Walking the line between South Indian cinema and Bollywood, Rakul Preet Singh has quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with. After a stellar filmography down south, she set her sights on the big screen in the Dreaming City. At the age of 20, she found herself trying out for the role of Saloni in the coming-of-age film, Yaariyan, which turned out to be a box office blockbuster. From then until her recent hits like Runway 34 and Cuttputlli, she never looked back. While she’s settled in quite comfortably, Singh enjoys having one foot in Bollywood and another in the south and has figured out how to co-exist and produce quality work in film. “I owe a lot to the Telugu film industry because that’s where I found who I was. I will always be very grateful to this industry for the love and knowledge I gained there” , Singh said.
As she rejoices in the success of her latest film, CuttPutlliwe caught up with the actress to find out how she prepares for her roles by putting her through her paces by breaking down her roles in five of her critically acclaimed films.
1. Yaariyan, 2014
Rakul Preet Singh: “Yaariyan was the first film I worked on when I came to Bollywood. You know, when I moved to Bombay, I was all 20. At that time, we been selected, we had workshops, and I was told by my director, Divya, that your character, Saloni, is clumsy and doesn’t walk smart; she’s clumsy and more. So she wanted me to dress like her and that I integrate her ways. If you see, there is no similarity between Rakul and Saloni. She just wanted me to be basic. Even when they were doing workshops, she told me that my hair should always be tousled , so when we did our hair and makeup during the movie it was very simple, they didn’t even blow dry my hair. It was my natural hair, and the idea was to imitate the role of a girl from to I barely wore makeup on screen, not even a base.
“My hair and makeup included tinted sunscreen and lipstick, done in 5 minutes. And I used the same lipstick as a blush. That’s it. During our three to four month prep, when we We were doing workshops, Divya just wanted to And that’s how we prepared It was my first exposure to the world of film and screen, so I absorbed everything that was being said to me, and it t was the start of my journey. For me, Yaariyan will always be a defining film in terms of my understanding of the world I was entering. The film started my journey in the industry. Before that, I had no idea that we were supposed to be stylish for promotions. The main takeaway from the movie was all about the experience of being in a movie and launching my career.”
2. De De Pyaar De, 2019
RPS: “What’s exciting about this role is that when I met Luv Ranjan, I had to go through three rounds of auditions, even though I had already done twenty films in the southern film industry. from India. He wanted to be very sure who he was. wanted to play the role of Aisha. Even though the character of Aisha is in a situation where she is in love with a much older man who is estranged from her woman, she didn’t do anything wrong. When you believe in your character, then you play it with honesty. I love that we were trying to get a message out with this movie. Even now people come to me and tell me how much they loved the movie and that it was an amazing subject The relationship between Madame Tabu and Monsieur Ajay is so beautifully defined in the movie in terms of two people who are mature enough to come together in the midst of separation. It’s amazing that we can talk about divorces at a time when they can still be amicably and that two people can remain friends, even if they are not. is not compatible as partners. And the fact that he falls in love with Aisha, a younger girl, because what’s wrong with that? Why is age never decisive when the roles are reversed? In the movie, he is separated and not divorced as he doesn’t need divorce papers. He has a deal with his wife, and I loved how progressive it was. I didn’t think the film had a sensitive subject when I signed the film. I liked the storyline and I’m sure a certain audience tuned into it, considering it’s a niche genre and did very well. The movie grew with the people, and I still get a lot of appreciation.”
3. Runway 34, 2022
RPS: “My character Tanya played the role of a pilot in a courtroom drama after my lead pilot made a risky landing and then drama ensued. We had many workshops and trainings before filming because we needed to understand how a cockpit works. We had a real pilot on set and shot in a real flight simulator. It wasn’t a set. The sign you see in the movie is from a real flight simulator. real flight and I had to learn all the functions of it because when you shoot you have to know the equipment. My character Tanya has nothing to do with me. She’s a shy girl who gets nervous in a panic situation As a person I am nothing like that because if you give in to fear there is nothing to come I am very calm and collected in real life but Tanya is not that person. So I had to understand how she would react to certain situations. Tanya has p anxiety issues, which is why she has episodes of anxiety and fear in the courtroom and theft. She’s a smart girl, but she’s not an alpha. In the oom court, she is intimidated when questioned because she was instructed by her airline to say something, but she also doesn’t want her lead pilot in trouble. Thus, there are many conflicting thoughts in his mind. These are the underlying emotions that I had to take into account when preparing for the role because, throughout the film, she struggles with her conscience. Although I’m not a method person, I go for it instinctively when I’m on set. I know my brief, and I sketch the character in my head. I like to observe people when I’m in a café or on a walk, so I pick up their body language and sometimes use it to try out a character. I know a lot of people like Tanya, so I put myself in their shoes and wondered how they would react in a situation like the one in the movie. Everything is very intuitive for me.”
4. CuttPutlli, 2022
RPS: “The movie is number one on HotStar, so we’re very happy. It’s a thriller made for the masses. There are pulpy thrillers that the younger generation love to watch. And then there are thrillers that you make for the masses. Indian families, which are easily understandable and will keep them excited enough that they don’t get bored. They don’t want to watch something like Interstellar or Inception. They want to watch a good thriller with the family, which was the intention behind CuttPutlli, and we achieved it. My character in the film, Divya, is a very opinionated, strong and fearless young teacher. Besides the role of the teacher, I connected a lot with the character.
5. Sardaar Ka Grandson, 2021
RPS: “The reason I took this movie was for my grandparents. It was an ode to them. Sometimes you make a movie, not for the character but because of the script. My grandparents were from Pakistan and they came to India during partition.As far back as I can remember, my grandfather said he wanted to go home.Unfortunately, my father could not take him because he was working in the army, and you can’t go to Pakistan until you complete your service Samjhauta Express came into the picture, my grandfather was much older and not fit enough to travel. Heard stories of how they came to India by train and they didn’t want to leave Half the family was left behind and they didn’t come until later I heard the script just a few months after my grandfather passed away, and I took the film only because of the emotions s that were attached to it. The movie was very appreciated by the older generation because young people don’t know. Many of my dad’s friends called me and messaged him and told him how emotional they were after seeing the movie. And that was it for us because we made the film for the people who were affected by the score. When I choose a film, I want to be part of the story. Sometimes that doesn’t take into account the magnitude of your role.”
Photographs: ANEEV RAO
Fashion Director: PASHAM ALWANI
Hair: ALIYA SHAIKH
Makeup: SALIM SAYYED
Assisted by (styling): NAHID NAWAZ, NISHTHA PARWANI