it’s a Theatrical play that Vipul Shah made & starred in years ago, in fact it was an extremely famous & very popular play. I remember my parents going to see it together, I’ll never forget what my mother said when she came home! “Bitta, you should see this play, & learn you only get one chance at marriage, so be a man & get it right the first time.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but imagine all these years later I’m actually remaking it with the very same man who created it. I know what my mother was saying now, ‘We don’t get a second chance in this life, what we do today makes all the difference for tomorrow.’ that’s why I know this movie will open so many peoples eyes, it’s completely directed at every single one of us…
Tell us about working with Aishwarya Rai.
Oh I’d love to!! It’s been a long time since Ash & I have worked together, yet it was so easy. Everyone knows how absolutely beautiful she is, but what amazes me is every single shot she gives is like a million dollar shot with her, her expressions, her timing, her grace is mesmerizing, & then she casually sits down with all of us & tells stories, she even reminded me of a huge accident that happened to her in ‘Khakee’, where she was trapped under a vehicle between a cactus & a car that had rolled over her & crushed her leg. I was the first person on the scene, she was petrified but when seeing me she became so calm, apparently she knew I was the only person that would remove her safely from the wreck, then i rushed her to hospital. I had completely forgotten all this, so when she told me I now remember how brave I thought she was. I have so much respect for her on & off screen, & because I feel that same respect from her also it’s very comforting working in that kind of atmosphere…
How did they make you look old for the film? What was the experience like?
Ha I’ll never forgive Vipul for doing this to me, everyday I would curse & abuse him for making me wear a wig in the hottest month in India ;o) with alcohol & chemicals slapped on my face to make me look like an old haggard husband, even though I know I was acting like child who’d been banned from eating chocolate, you don’t understand, I would rather jump out of a burning plane into a thorn bush than have to go through this process again. This is why Mr Bachchan deserves so much respect for what he endured filming ‘Paa’. I could never do it, not peacefully anyway ;o) But I must say Vipul hired the best make-up & wig artists from Australia who have won many awards for their work including Oscars. Paul was very patient with me & he truly is an expert. But get this, Aishwarya would still look like a 21-year-old, even when they tried to make her look 50, her beauty is way more than skin deep ;o)
You are working again with Vipul Shah after the box office success of Singh is Kinng – What do you expect from Action Replayy? Will it hit the box office the way Waqt and Singh is King did?
I’m so sorry me & Vipul own a time machine that only travels back in time, it unfortunately doesn’t visit the future, so I should say only God knows what lies ahead, & he’s keeping very quiet, (he knows how much I love suspense ;o) Of course we would all love another Super Box Office Success, it really is a lovely movie I don’t see why it wouldn’t… Touch wood, fingers crossed and all that jazz………………….
You have delivered consecutive hits with Vipul – what is your relationship like with him? What makes his films and your duo a success?
You make it sound like we’re married ;o) It is our 5th film together & every one of them has been memorable in Hindi film history, which is an amazing record, but we work so well together because we both respect each other as utmost professionals, we have full faith in each others movements, the effort we give to our movies & our passions for film is identical. We try very hard not to let each other down or let anything get in the way of work or our friendship. That’s where many relationships in this industry go wrong, they get mixed up with personal & professional decisions, very few are pure blooded genuine friendships, it’s the same all over the world, I guess mine & Vipul’s is one of those special cases ;o)
Can you describe the music soundtrack of the film? What’s your favourite song from the film? Does the soundtrack have a disco / retro flavour?
Ah well my favourite song is ‘Zor Ka Jhatka’ I love the beat & it has one of my favourite dance moves which I hope becomes a trend ;o) The music from this film makes you come alive, we have dico, we have classic retro, we have romance, holi, party numbers, we have a great ensemble of songs… So get ready to dance the night away!!!
What are your memories of the 1970s?
