Rakul Preet Singh - Language No Bar

She’s come a long way from her first film in 2009, and today Rakul Preet Singh is a well-known name in the southern film industry. Starring in films with stalwarts that include Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun, Jr. NTR, Naga Chaitanya, and now even Sidharth Malhotra, she has had quite a progressive run in her career so far. With three films out already in 2017 and two more on the way, it’s been quite a successful year for her. She’s also soon opening the third branch of her fitness centre – F45 Training – in Kokapet. Read on for the full scoop on her journey.

Let’s start by discussing your year so far, and your upcoming projects.
This year’s been great. I had Rarandoi Veduka Chudham, Jaya Janaki Nayaka, SPYder, and now my Telugu-Tamil bilingual with Karthi is releasing in November, as Theeran Adhigaram Ondru in Tamil and Khakee in Telugu. I also recently finished shooting for Aiyaary which is releasing in January or February next year.

Apart from these I’m starting a film with Surya next month. There’s also another film with Karthi which will start in January, and two more Telugu films which are in the offing. But I can’t talk about them right now.

How was it to work with Sidharth Malhotra in Aiyaary?
It was great! He’s also a Delhiite so we got along really well. In fact, during the shoot we realised that we live in the same neighbourhood in Delhi. He’s a very non-filmy guy with no air, and a lot of fun to hang out with.

Is language a barrier at all, considering you’re working in so many different ones?
Not at all! Films are a medium of art; it’s expressing one’s emotions, and emotions have no language. We all watch films in different languages, either dubbed or with subtitles, and we enjoy it. As an artist, I don’t think that language was ever a barrier.

How is it to act in a language that doesn’t come naturally to you?
I wouldn’t say it was difficult. Of course the first time it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t difficult either; it was challenging. It was something I hadn’t done before, so it gave me that drive to put in more effort. I would always practice my dialogues the previous day so that I was ready on the day of the shoot. But now I speak Telugu very fluently. Similarly with Tamil, I’m now learning the language and I can have a basic conversation in Tamil, too. These challenges push you to work harder.

Was acting always on the cards?
Somewhere, like how every Indian girl wants to be an actress, I did too. But it wasn’t something I’d die for. When I grew up though, I wanted to give modelling a shot, just to see if I could do it, and my mom wanted me to go for Miss India. So, I started modelling when I was just 18 and a month after I made my portfolio, I got a call for my first ever film – a Kannada film called Gilli. Until then I didn’t even know that a South Indian film industry existed. Being an army girl I didn’t grow up knowing much about films. So when I first got the call I refused the offer, saying I wasn’t interesting in doing a South Indian film. I was very childish then, so when I finally decided to do the film, it was because I would make a lot of pocket money from it. But once I began acting I knew this was my calling.

Which movie remake would you like to be part of?
I don’t like the idea of remakes much. Not that I’m against remakes, but ideally I would want to do something new, something that hasn’t been done before. I don’t want to be compared to anyone or anything that’s been done before.

Any role you wish you had done?
I would’ve loved to do a Geet from Jab We Met, or Anushka Shetty’s character in Arundhati.

How do you manage to shift from shooting in one language to another?
It’s easy, I just cut off from the language. Besides, I know all the languages so it’s not that difficult. In fact, it’s funny because sometimes while I was shooting for Aiyaary, I would start talking in Telugu on the sets because my team was the same. So Sidharth used to make a lot of fun of me saying I’m a nakli Punjabi.

How different do you think each industry is from the other?
Not very different except the language, actually. Every industry has good people and bad people, good films and bad films, creative people and non-creative people. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to have met all the right people throughout my career.

How do you stay fit?
I love to workout; I don’t do it just to lose weight, I love to sweat it out once a day to feel sane. I feel like my brain works a lot better after my workout. I’m also a very healthy eater when I’m alone, but when I’m with my friends I get tempted and I indulge. Once I indulge, I can eat as much as a guy!

How do you stay fit during the festive season?
I don’t do anything. In fact, I let myself loose. The month of October, apart from Diwali, has many special days. It’s my birthday month and at least five other close friends’ birthdays. I’m dreading the end of the month because I’m sure I’m going to put on at least 2-3 kilos. My recovery is only going to happen after the festive season ends.

We actors are also human, we’re allowed to let loose and have fun every once in a while. And considering I’m shooting only next month, I will have 10 days after Diwali to get back in shape.

Are you one of those people who no matter how much they eat, they don’t put on any weight?
No way! I’m a Punjabi, so even if I just eat one ice cream I put on a kilo the next day. Trust me, after the amount I work out, I should be skinny.  

What’s your favourite food?
I love homemade food that my mom makes – dal, roti, sabzi. Apart from that I like Thai.

You’ve got flawless skin. What’s your skincare regime?
I suppose because I workout so much, a lot of the toxins from my body are removed. If I don’t workout for a while, it starts showing on my skin. Another thing is that I always take off my make up before sleeping. So no matter how tired or sleepy I am, I make it a point to cleanse, tone, and moisturise before hitting the bed.
I don’t do any facials, lasers or any artificial treatments, because I don’t know how much damage it can do to my skin. Instead I use a lot of natural ingredients like tomato, honey, cucumber, tomato, and curd.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I watch a lot of movies, hang out with my friends, try out different cuisines, have longer workout sessions, and look into my work at F45. Besides all of this, if I don’t have anything to do, I like to
play golf.

You’re quite the fitness junkie. Was that always the case?
Being an army kid, I was raised playing a lot of sports. I played golf at the national level, so I used to practice a lot. So when I shifted from sports to modelling, my way of sweating it out became through the gym. And although I didn’t like it much at first, it grew on me and that’s how my passion turned into business, too.

Were your parents supportive of you entering the film idustry?
Oh yes, my parents were the ones who pushed me to get into acting. Even now, every time I get an offer I discuss it with my parents first. The creative call is mine of course, but I like to keep them in the loop and take their opinion on everything.

How do you manage your acting and business?
F45 is more or less on autopilot mode. But there’s a lot of work that needs constant attention, which my brother helps me out with. He looks into the on-ground management, and I look into the other aspects.

If you were stranded on an island with one person, who would you want that to be?
I don’t want to be stranded at all! And whoever that one person is should be the one who is capable of taking me back to the city. I’m a people person, so I don’t like to be alone at all; I like having people around me all the time.

Name five things that are always in your handbag.
My lip balm, phone charger, wallet, shades, and my dry fruit and nut box.     --- as told to Niharika