Rakul Preet Singh opens up on working with Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Runway 34

Rakul Preet Singh opens up on working with Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Runway 34

Rakul Preet Singh opens up on working with Ajay Devgn and Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Runway 34 – Times of India

After delivering a power-packed performance in ‘Attack’, Rakul Preet Singh’s highly anticipated aviation thriller, ‘Runway 34’ released today. Ahead of the film’s release, the actress opened up on working in the film, reuniting with Ajay Devgn for the second time, and all things in between.
What was that one thing, that attracted you to ‘Runway 34’?

I think the fact that it’s a very different film; it’s not been seen before on Indian cinema. I don’t think we’ve had an Indian film that is an aviation thriller. This space, Ajay sir directing it, getting an opportunity to work with Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Sir again, and doing the role of Tanya has been an enriching journey for me. It’s a power-packed role. So I think all these factors led to my saying yes to the film.

Did you have to do a couple of workshops?
Yes, we took 3-4 days of training. There was a captain who trained us with the cockpit, just so that we are very familiar with what the panel looks like and feels like, because shot ke beech mein, we have to press something, we can’t be like ‘okay, wo kya tha?’ I was making notes and it was a lot like a memory retention class. I think I’ve forgotten everything right now. But at that point, we had workshops to understand the cockpit and we had a captain on set to guide us through, with the right language right before the shots also.

How was the working environment with Ajay Devgn? Was it like ‘De De Pyaar De’?

Both the films are very different. So the atmosphere on set was very different. ‘De De Pyaar De’ was a very light-hearted commercial. So we could joke around on set and all of that, but here because he was also the director and also because the film is not an easy film to shoot, it required a lot of attention from us, a lot of being in the moment. So there was no time to even actually converse much because as soon as the take is okayed, sir is setting up the next shot and he’s checking everyone’s performances, so it’s very difficult what he’s pulled off. It wasn’t an easy one to shoot. So he took up the responsibility of doing ‘not done before’ difficult film and directing it and acting in it. So everybody had a very tense behaviour on set.

Fun BTS moment or any gesture which touched you…

The entire journey has been a memorable one. But I do remember – the whole experience of working with Amit ji for the first time is something I’ll never forget. This one day, he gave biscuits to everybody on set and he came to me saying, ‘Aap toh nahi khayengi’.. ‘Nahi Sir’. So after a while, he comes back and he gave me boxes of nuts – three different boxes of nuts! That’s so, so nice. Like he doesn’t have to do it, you know. In my house, we have nicely placed those three boxes on the side. And my help, who was coincidentally that day on set because she wanted to see the shoot, saw this and made sure to keep those boxes safely. “Yeh Bachchan Sir ne diya hai, isko sambhav ke rakhenge.’ I will never forget this gesture. And otherwise also, the whole experience of working with him is something I’ll cherish forever.

How difficult/overwhelming was it to shoot with two icons?

I don’t like the word difficult. I feel it is exciting when you’re working with people who are better than you. When you’re working with superstars, you get that adrenaline rush – today I’m gonna get to do a scene with them. So it only excites me, it only pushes me to deliver my best when I’m working with people who are better than me.

What is one quality from both of them you’d like to imbibe in yourself?

I think the calmness that Ajay sir has is very, very inspiring. Amit ji has everything in him, but I think the language, the power, the control of language, the voice modulation, and the number of years that he’s been here, the experience that he has is something one must always look up to.

How has your choice of scripts changed over the years?

I don’t think much, I just go by my gut, if there is a certain film. I’m not choosing a film because I want to bring a change. That is not my bigger agenda, I’m choosing the film because I want to do this role. It’s as simple as that. As a byproduct of that. If there is a change coming, that’s great, you know. But I still feel that there’s so much I’ll need to do and want to do an experiment and push that. That’s a byproduct that’ll happen when it has to happen. I choose what I want to do what I feel excited about

Ajay as a director or a co-actor?

Why do I have to choose? Ajay sir is a fantastic actor we all know, but even as a director, the kind of technical brilliance that he has, and the way he has shot this film, even when you see the shots in the trailer to shoot that in a cockpit, he had 7 cameras in a courtroom. He had 11 cameras, I’ve never worked with so many cameras and so many films that I’ve done, whether it was South or Hindi cinema. I think that goes to the cinematographer also. But his team is solid. He knows what he wants and because he’s an actor, he knows how easy it is to make it for the actors because he knew that creating that panic and fear in a small cockpit is difficult and I cannot expect the actors to do it again and again and again.

Anytime you do a project like this, it’s still called an Ajay Devgn project. Why can’t it be like Ajay, Amitabh, and Rakul’s project?

These things don’t matter. And moreover, I think that has changed even today. You are interviewing me here because it is Rakul’s film too. I think this is just a question to ask a question. I think today, the trend has changed. I think women are being given importance. Both the trailers open on my shorts, and my voice, trailer one and trailer two. And of course it is Ajay Devgn’s film. He directed it. And of course, their name should come before me because they’ve been in the industry for so long. I think what my takeaway would be that after they will watch me in the film if they can still say that Rakul stood her ground in front of Ajay and Amitabh, that’s what will be important at the end of the day.


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