Rakul Preet Singh: In the big league and loving it

Rakul Preet Singh  

People have earlier appreciated me on how I look in a film, for instance the ‘Le Chalo’ song in Bruce Lee. It felt good. This is the first time people are telling me I performed well, and that gives me the maximum satisfaction,” says Rakul Preet Singh, basking in the appreciation that’s coming her way for Nannaku Prematho.

The classy revenge drama spearheaded by Sukumar doesn’t dismiss the heroine as a chirpy glam doll. In March 2015, Sukumar met Rakul and outlined her character. “He asked me to imagine I am the daughter of a business tycoon, like Lakshmi Mittal. He wanted me to have the gait, diction and styling of someone born rich and yet stays grounded,” remembers Rakul.

A few sittings later, when Rakul heard the narration of the entire story, she knew she was on to something special. “I liked the fact that the script is the hero and even Tarak (NTR) agrees he is just a character. Normally, the interval bang is characterised by loud music and the focus is on the hero. Here, the hero walks away with his back to the camera and it isn’t him who is in focus,” she explains.

Before the film went on floors, she and stylist Ashwin Mawle had “at least a dozen trials” for her look. Ashwin sourced garments from Spring/Summer collections of leading brands and designers, shopped in London, Bangkok and Milan. “The colour palette had earthy shades to suit the backdrop of London and Spain where we were shooting. Each evening we’d do trials with costumes, bags, shoes and accessories,” she says.

Dubbing, the first time

While shooting in London, Sukumar felt Rakul should lend her own voice to the character since she had learnt Telugu. “I wasn’t sure. Speaking in broken Telugu is one thing and dubbing is another. When we returned to Hyderabad, he asked me to do a trial dub. I did and liked how I sounded,” she says.

Rakul let her natural twang in Telugu reflect in her dubbing and it gelled with the London-bred character, Divyanka. She spoke in a laidback, easy going fashion as opposed to the trademark chirpiness one associates with a heroine’s character. “If you notice, Divyanka isn’t pleased when she is offered coffee during her first meeting with the hero. As a rich girl, she is used to men flirting with her. She trails off her sentences with ‘you know what? Oh just forget it’ and that had to sound natural. It fell in place since I dubbed,” she says.

Rakul recalls the team becoming emotionally connected with the storyline. She was a bundle of nerves before the release. “I was shooting till 12 and the benefit show was at 4am. I couldn’t sleep,” she says.

When the first reviews trickled in giving rise to mixed talk, speculating if the film would work in B and C centres, she was worried. “Reviewers are entitled to say if they liked the screenplay, performance and execution of a film or not. But when they say things like the film doesn’t cater to a certain audience, it leaves people wondering if they should watch it,” she says. Eventually, Rakul notes, people warmed up to the film.

‘Everyone gets a raise’

The success of Nannaku Prematho’s has boosted her position and it is said that she has hiked her remuneration. She laughs, “Everyone gets a raise when they do well. No one asked me what I got for my initial films. There was a time I got paid Rs. 6 lakh. I charge what producers are willing to pay me.”

Next, there’s Sarrainodu with Allu Arjun, a film with Nithiin, a project with Bellamkonda Sreenivas, and new offers she’s on the verge of accepting.

Her entry into the big league hasn’t come easy. When she first began acting at 18, it was a struggle.

“In 10 months, I was replaced from three films. That’s when I realised I need to take my work seriously. It’s a blessing I didn’t get things easy. If I had, I wouldn’t realise the value of success,” she trails off.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 5:32:18 PM |

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