Cast Chat: Mubarakan
Identical twins, a twist of fate and a hilarious confusion that results in a roller coaster of laughter – that’s what Mubarakan has in store for the audience. The ensemble of this Anees Bazmee directorial includes Arjun Kapoor in a double role, sharing screen space with his real uncle Anil Kapoor and actresses Athiya Shetty and Ileana D’Cruz. We get Arjun, Anil and Athiya to tell us more about this fun film.
You’ve earlier played a double role in Aurangzeb as well. Were there any challenges you faced this time round for Mubarakan?
In Aurangzeb, I only faced myself once in the entire course of time. I didn’t have any dialogues with myself. I had to build two characters and shoot with them in isolation. There was no switching between the two characters in the same scene, ever.
In terms of everyday shooting, the preparation is still similar because you have to build two characters from scratch. But in this film, the content was very dynamic. I share a lot of screen time with myself, for almost 60 minutes.
How difficult is it get the right comic timing while performing a double role?
It’s very difficult for me to tell you how I did it and how tiring it was! I used to come in the morning before anybody else, sit with Anees sir, the camera team and the VFX team. We would go through the scene where I had to perform both the parts. Then we’d make the choice about which of my characters would be shot first. The more active one, the one overlapping with most other characters or who was largely in the foreground was shot first. Because the guy behind could be placed wherever. Then I had to sit with Balli (Balwinder Singh Janjua), who was the writer and also the body double, and run him through the scenes. I had to tell him to overlap his timing otherwise we wouldn’t get that punch of comedy. We worked with a motion control camera to get it right.
Would you call this one of your most challenging roles?
Technically, yes. Every film is difficult for various reasons. But this film had to look seamless. People feel that since it is a comedy film, we must have enjoyed making it. We did, but if you see the making of the film, you’ll realize (the hard work). Even if there was a small technical mistake, I had to redo the entire scene. But it’s been worth it. I’ve worked hard in every film but this one seems more because it was technical. It was physically and mentally tiring.
What made you want to be part of Mubarakan?
The excitement for me to do Mubarakan was its script. I heard it and instantly felt that I should do this role (Kartar Singh). Working with Arjun (Kapoor) was like a cherry on the cake and of course the entire team that came together.
How would you say is Mubarakan different from other comedy films?
From a technology point of view, things have changed because we have special effects. The double role looks more real, seamless, and that’s the advantage of technology. When you watch the film, you’ll feel like they are two different characters.
How was your Mubarakan experience?
It’s a comedy with a heart. I’m really blessed to work with a director like Anees Bazmee because he’s a director who makes it really easy for an actor. He’s very clear about what he wants. He allows you to be spontaneous in front of the camera and even brings out the side that you didn’t know you have! That is what Mubarakan did for me.
I learned a lot during the shoot of this film, from Anil sir – his energy, the type of human being he is. I felt the same with Arjun. He’s such a great co-star and I’m so blessed that I got to work with him in my second film. He’s extremely selfless. As an actor, he never concentrates only on himself. He’s always concentrating on the bigger picture. Even with Ileana, working with all these people made me feel more confident about myself and that’s exactly what I needed in my second film.
What have been your learnings from Hero to Mubarakan?
Your first film chooses you, and I think I could not have been happier to have done it (Hero). If you tell me to do Hero again, I’d do it a hundred times over because of what I learnt and the people I met. Nikhil sir, salman Sir, they’re such important people in my life even today. Before signing Mubarakan, I told both of them and they were so positive and encouraging about it.
I think in your first film, you’re just getting used to being in front of the camera. So sometimes, you aren’t even aware of what you’re doing because there’s so much happening around you and you’re immersed in that newness! But, in your second film, you kind of step back, and observe what’s happening around you. In my second film, I learned a lot. It’s very important for an actor to never stop learning.