Rakul Preet seems busy, as she answers my call. She is already back on the sets of the film she is shooting for next. Despite her tight schedule, she obliges, and begins talking about her year, and what a bustling year it has been. She has had two releases, Dev in Tamil and De De Pyaar De in Hindi; she also did a cameo in NTR Kathanayakudu in which she got the opportunity to play Sridevi. Interestingly, both of her films saw her play different versions of the modern, sophisticated young wo
man. “If you look at my character in De De Pyaar De, it is the sort I have never played before. She is fun, liberated, and with a naughty streak,” says Rakul. Dev, on the other hand, saw her play Meghna, a successful businesswoman who has trouble believing in relationships. She says there have been times when she felt like slapping her character. “But I understood that there are people who are as complicated and insecure. Actors by nature are observational — I learn a lot from observing people. And naturally, there are times I emote using personal experiences,” she explains.
But for NGK, in which she works with Selvaraghavan for the first time, she had to step in with a clean slate. Despite being an ‘instinctive actor’, Rakul says you can never guess what Selva has in mind. “His characters are so strong because he thinks of details that many others don’t. His vision is unique and different,” she says. A fan of Selvaraghavan’s Aayirathil Oruvan and 7G Rainbow Colony, Rakul says his working style helped her blend into his vision more easily. “The three-second pause we take before saying our lines or the no-blink rule he enforced didn’t affect me. The atmosphere on the sets is calm and relaxed. He also never uses a clapboard and says an actor will get depressed upon seeing it,” she says.
In NGK, she plays Vanathi, an aspiring politician, a role she is thrilled about. “A strong and ambitious woman, she remains inscrutable to others. Nobody can read her mind. I have never done such a role before.” NGK also sees her collaborate with Suriya and Sai Pallavi for the first time. “Suriya sir shows no airs. He mingles with everybody easily and would do anything to make us all feel comfortable on the sets. I have four-five combination scenes with Pallavi. She has played her part really well. She is a talented artiste, who acts effortlessly,” she says.
While on offbeat roles, you can’t miss asking Rakul about her upcoming sci-fi film helmed by Indru Netru Naalai-fame, Ravikumar. The actor who has already begun working on the project is careful not to reveal much about the film. “It takes longer to shoot for a film with heavy VFX because there are multiple shots. I really can’t say anything more as it is too early.” The project sees her team up with Sivakarthikeyan for the first time. “Siva is a funny and warm person. It has been a great experience working with him.”
Rakul might have had three urbane characters back-to-back, but the Dev actor is not in the least worried about being stereotyped. She reveals that scripts that belong to varied genres have actually come her way. “It’s probably because I have done a bit of everything. I’ve done the quintessential commercial heroine, and also, the offbeat characters,” she says. Rakul is quick to add that she wants a balance between both kinds. Ask her if she has a dream role, and she swiftly replies, “a classic love story — in the lines of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. I would love to be part of a cult love story, the kind of film that stays relevant and special even after a decade.”