Producer Sangeeta Ahir, director Subhash Kapoor and leading actors Arshad Warsi and Amit Sadh of Guddu Rangeela, in conversation with team Box Office India
Box Office India (BOI): Subhash (Kapoor), just like last time, can you do the honours by interviewing your lead actors and producer?
Arshad Warsi (AW): Just like!
Subhash Kapoor (SK): Yes, just like I had interviewed Arshad (Warsi) for Box Office India last time. Well, I don’t know how to start but let me say it is a great honour to be here. I have seen Box Office India magazine grow and a lot of my friends come here for interviews. I remember Shoojit (Sircar) and Ronnie (Lahiri)’s interview. So it was a surprise when Sangeetaji (Ahir) told me about this interview. I thought it would be great to meet Nitin (Tej Ahuja) and Vajir (Singh) as we have known each other for a long time.
So we are here for our next film Guddu Rangeela, which I directed after Jolly LLB. This is a fun film but a film with substance. Guddu Rangeela is not a satire like Jolly LLB or Phas Gaye Re Obama was. It is slightly more commercial in tone and narrative. But the duo in a way does have an issue that they are dealing with. However, the story has been treated in a very commercial way with a lot of humour, drama, a little romance and action, which is a first for me. So here’s Guddu and Rangeela… Arshad plays Rangeela and Amit (Sadh) plays Guddu in the film. But Rangeela is not ‘rangeela’ in the film; he is very serious in the film and Guddu is very ‘rangeela’.
AW: (Cuts in) Ask him why he couldn’t change the names (Laughs).
SK: He has been asking me this since day one. I often take a lot of references from real life when I write. I have met someone who is like Rangeela and I knew this guy when I was a kid. I could never imagine him to be a young boy. I always imagined him to be a senior guy.
Amit Sadh (AS): (Cuts in) Arshad bhai, he just called you ‘senior’.
AW: Pehele bata do ye interview kiske liye hia? Mujhe beizzat karne ke liye? (Laughs)
SK: When you watch the film, you will understand that he was ‘rangeela’ at one point in his life but something happened that changed him as a person. But he has not given away his quirks or funny one-liners or the attitude that the character has. That is there throughout the film. It is just that, deep down, there is something burning, which we reveal in the second half of the film. Guddu is a very bechara Veeru-type in the film. Guddu is also a flirt in the film and is the one who sings and dances.
AW: (Cuts in) Basically, Amit is playing himself in the film.
SK: Yes, that is true.
AW: One moment you hear it is a serious role, and then you have someone like me playing it. Just one thought comes to mind… that hope it doesn’t get boring. And I was thinking this too. However, no matter how deep the character is, the entertainment quotient is right up there, and that is because of the way Subhash writes. So the entertainment value is present in my character; otherwise it would be achanak aadmi se Bharat Bhushan ho gaya. The funny one-liners and energy are there in the character and he is still entertaining and fun to watch in spite of the dark secret he harbours, which he is dealing with.
SK: All my friends know that when I am writing, I am also casting. I find it difficult to write if I don’t have an actor in mind. I had a rough draft of Guddu Rangeela ready before I made Jolly LLB but, while writing, I got stuck in the second half of the film. I wasn’t sure what to do with these two characters post-interval. So while writing, I realised that Arshad was known more for the Circuits and Dhamaals in the Golmaal series kind of space. So I thought I would do something different with Arshad. As a director, I know he can pull off a serious role or ambiguous part if not completely serious. He can pull off a character with shades of grey very well.
So when I was writing the film and had competed 40-odd scenes, I was sure I wanted to cast Arshad. I called him immediately as I had a shooting window in mind. I wanted to tell him set aside those three months for me and not to allot his dates to anyone else. He asked me what I was writing. I said, ‘I will let you know but just don’t give your dates to anyone else.’ So he was there from the very beginning. Amit and I have been meeting since Phas Gaye Re Obama.
AS: (Cuts in) He was the first director I met. Actually, he was the first director who agreed to meet me (Laughs).
SK: Most of us really appreciated what he had done in Kai Po Che. But when I met him, I personally saw a lot of contradictions. This was about five years ago. When Amit walks into the office, everyone knows he has arrived because he greets everyone in a lively manner and jokes with the staff. Everyone just lights up and I know from my office boy’s face that Amit is in the office. And I watched Kai Po Che and him in a serious role, I felt he would be like that in real life too. I thought there was a lot of Guddu already in his personality. So when I called him for the part, I told him I would narrate the story but he was already half the character I wanted him to play. Guddu is like him in many ways and he has a habit of cracking one-liners. I have not revealed these lines in the trailer and have saved them for the film. They are typical Haryanvi jokes. While sketching the character, I kept Amit in mind as I felt meri adhi mehenat bach jaegi. I don’t know if it is the right thing to say or not but a lot of people are going to be surprised to see what he has done in the film. First, as a director, I am very happy with his work and, second, you liked him in Kai Po Che but you are still to see the wild side of the actor that he is. And you get to see that in Guddu Rangeela.
AW: He has a rare quality. He can look like a young boy but can carry off a mature look as well. For instance, in Kai Po Che, you saw him as a mature guy but, as Guddu, he is a kid.
He is very lucky to have that quality.