Vipul Shah, most remembered for bringing out Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif starrer Namastey London, is now all set to come out with Namaste England featuring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. While speaking to the lead actors Arjun and Parineeti about their film, they revealed interesting details like Akshay Kumar’s reaction, comparison with Badrinath Ki Dulhania, long-distance relationship and more.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Would it be right to call Namaste England the sequel of Namastey London?
Arjun: No. If you see anything in the film, you wouldn’t imagine it to be a sequel. You would get a sense of the same world. If it reminds you of a film in its texture and thought process, you would still not call it a sequel because it’s different characters and journey altogether.
Do you agree that people will be spoilt for choice with Badhaai Ho and Namaste England?
A: If both the films work, they will. If you’ve seen the last year, films work no matter how and what. Today clashes and discussions like that don’t make a difference to the audience. Our film is coming out on Dusshera which for me is a big holiday. For us, it is going and getting entertained with family and friends. Namaste England is that film where the entire country can go with their families and watch. It’s a sweet love story, which India has grown up on.
Another film Loveyatri released, which also travels to London. So will it be right to say that London is second home to India?
Parineeti: That’s a co-incidence. Loveyatri and Namaste England obviously have no connection. Not only this, I think films have been going to London, England and Canada for a long time. These two countries really offer a second home to Indians. There’s a lot of Punjab and India there. So it becomes an obvious choice in the story. They are also very shoot-friendly locations.
Why not Namaste Canada?
P: I think when Vipul sir was writing the film he had envisioned this girl and boy wanting to go to England more than Canada. We wanted to explore Canada as a new location because that was another favourite for Punjabis. There’s Australia, Canada and London as top 3 destinations that Punjabis like to go to. They have their communities, family members and decade-long associations with these countries. Vipul sir was mostly attached to London, so we stuck to that.
Will we also see you wear Indian wear in London?
P: It is again related to the story. There’s a journey which the character goes through. There’s a reason why she dresses up differently in London. We wear western clothes in India and wear Indian clothes there, but all depends on the character. Even he (Arjun) is dressed a little differently over there. We’re dressing according to the point in our lives, not the location.
Your film has been compared to Badrinath Ki Dulhania. What would you say on that?
A: Of course films will get compared to one another because that’s what audiences tend to do before they watch it. It’s a very natural process and happens with every film. When you see a movie trailer, it reminds you of something. If we’re being compared to a hit film, that means they’re seeing something very, very exciting and positive. I guess the comparison comes down to the fact that in both the films, the girls have ambitions. The biggest difference between both the movies is that in Badri they get married in the last scene of the film and here they are married in the first 10 minutes of the film. This story is about the differences in a marriage, whereas that was where a boy was dying to get married to a girl who didn’t want to get married because of her ambition. With social media, comparisons have grown. Somebody might say you look like somebody else but eventually you are unique. But it’s something which you are used to as actors and it doesn’t change the film’s journey.
What is the USP of the film?
P: We even signed the film because of the simplicity of the film. That is its strength. The kinds of films which most people have grown up watching are simple love stories with conflict and resolution in the end. This film’s journey is very much like that in the end. It’s a simple love story which I enjoyed shooting. We’ve not seen such kind of storytelling since a long time. It will make them feel closer to the kind of films they grew up watching.
A: When we as Indians go to watch a romantic film, we expect it to be romance,
comedy, emotion, journey, relationships, up and downs, conflicts, family. In the chaotic time today, when there’s so much madness around you, all you want to do is go to the theatres and watch a film that makes you smile. Namaste England is a film that will make you smile through and through.
Seeing that Akshay Kumar was the first choice for the film, what was going on in your mind when you heard the script?
A: When I heard it, I found it exciting because there’s a married couple who’s going through a conflict. After Ishaqzaade, me and Parineeti are playing a young, romantic, married couple. That excited me. I also thought it’s a fun film for me as an actor since I wanted to go out there and do comedy, have fun and be relaxed. I had done a few intense films, including Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. That was pretty much it. When Vipul sir told me this is a franchise, I said I have no issues unless you, me and Akshay sir on the same page. I don’t want Akshay sir feeling that I’m stepping into his shoes or climbing on top of him. So if there’s an absolute clarity, then it’s absolutely fine. I spoke to Akshay sir for exactly one minute, when he told me that it’s a good script, have a blast and enjoy it.
Tell us about your truck scene.
P: After seeing me, his tractor was in full form.
A: That happens with bikes and cars. For me, it was tractor! The trainer who showed us the wheelie, it’s a very cool thing because he actually goes to competitions and does the wheelie! He came with 2-3 people and there were speakers and all in his tractor!
P: I think it’s a very cool think to do in Punjabi boys. Swag, tashan, all the words have come from Punjab, where I have grown up in. Punjabi boys like to do these special things for their girls and the girls love it when boys put on that flamboyance. So it also goes with this character but I think he did look cool while doing it.
A: Vipul sir made me sit and do it, so I did it.
What do you both think about long-distance relationship?
P: It’s very tough.
A: Credit to people who have actually survived it.
P: Personally for me it’s incredible. A relationship for me is very personal, intimate and I don’t relate to long-distance relationships at all which is why I get very impressed when people tell me stories of their long-distance relationships. The concept is lost now. As actors, we are away most of the time and that kind of connection with someone is even more special, so to not be able to enjoy that because of distance, it is something which I don’t understand. So hats off to those who survive years of it. They survive relationship, marriage, kids and family. We cannot relate to it. We’re always out of our home and cities so.
A: As actors it’s difficult for us to imagine since we’re craving to have a foundation. Because of the lifestyle we lead, we’re nomadic by nature. So we need a relationship that we can come back to. But I’ve seen many people go through it. My very own co-stars – someone like Ileana – has survived how she is with her boyfriend. He lives in Australia, she’s working in India. So it’s not impossible but takes a lot. You have to prioritize your relationship a lot along with your work. You cannot take it for granted for a minute. That becomes difficult in this profession because your time is not your own. Professionalism is basic understanding in the film industry. You can’t afford to not have that. Relationships suffer when they’re not living with you.
So if you get into a long-distance relationship, do you think like Param you will go to the lengths to be with your love?
A: I hope so. Or else I’m wasting the girl’s time. But I don’t even want to reach the stage where I have to go and do something drastic. I would like to do something drastic in a good way, like the surprising part of it. That part of me is there. I am a romantic, even though not a die-hard romantic....