Ruslaan Mumtaz
Ruslaan Mumtaz Image Credit: Supplied

Indian actor Ruslaan Mumtaz, who plays the lead in the inter-racial love story ‘Namaste Wahala’, premiering on Netflix this Valentine’s Day, is an incorrigible romantic at heart.

“I even got married in real life on Valentine’s Day,” reveals Mumtaz with a laugh.

Set in Nigeria, Mumtaz plays Raj, an Indian investment banker who falls in love with a Nigerian lawyer (Ini Dima-Okojie) and has to battle cultural clashes and win over his unrelenting in-laws.

In an interview with Gulf News, we talk about love, his idea of a perfect romantic comedy and whether arranged marriages can still work in today’s times. Here’s his take on ...

Love conquering all:

Namaste Wahala Image Credit: Netflix

“People should fall in love with whoever they want. I love doing romantic movies for that reason alone. In real, I am a romantic who gets inspired by songs and movies that explore love and heartbreak … Through my performance in ‘Namaste Wahala’, I want to prove that you can fall in love with anybody whom your heart yearns.

“Don’t look at my film as that Brown boy falling in love with that Black girl or an Indian boy in love with an African girl; just think of us as two regular people who fall in love … I truly believe that you should be able to marry or love whoever you want. Even if it’s somebody from a different religion, race, colour or caste, nobody should be able to stop you or tell you that you can’t love a particular person. Love is a personal choice.”

Being the poster boy for romantic roles:

Namaste Wahala Image Credit: Netflix

“People look at me as this suitable boy or that perfect guy that you are able to take home to your mother. I look like marriage material and perhaps that’s the reason why I have done so many projects that happen to be love stories or romantic comedies. But personally, I love action films with blood and gore. As a person I may be romantic, but my viewing tastes in movies lean towards action films. But since my wife loves romantic films, we watch them together.”

Getting married on Valentine’s Day:

“I was shooting for a television show when we decided to get married. I told them in advance that I needed 10 days off. My wife [Neerali Mehta] was particular that we go for our honeymoon after our wedding and not go straight back to work … We both believed that a honeymoon has no significance if we do it a year later after our marriage. I had to give a three-month notice to my show producers back then and they gave me 10 days off during Valentine’s Day month. It wasn’t planned, but it all fell into place.”

Valentine’s Day being viewed as an over-commercialised holiday:

Namaste Wahala-1613303282879
Namaste Wahala Image Credit: Netflix

“While I agree that Valentine’s Day is commercialised, so is Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day and every occasion that we celebrate. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s one day which pushes you to make an effort for somebody that you love. We take them for granted on all days, so think of this as a day where you stand up for those who you love.”

Arranged marriages Vs Love Marriage — which is better:

“I had a 10-year relationship before I got married. I needed that time to decide. But in arranged marriages, you don’t have that time on your side. You may just get those 10 minutes to decide if you want to get married to that person or not … Having said that, I have many friends who are happy after getting married in an arranged marriage scenario. Each to their own, but personally I could never have an arranged marriage in my life.”

The most underrated Bollywood romantic comedy:

“Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na’, which saw him play a beautiful character. He doesn’t get the girl, but the story was so endearing. There was jealousy, love, heartbreak and Shah Rukh Khan made that character so endearing … Every young man who has lost a girl to be a better, more deserving guy will love this film.”

The best on-screen pair in Bollywood:

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Image Credit: YRF

“Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol have amazing chemistry and so do Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. They look cute together.”


Don’t Miss It!

‘Namaste Wahala’ is out now on Netflix.