Well I was just a small boy in the 70’s, I remember everyone used to say my Dad looked like Elvis, so tall well built, long face with stunning side burns ;o) But what amazes me even today, is that in the fabulous 70’s era, I idolized one of ‘The Biggest Actors Of All Time’ Mr Rajesh Khanna. Everyone worshipped him including me, & I still can’t believe he is my Father-in-law today ;o) How much I used to copy his famous wink as a kid, I tried to sing dance walk & woo women like him, & then two decades later I fall madly in-love with his daughter Twinkle Khanna & now we are bringing our son up in my era the 00’s. Time really does have incredible circumstances!!…
If you were able to go back in time to correct an issue etc, which / year would you like to go back in and why? This film is about going back in time. Would you in real life rewind your life and relive the past? What phase of life would that be?
There is only one phase in my life I would ever want to go back & change, only one, & that would be to catch my Father’s cancer much earlier, but if I was really wishing for things it would be to have the knowledge & the capability to cure cancer. My father was diagnosed too late & their wasn’t much neither me nor my money or family could do. There is nothing worse in life than watching your parents or your children suffer, please as we are on the subject of time, please do not take time for granted, we are here only once, treasure it, because time machines only exist in movies………………………….
If you were able to bring back anything from the 70s to the current time, what would that be?
The innocence of “Love”… The classic romantic movies, the unforgettable love songs, the anticipation of being too scared to hold hands on the street, the sacredness of marriage, the platforms I couldn’t do but the bell bottoms I adore, oh & I love a good 70’s fight scene, legendary now & always…………….
What was it like working with Kirron Kher and your other co-stars?
Ah Ha!! Kirron mam is a typical old fashioned mother in this film, the complete opposite to what she is in real life, Kirron ji is one Hip woman I must say, she’s as naughty as I am, loves pranks & is so much fun to hang around with. The new boys Ranvijay & Aditya are great guys, they put a lot of effort into their characters, but still love to play cricket with us oldies in between shots ;o) I get along with them very well, I kind of remember I used to miss them on set when they weren’t required ;o) not that I told them that!!…
Who will this film appeal to and why?
This film can make anyone happy, the colours, the sets, the outfits, the songs, the humour, the cast, the dialogues, the funny love story. It will appeal to everyone because everyone in India gets married, this movie is like a couples dictionary on how to get it right ;o) Like the American sitcom ‘Sex in the City’ is an eye opener for all men, ‘Action Replayy’ is a one-stop guide to getting & staying married happily ever after ;o) Youngsters will find it fascinating, Couples will be inspired, & Elders will watch with a twinkle in their eyes ;o)
How was it like walking onto a set inspired by the 70s? Were there any nostalgic moments?
Wow!! What a set Vipul had created for this film, it’s the most attention to detail & perfect rendition of a 70’s set that I have ever seen, (since the 70’s of course). How much effort has been made to every last inch, I remember when I first walked on set it was a night scene so the whole Town was lit up beautifully, it mesmerized anyone with a heart, it was so inspiring. Vipul & his team worked very hard to make the whole experience real for us, as an actor I couldn’t have asked for more from my director…
There is a lot of news about the film going head to head with Golmaal 3 – what is your opinion of this? How is the film different to Golmaal 3?
It is so different that you can’t even compare, plus Diwali is a time to celebrate, who knows what the audience will want, both films are there to entertain, all I can say, is that ‘Action Replayy’ is one of those once in a blue moon kind of films, the script, the genre, the all round element of the film doesn’t cross our lives very much, & like all Vipul Shah films, it will be treasured & loved by all families, I think it’s a perfect gift for Diwali ;o)
Are there any resemblances to the earlier 70s homage films i.e. Om Shanti Om?
Not at all… The directors are completely different directors, Farah Khan & Vipul Shah, could never make even slightly similar films, & that’s what I love about them. ‘Action Replayy’ is in a zone of it’s own, It went from a classic theatre play to an adorable big screen beauty…
If you had to go back in time and make any changes to any one of your films, which would that be?
I would probably go back in time to change what happened to Ashwariya in ‘Khakee’, no heroine deserves to get hurt when making any film, that was a nasty accident that Ash experienced & a scar I wish I could to take away for her… But I would never mess with my own destiny, I’m lucky I am what I am, I wouldn’t change my past to better myself, & I’d never ask for more, I respect all the decisions I’ve made in my career, & I accept the outcome of all my films, I’m not a cheat. I’m grateful even if only one person wants to see my movie ;o)