After our chat with Shahana Goswami we spoke to Rajat Kapoor about his role in Midnight’s Children where he plays the character of Aadam Aziz. The film releases this Friday, Febuary 01, 2013. Listen to the interview below :)
MissMalini: Hi Rajat, Malini here.
Rajat Kapoor: Hi Malini, how are you?
MM: Thanks so much for taking the time. I’m really excited to see Midnight’s Children, can you tell me about your role in the film?
RK: I’m playing Aadam Aziz, Dr Aadam Aziz. The book begins with Aadam – well, his name is Aadam, so I suppose he’s the first one, like Adam. So he’s, I think, everything that’s good with the country at the time – he’s a liberal minded doctor who’s come from the west with new ideas about what kind of country they would like to live in Of course, this is pre-partition India.
MM: Have you read the book?
RK: I’ve not read that book. Because once I read the script, I thought one should not read the book.
MM: Right, of course. So I always wanted to ask you – you’ve always done sort of interesting, off-beat films. Is this something you’re doing by choice or it happens to you?
RK: Well, one has a certain sensibility, and as far as possible one has to stick with your beliefs. Also this is the kind of cinema that I like watching, what I like doing,s o why should I not continue doing it? I went to film school, I studied direction, and my idea was not to make money, it was to make movies – I came here to make movies that I believe. That was very clear to me in the beginning and that continues.
MM: It seems like with Slumdog and Life of Pi, movies with Indian actos speaking English are much more acceptable and doing better. Have you felt that?
RK: I think Nagesh made the first Indian film in English, Hyderabad Blues. And even films like Mixed Doubles, I think the whole 2000s saw this kind of then-called multiplex cinema,, which brought in people who spoke like us. People shifted from Hindi to English easily, how we speak in our lives – it’s a reflection of our times.
MM: What kind of characters do you most like to play? We loved you as the evil uncle in Monsoon Wedding and now you’re playing like the epitome of goodness. Which is more fun to play?
RK: Everything is fun. When actors don’t have much to do, they make up stories about how hard they work, but it’s actually really easy, I msut tell you. work.From my experience, it’s the easiest job in the world
MM: You rarely hear people saying that.
RK: But it’s true. Actors do nothing. They just stand there, look left, say this, sit down, and then that’s it. You come home to lots of money. Everybody else on a film set works hard, from the camera department, sound department, production, design, sets. Actors just wait in their vanity vans, doing something on their phones, and then they come when the shot is ready, stand there for three minutes in the light, and then go back.
MM: That’s true. Deepa Mehta as a director, did she give you a lot input or a lot of freedom?
RK: I think a lot of people got a lot of freedom. She was dealing with some 50 actors and she was gentle with all of them. She was ready for everybody’s inputs, which is what’s really nice about her – she’s very accepting.
MM: This has been mega-awards season. What do you feel about these awards, and did you watch the films that won?
RK: I don’t watch films, you know. Maybe one or two in a year.
MM: Do you watch your own? The ones you’ve acted in?
RK: No, not all.
MM: Really? Which ones have you not seen?
RK: *laughs* I can’t tell you that. I haven’t seen 50% fo that.
MM: So in your opinion, what’s a must-watch film, either Hindi or English?
RK: The last was Gangs of Wasseypur part 2.
MM: You liked part 1 as well?
RK: Part 1 was okay, it wasn’t very good I thought, but part 2 was excellent. Really, really good, I loved it.
MM: What do we have to look forward to from you next, what’s happening after Midnight’s Children?
RK: There’s a film I finished shooting last year, my film called Aankhon Dekhi. We’re in post-production right now, it should be ready by May, and hopefully it’ll release by the end of this year. It’s got Sanjay Mishra and me.
MM: You watch a lot of International films?
RK: I do. Not only Hollywood, but world cine,a.
MM: And in terms of all the nominated films, any that you really like?
RK: I saw Argo, I’m waiting to see Django Unchained.
MM: But tell me more about working with people on set. I spoke to Shahana earlier, and she said she gets typecasted as an offbeat actress but would love to do mainstream more. What was it like to work with her?
RK: Shahana is lovely, I’ve known her for three years. We’ve worked together in Naseer’s film where I had one day’s role and we had a scene together. I’ve always liked her. What was nice about Mdinight’s Children is that Deepa managed to get a whole lot of wonderful actors. So the time we spent in Sri Lanka was quite memorable. Three of these girls are my daughters, so we bonded very well. There was Rahul Bose, Ronit Roy, Satya. Bonding with actors was interesting, and like I said, actors do nothing so we had lots of time to sit around chatting.
MM: People wanted to know, who are your favourite Bollywood stars?
RK: I like them all. I think Shah Rukh is fantastic, I like Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif… they’re all wonderful actors.
MM: What’s a scene people should look out for in Midnight’s Children that you feel very passionately about?
RK: The first 20 minutes in which I’m there.
MM: Did Salman Rushdie watch the movie, did he have any reactions?
RK: He has seen it, of course now many times. For the first cut he cried, I heard, from people. I think he’s very fond of the film – I don’t know this personally, but that’s what I heard.
MM: A message for all your fans?
RK: Thank you very much for your support for the kind of cinema that we do and that we’d like to do. It’s only possible because there’s somebody watching these films, otherwise we’d not be able to do it at all.