Rakul Preet doesn’t agree that Spyder marks her comeback to Tamil cinema. “I’m not sure we should call it a ‘comeback’. That word almost seems to denote that I was doing nothing (laughs).” But she agrees there was a gap in her work here, and attributes it to her non-stop work in Telugu cinema. “Spyder is my fifteenth film in the last three and a half years,” she explains and says she had to reject a lot of Tamil offers.
But Spyder had everything she wanted in a Tamil film and she signed it before even listening to the script.
“I wanted to return to Tamil cinema and this offer came to me when I wasn’t in the country. My manager called me regarding this, and I told him to immediately accept it as AR Murugadoss sir has always been in my must-work-with list. On top of it, Mahesh Babu is the hero, and I knew Santhosh Sivan sir was on board too. There are films which you got to be a part of, if only so you can learn from such stalwarts.”
Rakul reveals that she plays a nerdy, clumsy medical student. “My look will be very different in the film and is the product of an entire day spent figuring it out. We tried almost 50 specs and the hair had to look messy too.” She quickly says the role is nothing like the one in her Hindi debut, Yaariyan, in which she played a geek. “The approach to both the roles are different.”
On doing a bilingual for the first time in her career, Rakul says, “It was new and consuming. Though I speak Telugu fluently, I had to learn the lines in Tamil too. Even Mahesh Babu who is fluent in both languages found it difficult. So you can imagine how it must have been for me. I sometimes ended up mixing Telugu words into my Tamil which made AR Murugadoss sir opt to do the Tamil scenes first (laughs).” But the dancing portions were the hardest, she says. “It was very difficult to remember the lyrics.”
She hopes to play different roles. “Only in India, we restrict the heroines to certain roles. Look at the West. They are all just actors playing different roles.” Rakul isn’t particularly nervous about Spyder’s reception. “Success or failure doesn’t affect me. I look at each film as an experience. Even if my film gets into the 100 crore club, the high you feel stays only for a day,” she says.
The actress is also doing Karthi’s Theeran Athikaram Ondru in Tamil. “It’s a love story about a couple from a lower middle-class family. I play a local Tamil ponnu whose life revolves around her husband. Naturally, my look is again completely different here. I barely wear any makeup. Both Karthi and I didn’t put too much effort to look like a hero and heroine.”
She’s also signed Suriya’s next with Selvaraghavan. “The script will be locked in a week’s time and we’ll start shooting from November first week.” There’s also a return to Bollywood in the offing. She’s already completed shooting for her second Hindi film, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary.
“My first ever audition was with Neeraj Pandey sir but that didn’t happen and he got busy with Special 26. I was almost a part of his Dhoni biopic too. Sushant (Singh Rajput) and I even did the readings but I had to opt out as I got busy with three Telugu films. But Aiyaary has finally happened. It affirms my belief with that you are meant to work with certain people.” She could well be making the point about Murugadoss too.
Rakul, Karthi to team up again
Rakul and Karthi are coming together for another film after the upcoming Dheeran Adhigaram Ondru. The film will be directed by debutant Rajat Ravi Shankar. The film is expected to go on the floors later this year after she wraps up work on her upcoming Bollywood film, Aiyaary.