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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Rakul Preet Singh Opens Up on De De Pyaar De, Ageism in Bollywood & Indian Cinema

Rakul Preet Singh is an Indian film actress and model who predominantly works in the Telugu and Tamil film industries.

She has also appeared in a number of Hindi and Kannada movies. 

Her last Bollywood film was with Sidharth Malhotra in Aiyaary and now, she is set to share screen space with two legendary actors Ajay Devgn and Tabu in the forthcoming comedy De De Pyaar De.

The movie focuses on how 50-year-old Ashish (Devgn) falls in love with 26-year-old Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh) in London. 

However, back in India, there is just a small matter of Ashish’s family, his kids who are the same age as his new lady love.

On top of that, his Ex-wife Manju (Tabu) is still on the scene.

Ashish is about to discover if “Old is still Gold” or Age is not just a number.

Ahead of the film’s release, Filme Shilmy managed to catch up with Rakul Preet about her role and experience of working in De De Pyaar De

Besides it being a Luv Ranjan production and Ajay Devgn starrer, what caught your attention with De De Pyaar De?

I think the fact that it’s such a fun and quirky storyline is something which has not been seen before and relevant to today.

There are so many relationships with vast age-gaps but people haven’t really spoken about it.

However, De De Pyaar De deals with it in a fun and humorous way.

All of these factors put together caught my attention.

From the trailer, all we seem to know is that your character is aged 26 who falls in love with a 50-year-old. What more can you tell us about Ayesha?

Ayesha is someone who has no issues about her love interest being older than her.

She, in fact, shows maturity and is comforting.

Overall, she is a very fun-spirited and independent girl.

From the reactions for the trailer and song, the audiences have commented that you’re looking very different in comparison to your previous films. What went behind putting this together?

After signing De De Pyaar De I had less than two months to shed 8 kilos to look the part of Ayesha on screen.

So, I went on an extreme workout regime and took great care of my diet, so much so that I would weigh my food, not for the fear of eating, but for the fear of eating less.

Other than that, I trained in belly dancing and bartending as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking those classes for two weeks and I remember running back to back from one class to another to learn new things.

I’m just glad that all the hard work has paid off and people have taken notice of the smaller details as well.

The entire team has put together some refreshing and great looks that matched not only Ayesha’s personality but also mine and the results are there for everyone to see.

You’re working with two much-acclaimed actors – Ajay and Tabu. Did that add pressure on you as an actor to live up to their repertoire?

No pressure, but I was very excited because it is what I’ve always wanted to do – to work with seasoned actors and get noticed.

When I was offered the film, Luv sir told me that I was going to be paired opposite two seasoned and award-winning actors.

He told me, “If you can hold your ground in front of them and if people can notice you that is going to be the biggest achievement for you.”

That has been overwhelming for me ever since the trailer was released and the way people have reacted towards me.

Whenever you work with people who know their craft so well, there’s a lot to learn.

For me, it was more exciting.

In the film, there is an age disparity between the two protagonists. But in Indian cinema, we frequently see younger actresses paired opposite elder actors. How do you feel about this? Do you feel this is justified?

I feel that people of different ages have been paired opposite each other because of the type of films that were made.

However, I believe filmmaking is changing. There are newer scripts coming and people are ready to experiment more.

It’s a great phase where the industry is no longer judging you or putting your screen age as your real age and restricting you to such roles.

It is a great space where people are experimenting with roles – like how Priyanka Chopra played Ranveer Singh’s sister in Dil Dhadakne Do and his wife in Bajirao Mastani.

You began your career with Hindi film Yaariyan, then South-Indian films and now Bollywood. Would you say there has been a ‘transition’ for you between both cinemas?

So Yaariyan was my acting debut, which I shot before my first Telugu film, but the Telugu movie released two months prior to my Hindi movie debut.

Before Yaariyan released, that film was a success and I got a few offers from South-Indian cinema so I chose to work there before I came back to Bollywood.

Of course, there has been a transition. But it’s not about the industries and is more of a film-to-film process… That’s how I look at it.

When I do a Bollywood film, I will do South-Indian films as long as I can balance it.

Every industry is the same as it is all about making good content and being happy with your role.

Indian cinema, in particular, seems to be on a revival. What do you think is contributing to this growth?

The audiences have become much more welcoming to newer scripts.

Also, I feel that there is so much content out there (especially with the digital taking over the market completely), people don’t have time to go to the cinema and spend 3 hours watching a film – unless there’s a novelty in it.

People often wait for the film to come on digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch it.

I think the digital space has really pushed filmmakers to be more creative with content.

You can no longer fool the audiences because there is so much to watch!

That’s the reason why I think Indian cinema is growing immensely in the last few years, especially if you look at the style of films that have released and become successful.

It’s a great time.

Many actresses have ventured into Bollywood from South Indian cinema and are balancing both, like yourself. What style of work do you feel will help you to shine in this industry?

I don’t really put so much thought into it… That is something which is destined.

What is in my control is that I do my job right with whatever I have.

I am hoping that people will take notice of me and my work through De De Pyaar and will have much more to choose from.

All that I am looking at doing is credible work and I follow my instincts.

I will take one day at a time. There’s never a plan.

One just has to keep doing their job and find their way in life.

De De Pyaar De, which is directed by Akiv Ali, releases on 17th May. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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