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Power Players

You have made cult films like Satya and Rangeela, and now you have been very vocal about your liking of Baahubali: The Conclusion, which released recently. Do you think now is a good time for the industry…

RGV: (Cuts in) I haven’t watched the film. On Twitter, I was promoting the impact, not the film. I believe it will have a huge impact on our industry’s structure. That’s what I have been talking about.

Amit, did you have any preconceived notions about Ram Gopal Varma before the first day of your shoot?

Sakaar 3 teamAS: No, the notions I had relate to 10 years ago. I didn’t have any notions like that when I signed the film. It doesn’t pay to have any thoughts on what it is like to work with Ramu sir. 

I was exuberant that I was finally getting to do a Ram Gopal Varma film. And when he told me it was Sarkar 3, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it as I am a huge fan of his films, especially Rakta Charitra, Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Company, Satya and Rangeela. Merely being able to work him and him giving me this part was a dream.

 Yami, you are the only girl in the film. Was there any preparation that went into portraying such a strong character?

YG: I don’t think you can generalise like that. I think if I am the only girl in the film, it is the most feminist thing. My preparation would be in about how Ramu sir wants it to be. I heard Amit mention how Ramu sir helped him prepare for his role but it was very different with me. He didn’t tell me anything beyond a certain point. I knew the story and I knew my role but he didn’t say very much, lest it lead to a barrage of questions, especially for someone like me because I love preparing for my roles.

Sakaar 3I had just come out of Kaabil and there was a lot of preparation for that film. But I am also a director’s actor. I know I need to be adaptive to do what he wants. He does not want you to rehearse too much or make your performance mechanical; he tells you exactly what he wants but does not burden you with expectations. Things are clear in the simplest kind of way.

I had seen his approach as we had done a very small screen test which was very spontaneous. I was just following his cues and did not think about anything else. That left such an impact because I was only following my director.

AS: (Cuts in) Now that we are praising Ramu sir so much, I must add to what Yami said, that he is a director who takes your hand and leads you into the deep sea. Then he leaves your hand and says, ‘now act.’

RGV: I feel as if I am dead, sir, because only dead people receive so much praise. ‘He was a very good director, the industry will miss him…’

AS: Sir, I am not praising you, I am saying you take us deep into the sea and you leave us to drown. Then you say’, ‘Action!’

RGV: Sorry, I take back my words. That is a compliment I actually like.Sakaar 3

AS: (Laughs) See, I know what
you like.

Since both your actors have complimented you so much, what compliments do you have for them?

RGV: I know Yami is a very serious person and takes her work seriously. I met her when she was doing Kaabil, and to develop trust, I told her, ‘I am not going to tell you the story and I am not going to tell you the script.’ That’s because it could have been very disorienting as she was in a space where she had done so much preparation. It could have seemed like this director was not serious or, as an actor, I won’t know what to do on the sets.

I guess, at one point, she took a decision to trust me. But the fact that you don’t know enough can be daunting. To get another actor to a point and then control him with only your eyes might look simple on screen but it requires more acting than preparing for the character because you don’t have the support or an anchor of knowing something so deeply. You don’t know what kind of impact this one such scene will have on the larger canvas.

The best thing about Amit is that he doesn’t care about how he looks or what he is wearing. I don’t remember when I last met an actor who was just there and didn’t bother about superficial things like that.

 Lastly, what kind of expectations do you have from the release of Sarkar 3?

Sarkaar 3RGV: I have always found that to be a dumb question and I have been asked this for the last 20 years. Everything in the industry changes but not this question.  

YG: The moment you asked him that question, I knew what his answer would be. But I too want to hear your answer, sir (Laughs)

RGV: Why would anyone make a film if not to make people feel the effect what they want to create? Whether or not they will is obviously not in my hands. So this, all of us including me, will find out after the film releases.


Rohini Nag
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