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"I Have Proved I Can Be A Villain That People Like"

Freddy Daruwala talks to Team Box Office India about his upcoming movie Race 3, his experiences while working in the film and his cinematic journey to date

The trailer of Race 3 has released and to say it is fantastic is an understatement. How has the response been for you?

Nothing, actually. My character Rana is barely seen in the trailer. This has created some intrigue around him… who is Rana and what is he doing? And if you are a villain, why are you not shown in the trailer? That’s one of the reasons Rana has created some ambiguity. There is a mystery around Rana and race. You will not be able to figure out who is bad and who is good till the end.

You have played a negative character before. Do you think that suits the image you have created?

Yes, it’s a proven formula for me. Nowadays, villains are so much cooler, they look good, they do not wear loud clothes, they don’t have loud lines and the performance has changed. So, I have kind of proved that I can be a villain that people like. I was received very well before and now we are doing Race 3. I guess that is one reason people say that aisa villain chahiye, waisa villain chahiye, so let’s call him.

I am quite young in terms of experience and the number of films that I have done. I am prepared to play a positive or a negative role; it doesn’t really matter. I just want to work a lot. I am here to act. I can dance, I can do action, I can do everything that a hero does.

How did you become a part of this film?

Race 3 already has a family and there is this story unfolding in the family. There is this guy who they are looking for. The character is very stylish, very flamboyant and most importantly he is a young guy. So, among the actors they were thinking of, Ramesh Taurani sir mentioned my name. Mukesh Chhabra was the casting director, so he called me for it.

I met him (Taurani) and he said it’s a comparatively small role but there are a lot of things that happen due to Rana. He is not a forgettable character. At least I make sure my characters are not forgettable. (Laughs).

Sometimes, it’s important that you are part of a project that is so eagerly anticipated and brilliantly presented. It makes a big difference. Race is a very well-received franchise and it has its own audience.

Is there anything specific that you did for your role that you want to share?

When I was doing Holiday, I used to come two hours early to the sets. I would prepare for the action. The same process applies to all my films. So, preparation is an ongoing thing with me. I have my dance workshops, acting workshops and action workshops when I am not shooting.

Are you fascinated with action films? All your movies have been in that genre.

It has to do a lot with the proven formula in my first film and my physicality of being a tall and well-built guy. When you see a well-built guy fighting on the screen, it is much more visually appealing in this medium. And the masses like to watch the action. It is also a genre that has been there for years and it brings in the entertainment value as well. But I am waiting to do something different. You never know, I could be the next romantic star. (Laughs).

Is that the genre you want to explore next?

I would love to be part of a romantic drama. Drama is my favourite genre. As an actor, I would like to play a lot of different characters. I would like to make people laugh and cry.

What was the mood on the sets like with so many people shooting together?

Whatever you see on camera is due to what happens off camera. If a person is not happy off camera, it will manifest on the screen. 

On Race 3, the vibe was very cool. We used to sit every day for lunch together, 15 of us. Be it the most experienced actor like Anil Kapoor or those with least experience like Saqib (Saleem), Daisy (Shah) and me, everybody was treated very well. There was no imbalance and that says a lot for a production house.

I told Ramesh Taurani sir that it is a very good sign when you treat all your stars equally.

You started your career as a model. How has the journey been from being a model to becoming an actor?

My seniors like John Abraham, Dino Morea, Milind Soman and Arjun Rampal all got into acting. When you start modelling, acting is at the back of your mind. Also, the shelf life of modelling is getting smaller. Earlier, you could model for 10-12 years. But now, it is getting tougher. Money is less and there is a lot more competition.

But I did do theatre while in school and college and that helped me get into the acting scene. I did theatre in Mumbai and in Surat. I went to a lot of auditions, faced rejections. I still go for auditions and that is a part and parcel of the process.

The business of Bollywood has changed in the last few years and actors now look into the numbers.

I also look at figures, because eventually, this is a business. We have opened up a business where the primary focus is also to churn money. It is a game of a thousand people who are earning from one film. If that film makes money, all those people have an opportunity to work again, with the same production house. A film creates employment for a lot of people.

If a film makes money, only then will that money be invested to make another film. Everybody involved in the film industry knows that in the first two weeks, they need to see what kind of money a film is making. That also shows how much people actually have liked it. So, these numbers are a sign that a lot of people are turning up to see the film. That is a great sentiment to carry forward.

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