You dial his mobile and you hear, 'Apni Toh Jaise Taise'. Then you start to think that Arjun Rampal is in a splendid mood. He'll give you time, enough for you to finish the side A of your recorder. Suddenly the caller tune stops and you hear the voice. The same voice which ladies go ga-ga- about. Then you notice that Mr Rampal is what he always is - relaxed and composed...Like a lion sitting in his den awaiting his prey. That's Arjun. I like to call him the warrior. This untamed actor has everything in control, for the moment - his films and his female fans, and despite all the plaudits, a fire still burns inside Arjun Rampal as he fights it out in the career of eternal battle for perfection. And that says it all in his revised resume - he is a National Award winner now. Yipee! You call him for an interview and he speaks of the role with extraordinary passion, a highly accomplished actor who thinks deeply about his craft and is happy to talk of it. The way he warms to the subject makes it clear his aim in every film is to try to 'be' the character. So, we let him 'be' who he is...the actor...the character. This correspondent talks to the lion without visiting his den because you just don't want to fall prey to his intelligence, attitude and good looks. Envy has a new name - Arjun Rampal.
Is this the right song to play on your phone as the film is having Housefull boards all across the globe?
(Laughs) It certainly is. Yes, I am very happy with the response what Housefull is getting. It's bringing back the 'Houseful' boards out again after a long, long time. I also think that this is the song which everyone should have on their caller tunes.
And you've finally shaken a leg in the song too.
Yes, the song is written really well and doesn't look forced from any angle. I think Farah Khan has done a great job in choreography for this song with the music directors Shankar Ehsaan Loy. It's not a remixed track but a re-version of a classic. I hope Amitabh Bachchan will be fine with it (laughs).
And what about Arjun Rampal's humour?
(A long pause) I think you'll have to sit down with me after two drinks and find out (laughs).
...and a mad man like Sajid Khan who comes across as a serious person?
I've known him for quite a while now and initially the perception you get of Sajid from the outside is that he is a crazy guy which is not wrong. It's absolutely right. But there is also an intelligent side to Sajid. He is a complete film buff and when he is directing the film, he directs it as if he is an audience. It depends on how he is going to react, what he is going to do, etc. He has a great imagination and there is lots of madness in him too. But there is a lot of sense in that madness. I've never seen anybody like Sajid. He can even predict the T-20 matches. That's how mad he is and he is right eight out of ten times. A complete conviction, that's Sajid Khan.
What's the feedback you received from your kids?
I was so pleased that they liked Housefull. After Rock On, this is the film I've taken them to see. They enjoyed a lot and laughed a lot. But I guess they'll have to wait for a bit now because the next two to three films I'm doing are going to be a bit serious and may not be fit for them (laughs).
Sajid is one director who sticks to the safe route, isn't it? Then you see directors like Dibakar, Farhan, Anurag Kashyap, Shimit, etc who tread different paths.
Whoever the filmmakers and whichever the film, I feel at the end of the day, any film has to be entertaining. And entertainment doesn't only mean 'laughter'. Forest Gump, Rain Man, Avatar, etc are films with strong messages but they all are entertaining. Dev D was entertaining, Rock On was too and so is Housefull. Each films aesthetics and style can be different but at the end of the day, all filmmakers work towards making an entertaining film. Sajid has done the same.
Three gorgeous ladies in the film and their confession - Arjun Rampal is hot.
(Laughs) They're hot too (laughs). I got to know more of Lara while filming Housefull. I've done a film with her called Elaan. With Deepika, it was a re-union after Om Shanti Om. She is fantastic. She has blossomed. Jiah is a surprise package in the film. Some of her scenes with Akshay in the film are fantastic. I think Sajid has justified each character very well.
So, laughter is the best medicine?
I don't believe in it. But if it's medicine that makes you laugh, I don't mind having it (laughs). Stupid laughter doesn't make sense. I don't really like slapstick comedy even though there are situations in Housefull where there are scenes with such humour. But overall, it's a complicated plot. Housefull isn't a film where you leave your brains at home and come. Housefull isn't just a random buffoonery.
Akshay Kumar is?
Riteish Deshmukh is?
Jiah Khan is?
Deepika Padukone is?
Lara Dutta is?
One of the boys.
Sajid Khan is?
A good loyal friend.
And Arjun Rampal is?
A warrior, a fighter (laughs).