It's been a while since Gulaal hit the theatres - But in a year that has hardly seen many watchable films, Gulaal remains among the better ones. The movie's lead actor Raj Singh Chaudhary is now all set to be seen in his second release Mehmaanji. Raj talks to Buzz18.com about his long struggle, his list of unreleased films and the controversial equation with Anurag Kashyap.
Do you feel the delay in releasing Gulaal has affected your prospects in Bollywood?
Ya, to the extent that my entry into Bollywood was delayed. But as far as the timing of the release goes I think it was perfect. Firstly, the success of Dev D which made Anurag Kashyap a brand to recon with. Also the kind of regional politics and instability that exists at a local level in the country, made the film relevant. Gulaal is actually set in 2010. We did not put a super suggesting that fact, but Gulaal is actually a futuristic film .
It seems you had also co-written the film. Why did Anurag walk away with all the credit then?
See I am not a professional writer. I got into writing just as a hobby. And wrote scripts as a tool to approach producers with an idea.This helped me build contacts. I have no intentions of becoming a full time screenwriter. But five years from now I would definitely look at direction. I am already into short films.
Now your character in Gulaal was very self-destructive. Didn't you want a more positive debut where you come out looking like a hero in the climax?
I never looked at this role in that way. The flow of the script was such that this was only logical ending for the character.
But he was a loser...
Yes, he was a loser. But you need to understand where he was coming from. When you grow up in an over-protective background, the system makes you into an extreme personality. They keep oscillating between being very weak or violent. I personally wasn't convinced about him going on a killing spree just because of a failed relationship. But then I read a lot of real life cases where crime of passion actually does happen.
How would you have reacted to such a situation in real life?
If I was taken for a ride in love, it would take me a few months to get over it. But I wouldn't go into such extremes. I would just maintain a safe distance from my ex.
I read somewhere that you have been cheated in business when you just got out of college. So did elements of that episode help you essay this character (who is also is a victim of cheating)?
Yes the feeling of loss of confidence was common. But otherwise the situations – love and business are different.
Have you witnessed the world shown in Gulaal?
I did my engineering in Bangalore. I stayed in a hostel so I have been through the whole drill of stripping for seniors and other usual ragging. But the incident shown with Jesse in the film where she is locked up naked, actually happened with a friend of mine.
You are now doing a film with Soha and two more films. Are they all dark?
I have three finished films. (At this point Raj also mentions his shelved debut with Tapan Sinha and the Bengali film that never got made). They aren't as intense as Gulaal but they are all realistic films. The good thing about being in the industry now is that you have people such as Nishkant Kamat, Shimit Amin and Imtiaz Ali who know how to blend entertainment, logic and realism.
Are there any big banner projects in the pipeline?
Honestly no one has approached me. I know it's going to be a while before a Yash Raj calls me. I am getting work but not with the big names. The problem is, most think I am a sissy like my character in Gulaal.
Finally are you doing any more films with Anurag? Apparently you had problems with him promoting it as a Kay Kay film.
See, nobody intentionally promoted Gulaal as Kay Kay's film. It's just that when the marketing plan was made, Kay Kay obviously being the most saleable face of the film was projected prominently. I have no problems with that as long as people come to watch my film. What Anurag has done for me is beyond words. He is the reason I am in Mumbai. We have been friends for 10 years and he has always looked out for me. Even when he was down there were feelers to make Gulaal with established stars but he supported me. I am committed to do two more films with him.
Raj Singh Chaudhary is a very long and unconventional name. Any plans of changing it?
Actually I changed it to Raj Singh Chaudhary. My name's otherwise Raja Chaudhary. But that caused a lot of confusion and people started mistaking for the TV actor Raja Chaudhary.