Sardaarji 2 – Redefining entertainment with Diljit, Sonam and Monica
Carrying forward the laurels earned by the entertaining fantasy, Sardaarji 2 is the must awaited sequel of Rohit Jugraj’s Sardaarji. Starring Diljit Dosanjh, Sonam Bajwa and Monica Gill in lead roles, the film aims to create a balance between portraying reality and exploring cinema.
The actor along with his two leading ladies got into a conversation with Pandolin to unfold the journey taken to get into the skin of the characters, the responsibilities of an actor, and the juggle between themselves and their roles.
Sardaarji 2 is sequel of an immensely successful film commercially. Do you the pressure of the sequel then, considering you are the lead?
When we initially thought of this film, we did not think of it as a sequel. There was an idea that Rohit (Jugraj, Director) had, which I liked and we went ahead and wrote a screenplay on it. It was only when we were done writing that we thought, “Okay, this can also be presented as a sequel to Sardaarji.” Hence there was no pressure as such, because we did not start with that thought.
Tell us about your association with Rohit Jugraj and how would you describe him as a director on set?
I’d worked with Rohit for the first time in Sardaarji and one thing that was quite apparent and clear was that he is very hard working. He is really passionate about his work. The film did really well and got its due back monetarily, and that earned the sequel and also the kind of budget we got for the film. That did put some more responsibility on our shoulders and demanded extra effort, which we have tried to put in. What I like the most about him though, is that he puts a lot of heart into whatever he does.
You are also a singer. How do you juggle both your roles? What is the process you follow while lending your voice to a song?
I love both the roles equally. More so because there hasn’t been a chance where I have been asked to only sing or only act. I have given vocals to whichever film I have acted in and I really enjoy the process.
The film talks about the issue of farmers but in an entertaining way. As actors how important is it to be associated with the right kind of films that convey important messages?
It is very important. I recently did a film called Punjab 1984, which won a National award. It was a very sincere film about a real issue. And then there was Sardaarji, which was a fun film, fantasy almost, which was created simply to entertain people. Sardaarji 2 is a mixture of both. With this we are trying to say something relevant and also entertain the audience and earn money.
You recently made your Bollywood debut with Udta Punjab. How excited or nervous were you about it?
Everything is going good so far. There was a lot of stress until a few days ago, but now that the film has released, things are great. I am happy that a film that we had all worked so hard for is finally getting its due. That is very satisfying.
Tell us something about your character in the film.
Soni, my character is someone who hasn’t been seen in Punjabi cinema before. She is a spicy little girl, always fighting. And that is quite visible in the trailer. She is pompous almost, and I am very glad that Rohit and our producers had faith that I could pull it off. Because a character like this is quite dangerous. If played it subtly, it could have fallen flat. But there is a lot of innocence in the character, and that is what attracted me to it. And I hope that it came through, that innocence.
This is your second association with Diljit. Have there been any changes you have noticed since last time? Has the chemistry become easier?
I do have a very good working relationship with Diljitji, in the sense that we can toss ideas to each other about performing a scene in a certain way. He is a very spontaneous actor. So he would read a scene and suggest that we perform it in a certain way. That worked in our favor because we could try different things.
This is the first time that you’ve worked with Director Rohit Jugraj, and he has a history of huge films associated with him. Was it intimidating to work with him?
No. In fact I am hungry for directors like that. I want to work with somebody who makes me do things that I never thought I’d be able to do. For me Soni was quite an adventure to create. She is perhaps the most difficult character that I have played till date. Because Rohit was an experienced director, he was very in tune with what I was going to be able to do and what simply wasn’t for me. And I feel very fortunate that this happened to me.
Both Monica and you have worked with Diljit before. But this is the first time that the three of you have worked together. How was that experience?
It is always good to work with new actors. This was a fresh team and I had a lot of fun while shooting the film. A major chunk of the film is shot in Australia, so that was a very beautiful experience in itself. Otherwise also, there was a lot of learning involved. Shooting in a new country, a new location, all by yourself, and keeping yourself fit no matter what was the biggest challenge I faced. Learning how to deal with such things though was my biggest take back from the film.
The character you play in the film is a funny, immature, typical girl, which is visibly quite different from you in real life. What is the kind of preparation that one goes through for something like this?
Before the film, we had a lot of workshops with the director and co-actors. The director would give us the narration and then we had to read the script on our own. Post that we had to build our own characters. So one could add quirks and traits. Of course everything is discussed with the director and if both of you are on the same page you incorporate those things into the character.
For most films that fall into the commercial bracket, the script is not given too much importance. Have you’ll stuck completely to the script or was much improvised on set?
Honestly, there was a lot that was improvised, not to mention that it was obviously for the betterment of the film. There are new things you discover while you are performing and on that level if there are changes that make the film better, I see no harm in implementing them. But there were no drastic changes that were suddenly done. The basic structure and story remained the same.