‘We can’t take any character lightly’

Debarati Palit
Monday, 23 April 2018

Actor Jaideep Ahlawat talks about preparing for his role in Raazi, working with Meghna Gulzar, and how he’s choosing projects

The trailer of Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi is out, and it’s creating the right buzz not just for the content of the film, but also for the impressive glimpses of the starcast-—Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapoor, Shishir Sharma and Jaideep Ahlawat. 

Jaideep plays the role of a spy trainer who knows everything in and out of the intelligence bureau. “Alia’s character is my responsibility. I am supposed to keep her safe, that’s how I get involved in the secret operation she is sent for,” he says. While he’s seen training Alia onscreen, Jaideep says he has to work on himself offscreen. 

“It took us two days to get the look that Meghna had in mind for my character. I had to work on my language because back in 1971 people used to speak Hindi differently than they do now,” says Jaideep. But that wasn’t all that he had to do. Talking about the research he did to prepare for his role, he says, “I had a few reference points in mind. I read up about several intelligence agencies like RAW (India), ISI (Pakistan), KGB (Soviet Union), CIA (United States of America), Mossad (Israel) and how they operate. I also watched films like Munich to understand the body language and mindset of the spy agents. I also went back to history books to read up about the political scenario involving India, Pakistan and Bangladesh back then,” he says. 

The actor shares how Meghna helped him out too. “She had told me that at any time if I needed her guidance regarding my character and the story, I could reach her. I also learnt target practicing with guns,” he adds. 

Ask him if one has to approach an intense character differently and he replies, “I don’t think so. No matter what kind of character you are playing, you have to play it with your best of ability. You can’t take any character lightly. Having said that, everyone has their own method of preparation and style.” 

Raazi is Jaideep’s first film with Meghna and the rest of the team. He calls his experience of working with the director ‘brilliant’. “Just like everyone else, I am a huge fan of Gulzar Sahab. And when I watched Talvar, I was in complete awe of Meghna. I think she is a brilliant filmmaker. In fact, while coming out of the theatre, I had told a few of my friends that I wish I was part of that film. The wish of working with her has now been fulfilled,” he says. 

He talks about how Meghna is one of the few directors who is not only intense but completely dedicated to her work. “She took care of the actors and every small detail. She was working 24*7 during preproduction. We met several times before the shoot to understand each character. The scenes were shot smoothly because we had done our homework so well. The entire team knew what we were shooting on that particular day. We shot eight scenes a day but things weren’t hotchpotch,” he further adds. 

Jaideep is all praise for his co-star Alia. He says, “She is very energetic and was open to suggestions. She didn’t have any airs about being a star and once she reached the set, she was the character. She really worked hard on her character.” 

In spite of being one of the talented actors in Bollywood, we do not see Jaideep in too many films. He reasons, “If a script doesn’t hit me the first time I hear it, it becomes dicey. You should feel the story or it should pinch you somewhere. I love to do films that offer something challenging or ones where I get to learn something new.” 

After Raazi, the actor will be next seen in two films, both by Dibakar Banerjee, including Love and Lust and Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar produced by Yash Raj Films.

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