Akshay Kumar and Rakul Preet Singh’s Cuttputlli is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar. The OTT release marks Rakul’s 41st film in her career of eight years, but she feels like a newcomer as she tries to strengthen her standing in the Hindi film industry.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Rakul opens up about how sharing screen space with actors like Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar gives her a “sense of satisfaction”. The actor also addresses the criticism against crime thriller Cuttputlli for having a romantic angle.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. How was it working on a film that’s made for a streaming platform and not the big screen?
The process of filmmaking is same. Ultimately an equal number or larger number of people watch a movie on OTT. It also reaches different countries. In today’s time, certain genres are more enjoyable on OTT. We thought Cuttputlli makes for a great watch on any platform.
Q. You have done Attack, Runway 34 and now Cuttputlli. People call you ‘Lady Akshay Kumar’ for doing multiple films in a year.
Cuttputlli is my 41st film in my eight years as an actor. When I was working in Telugu films, I did four-five films in a year. People would jokingly call me ‘Lady Akshay Kumar’. But I am a workaholic. I live, breathe and dream cinema, so I am extremely grateful that I have work. I will never say no to work.
Q. What is your criteria while choosing films, or are you doing what is being offered to you?
I seek work also. My criteria is a combination of things. Sometimes you want to be a part of the script, sometimes you feel that this script is not about my character but I want to be in that story. You want to work with a certain filmmaker, certain actor. I see what excites me when I hear the film, who I want to associate with.
The script of Cuttputlli was so gripping. I couldn’t guess who the killer was till the last ten minutes of the story. I enjoy thriller as a genre. So getting an opportunity to be a part of a good script, to work opposite a good actor, I couldn’t say no to the film.
Q. You have shared screen space with some of the biggest stars — John Abraham, Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar. Do you choose films based on your co-actors?
It is a little bit of everything. I’ll be geeky and tell you, it gives me a sense of achievement in a way. I have been a fan of their work. For a girl who came from nowhere, who knew nobody in the industry, sharing screen space with the biggest stars is a huge sense of satisfaction.
As you evolve as an actor, scripts also matter. In today’s time, whatever I’m signing, there is a conscious effort to be a part of good scripts also. I feel lucky to be a part of films that had good scripts, whether it was De De Pyar De or Runway 34. They were solid scrips. Runway 34 may not have worked but it gave us so much critical appreciation. Today a good script is the most important thing and a criteria for me to do a film. I’d like to strike a good balance. The script has to be good and then if I get a chance to work with these great stars, then why not.
I don’t feel it is my 41st film. I feel like I have just begun and there is so much more I want to do. For me, Hindi cinema is a new playing ground right now. Before I have majorly done Telugu films and a few Tamil movies. I have recently shifted here and started doing Hindi films. There is a new excitement in me to work here, do characters that I haven’t done before. So, I feel that my fire has only increased. I am not trying to take more informed decisions because in the beginning you do things that come to you. Once your films are working and reach a certain level, then you’re in a position to make those choices. That said, I am now starting to choose too, and it is exciting.
Q) The romantic angle in Cuttputlli almost kills the thrill of a mystery thriller. People watching such content on OTT are used to intense, pulpy thrillers. Your thoughts?
There is a certain section of the audience that enjoy (romance, song and dance). We have made this film for families. Indian films are known for the quintessential masala. Today if you say that Telugu cinema is doing well, it is masala that is doing well. People want entertainment. People have had tough lives, especially the last two-three years have been very tough. Families, a large section of our Indian cinema viewers, enjoy the balance. So, if the story is thrilling and intense, a little bit of breather here and there makes it a family watch.