The Kajol Interview: I have already told Ajay Devgn that I have delivered a good performance in VIP 2!
In an interaction with BollywoodMDB, seasoned actress opens up about her forthcoming Tamil film VIP 2, her costar, Dhanush, and much more.
Superstar Kajol is back to action with her next film ‘Velaiilla Pattadhari 2’ (VIP 2). Did you find it hard to pronounce the name? Well, it is the title of her second Tamil film in 20 years. Popularly referred to as VIP 2, the film also stars south superstar Dhanush and is all set to hit screens on 25th August. As Kajol gears up for the release of her second Tamil film, BollywoodMDB Reporter, Mohnish Singh, catches up with the effervescent actress for a candid conversation. The actress answers all the questions with consummate ease and spills the beans on the film, her character in it and lots more. Excerpts…
Why did it take you 20 years to do a film in a different language? Your Tamil film Minsara Kanavu, which was dubbed in Hindi as Sapnay, came exactly two decades ago.
When I did Sapnay I was traumatized, because every night I would sit with my Tamil papers and my assistant, who is my close friend now, for two hours and learn the Tamil dialogues for the next morning shoot. It was traumatizing. I cannot tell you how much. I have never studied so hard, not even for my tenth standard’s ICSE exams.
After Sapnay, I put my hands down and decided to not do any second language film. I made it clear, ‘No more films in other languages that I don’t understand. I want to do good Hindi films thereafter.’ That is exactly what I did. But when the makers of VIP 2 approached me for the film, they told me, ‘Ma’am, we wanted you to do this film’. I said, ‘I don’t do Tamil films anymore’. They said, ‘We still want you to hear the script’. I said, ‘Ok, you can come and narrate the script to me, but I am not doing it.’ So, they came and narrated the film to me. I said, ‘It’s a lovely script, but it’s in Tamil. Are you planning to change it to Hindi?’ They said, ‘No, ma’am! We have 50% of the dialogues in English and the rest won’t matter even if you speak them in Chinese. We will dub them all.’ I said, ‘Ok. I don’t know Chinese, but I’ll try the English part of it.’ That’s how we started.
The first two days were really hard. It took me a long while to understand the language, but fortunately Dhanush was the writer of the film and Soundarya was the director. They really worked with me and around me and made sure everything was fine. The first two days I couldn’t sleep at all. But, I guess, on the third day of shooting, I got the rhythm of the language. I started understanding a little bit more about how it flows and it became much, much easier.
What attracted you the most about your role in the movie?
I liked the character. I liked the whole story of the film. I haven’t seen VIP, so the makers first explained to me what VIP 1 was about, its characters, etc. The character which I am playing in VIP 2 is called Vasundhara Parameshwarn. She is a self-made woman who has always done things her way and succeeded. And that in itself has given her an innate confidence in herself that whatever happens in life, whatever life throws at her, she will be able to overcome and manage, because she has herself. She doesn’t require anybody’s help. She doesn’t require anything or anyone else to do what she needs to do to get things done.
She is a career woman?
Yes, she is a career woman. In Hindi, you would say that she has ‘aatmvishwas’. At times, it can be perceived as ‘arrogance’, but in reality she is actually a very self-confident woman. She knows what she wants. She knows how to get attention. She has gotten it and made a huge, huge success out of herself. Raghuvaran, on the other hand, is a character who comes from a completely different world with completely different ideas, ideologies and thoughts. He is very, very stubborn also. So, in what he thinks is right and what he thinks is wrong the film flows.
Vasundhara is also completely selfish and confident and knows exactly what she wants and how to get it and what her world should look like. They both have very, very different ideas. And when these two people and their ideology clash, that’s what the story is about. They both are completely convinced that both are doing the right things. How they salvage it the film is all about it.
Dhanush said that he has grown up watching your films and that when he was writing the character of Vasundhra, he had this impossible dream of working with you. Do you see a reflection of either thing in the role or the script which was offered to you?
I know for the fact that I have definitely infused Vasundhra with a lot more life than what was originally written in the script. Also, I think once you start shooting, things do change, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. But most of the times, I think the writer sees what he has written come to life in a completely different way. Sometimes, it lives up to his imagination. Sometimes it surpasses his imagination. And, according to what Dhanush said, I think he meant the film surpassed his imagination, what he had originally written and what eventually translated to big screen.
Do you related to your character in the movie?
Very, very much so. I think in most characters you have to pick and choose one particular part of them that you identify with and then you exaggerate it, elaborate it and therefore you make it believable to whoever watches it on screen. I think that’s the whole part of choosing characters.
What Ajay Devgn had to say when he saw the film and the trailer?
He liked the trailer, he hasn’t seen the film and so haven’t I. He liked the trailer and said it was a nice commercial trailer. He hasn’t seen the whole film per say, so he can’t judge my performance as yet. But I told him that I have done a good performance (laughs).
The trailer of the film looks very powerful. Your entry, the walk and the talk, everything is very intimidating. Do you think that the time has now come in South cinema where women characters are actually getting the due as compared to earlier times? A whole lot of gamut opened up with Baahubali and how the female characters were presented in the movie. So, how do you see it now?
I don’t know enough about South cinema to tell you whether females are getting more roles right now or not. But I can definitely say that there have always been very, very strong heroines. In fact, heroines down south have temples built to their names. So, they have always done a lot of female oriented films.
As far as Hindi cinema is concerned, we are in a time and age where the word ‘regional’ is slowly being eradicated from our dictionary. And because of the digital and various different mediums that we have in front of us and the fact that we have been watching all dubbed films for, God knows, how many years on Star Gold, we actually recognize those people (south actors). They have also become stars in their own rights and we are repeatedly watching them. So, I think, that itself has changed things around for us as audience. We are suddenly making films which are not concentrating on a certain section of the society. We are making films for general public. And that is all for the good of cinema. Suddenly our audience has changed. Their level and their standard of what a good film should be like have gone up. So we can’t get away with the crap that we were feeding them all this while.
And also when you are so much exposed to international films, you compare your cinema with theirs. As an industry we will have to be on that level otherwise we will be subpar.
How was it sharing screen with Dhanush?
It was great. He is a very fine actor and intelligent man. He has written the film as well, which is great and I could tell him what I liked and what I didn’t so we didn’t have to go anywhere to get things changed (laughs).