The LGBTQIA+ community has been fighting for their rights for years. How was it playing this role in ‘Badhaai Do’?
Well, I was very glad that Harsh was making this film and he was making it the way he made it. I read the story, and I thought it was very sensitive and very well researched, and a kind of film I would love to watch, which is representing the people from the LGBTQIA community, and I just immediately said that it was a great story. Then we discussed dates and everything worked out for the better. And now when we saw the film, the kind of response and the love we received for the film, was overwhelming for us.
Harsh, what made you make a film on this subject?
For me, the big penny drop moment happened when they narrated the concept to me. It seemed like it’s set out for great laughs and comedy because of the situations and the chaos that continues because they’re also in a sham marriage. But the core of it was the heart of it, which kind of touched me. The insight that was given to me was, when somebody comes out of the closet, it’s not over, the closet just becomes bigger, people get into their closet and that’s their journey. So that insight started making me think and that’s why I wanted to explore the world, I wanted to know more about the characters because somewhere it was deeply tragic and we are the privileged ones who haven’t gone through that pain. I did not hamper the comedy part or the funny part also because of the characters that they were. They are not waking up every day and wallowing in that sorrow or anything, they’re just living their life the way it is and through their ways and means, they’re continuing their journey, which is why the humor was never lost. It was not a serious insightful take. I mean deep down it is, but at the same time, the exterior was quite fun.
Rajkummar, your chemistry with Bhumi was appreciated a lot because of the friendship you both share. Going through something inside you, trying to hide it from your family, but being able to express it to her like a friend…
Bhumi is a wonderful girl and she is one of my closest friends in the industry. She’s extremely talented, so I think it makes all her life easy. It’s good you have somebody so talented, so grounded on the same wavelength. So I think we had so much fun while playing these two characters, also keeping in mind what they go through, the emotional part of it. I think I really can’t imagine anyone else playing Sumi the way Bhumi has played it.
You also have lost a lot of weight while trying to put yourself in this character…
I gained some muscles. Because Shardul wanted to be a bodybuilder while growing up and that’s the first thing Harsh told me that he wants me to be in a certain shape. So I started doing the gym almost after 3 months. I had to eat broccoli and skimmed milk paneer. Being a vegetarian wasn’t easy, but I think it was all worth it, for the part.
A lot of people loved your chemistry with Gulshan a lot…
Well, Gulshan is a phenomenal actor. I’ve known him for many years now. We did a film called ‘Shaitaan’ together and we’ve been in touch since then, and we keep meeting very often. And I know his talent, so it was not like I didn’t even meet him before the film. He came on set directly from the other shoot that he was doing, and then we just started doing the scene and it just came organically to both of us, and more than us Harsh was so happy to see both of us. So I think it just happened naturally.
Talking about your upcoming projects, what is keeping you busy?
I’ve finished ‘Hit- The First Case’, which is an investigative thriller, ‘Monica O My Darling’ with Netflix and ‘Bheed’ with Anubhav sir, then there’s ‘Guns and Gulaab’ which is a Netflix series with Raj & DK. Currently, I’m shooting for a film called ‘Mr. & Mrs. Mahi’ with Sharan.
What was Patralekhaa’s reaction when she watched ‘Badhaai Do’?
It was a great reaction. She was crying and she told me later that this is my favourite film of yours.
Harsh, what are the upcoming projects you’re working on?
Nothing, I’m thinking.
Will we get to see a continuation of ‘Badhaai Do’ somewhere?
What is that one message for that community out there that still struggles to come out in open in front of society?
Saying this would be very easy, but I know the fear, the pain that they go through every day. But I think you have to be strong and if you haven’t watched ‘Badhaai Do’ please watch it because maybe this can inspire you as it has inspired a lot of people out there who have come out in front of their families after watching the film. Just try to be strong and accept who you are.