Four years ago, Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee won many hearts with Hum Tum. This weekend they hope to revive the box-office magic with Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. Here they talk about their onscreen chemistry and working with children.
It's been a tough year for Bollywood, and Rani Mukherjee hasn't escaped the doldrums. Her films Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Saawariya did not strike gold at the box office (only Ta Ra Rum Pum was a great success).
Without any other projects in the works, success with her next release, Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, is crucial. Mukherjee opened up to tabloid! about playing an angel, being back onscreen with Saif Ali Khan and breaking acting rule number one: working with children.
How was it working with the same team from Hum Tum once again in Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (TPTM)?
I think both the times what worked is that we were aiming to make a good film and trying to make a film that the audiences will enjoy watching. We succeeded with Hum Tum and now we are looking forward to the audience's reaction to this film and our characters.
Kunal Kohli [Director] has been a lucky director for me because with him I won my first ever best actress award [for Hum Tum]. I'm hoping he turns lucky for me this time too. We understand each other and gel well by trusting each other with our professional instincts.
Saif Ali Khan has grown as an actor and we help each other to do better in our films. There is no ego between us and that makes for healthy working relationship.
Can you tell us something about the character you play in TPTM?
I play an angel called Geeta. She is supposed to be the spoilt brat of the angel world and she is basically God's favourite angel. She is fun-loving and always trying to make people happy and that's the reason why God sends her down to earth. She is really excited about coming to Earth. The character is all about how she turns the film's entire
story into a happy ending.
How did you go about designing your look as an angel in the film?
There were looks, an angel look and the Earth look. Geeta can't reveal to anyone that she is an angel, so we had to give her a human look. Kunal wanted one specific look and he didn't want me to change costume throughout the film. That's when Manish Malhotra came into the picture and designed something for the character.
We made the outfit wearable in the whole film it's the first time [in Bollywood, at least] that an actress is wearing one costume thoughout the whole film. We needed the costume to have different layers so that with each different scene the costume looks different and yet it's made from the original structure. I think Manish has a done a fabulous job.
What was the best part of playing an angel?
The easiest part of playing the angel was that I didn't have to cry because by default my character can't cry. I think that's the only thing I probably couldn't do in the film. So that was a lot of fun.
How do you find it working once again with Saif Ali Khan in TPTM?
He is a great co-star to work with. He is always cracking some funny lines on the shoot and that keeps it chilled out. I've done three movies Hum Tum, Tara Rum Pum and now TPTM with Saif, so I'm comfortable with him. In TPTM we have a strange kind of chemistry because he is human and I am an angel. It's sweet and there are a lot of nice moments.
How easy was it to act with the four kids in the film?
The four kids were really sweet and I always maintain that kids are much more intelligent than all the adults put together. They are very sensitive, intelligent and they are
thorough professionals. In fact there were two children in the movie who have never faced the camera before and I think they have done a fabulous job.
I think Kunal got good work from the kids by being one of them. I never thought that at their age I would ever dream of becoming an actor but today's kids are quite cool and very confident. They have been amazing and very delightful to work with.
What about TPTM's music? What's your favourite track?
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have created a really catchy album. The songs are very peppy and something that you will always remember. My favourite track would be a tie between
Beetey Kal and Bulbula. Both the songs are visually very stunning as the film has amazing visual effects.
While his frequent co-star Rani Mukherjee struggles to recover her earlier success, Saif Ali Khan is never out of the headlines but not for his acting.
His personal life namely his relationship with Kareena Kapoor is no secret, and he seems to be enjoying the glow.
Professionally, he has seen career highs and lows in the space of a month, delivering the blockbuster Race and box office dud Tashan. But Tashan's failure has hardly dented his confidence, with Saif lining up a number of interesting projects for release this year. Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, reunites him with Mukherjee and director Kunal Kohli.
Considering that you are picky about your films, what made you decide to sign up for Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (TPTM)?
When I was shooting Race in Durban, Kunal sent me a SMS about the film in four lines, saying it's a story about a guy who has to deal with four orphans and Rani comes down as an angel to help sort things out. I thought it was similar to Mary Poppins and Sound of Music and on the same shelf as Mr India and Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Ke.
Though TPTM falls in the same genre, the narration and the situation of the film is unique, so it didn't take me too long to say yes. I think Kunal is an extremely talented director and knew his treatment would be great.
What sort of a character do you play?
I play Ranveer Talwar, quite a serious kind of guy and an extremely efficient businessman. He's had a very lonely life, brought up without parents. His only achievements are
his company, which has led to him being an achiever but rather lonely and cold. It's probably the most fascinating character I have played, as he does not have a debauched
kind of life.
He's got a hot girlfriend [played by Amisha Patel] but he doesn't take her too seriously. What I like about Ranveer is that we see him dealing with these four orphans, balancing emotions, dealing with women and things that he is just really awful at. How he comes out of such situations is what makes him heroic and interesting. You have been experimenting with your looks in your recent films.
Can you tell us something about your look in the film?
For this character we thought of a slightly more severe kind of look with hair swept back, clean shaved and well manicured. I used to joke that he is an old guy stuck in a sexy body [like me]. He is actually quite cool but doesn't know it because he is busy dealing with these four troublesome kids.
Don't you feel the audience may get a sense of déjà vu seeing you act with kids and Mukherjee once again after Ta Ra Rum Pum?
Initially I was afraid that with TPTM's premise it might be boring and putting Rani and me with four kids could spell trouble, especially after the reception of Ta Ra Rum Pum,
where the younger crowd didn't want to see us in that situation.
Kunal was aware of this fact and that is why he has ensured that they are not our children and we are playing different characters. Rani plays an angel who can do magic, so
there are lot of comic and dramatic elements that set it totally apart from Ta Ra Rum Pum.
You share a special onscreen chemistry with Mukherjee.
Rani is a fantastic actress. Aditya Chopra [producer of TPTM] always says that we work well together because she tends to ground me while I make her a little more Western. So despite being poles apart we gel well together and that's why I think we share an interesting chemistry on screen.
I have a lot of respect for her as she is very down-to-earth and family-oriented. That girl has strong values. I think the more I have matured and become calmer, the more my relationship with her has improved.
Finally how was it working with Amisha Patel, who is a newcomer to the team?
I think Amisha is very sweet she adjusted her dates in order for me to get a little holiday. She provides the “oomph factor"in the film and I have a sexy song called Lazy Lamhe with her. We had only about five or six days of work together which were warm and pleasurable.