The petite Punjabi actress Rakul Preet Singh is going places. Having conquered the Telugu film industry with a slew of successes, she is back in Mumbai with a film titled Aiyaary opposite Siddharth Malhotra and directed by Neeraj Pandey.
“Yes, it’s official now. I am doing the film. For some time, I had to keep quiet about it because the producers wanted to make their own announcement,” reveals Rakul.
Rakul, who started her career with a Kannada film Gilli in 2009 did her first Hindi film Yaariyan for T-Series in 2013. She admits that doing another Hindi film is like a homecoming for her.
Recalling her debut, Rakul says, “I was doing my B.Sc in mathematics, barely able to understand life, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Acting was not even an option and I was doing some modeling when this offer to act in a Kannada film came my way. I agreed only because I was offered `5 lakh for it. It was a lot for a girl in college 8 years ago, whose pocket money was only `2,000.”
After Gilli, Rakul was flooded with Kannada film offers, but she chose to go back to college. She returned with a Telugu film Keratam, after which there was no looking back. “I’ve done close to 18-19 films in Telugu since 2011. It has not been a rapid climb, rather my success has been slow and steady. In fact, for my first Telugu film, I chose to do a guest appearance rather than the lead,” says Rakul.
Playing the lead in a succession of Telugu hits put Rakul in the top league of Telugu cinema. “Most of the films I did were hits. I can speak Telugu fluently, though I haven’t done my own dialogues in any of my Telugu films, except one where I played a London-based character. As an NRI, my character could get away with some mistakes in the Telugu diction as they are otherwise very particular here about how the lines are spoken.”
Rakul says she has not been particularly hit by the patriarchal system of working in Telugu cinema. “Of course, there is male dominance, but nothing has affected my career or put me in a secondary situation,” she says.
For her next Telugu release SPYder, Rakul is paired with Mahesh Babu. But she is not embarrassed about the length of her role. “I’ve a very interesting part as a medical student who is a little weird and clumsy. She has her own ideas about life and I am quite amused by my character,” she shares.
Rakul’s own expectations are quite simple. “Good well-defined roles in cinema of any language, be it Telugu, Tamil or Hindi. I don’t think language is a barrier any longer. Look at what Baahubali has achieved,” says Rakul....