With every new film of his, Pulkit Samrat is rising to the top of the Bollywood echelon. Fresh from the success of Fukrey Returns, the actor is ready to face the audience once again with his new film Veerey Ki Wedding. Co-starring Kriti Kharbanda of Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana fame, the movie entered theatres on 2nd March on the auspicious occasion of Holi. A few days before the release of the film, our Mumbai correspondent caught up with the actor for a conversation which ranged from the smashing success of his last release to his new film and his enviable camaraderie with Richa Chadha to his evolution as an actor over the years. Excerpts…
How do you feel about the runaway success of Fukrey Returns at the box office?
We were very happy with whatever happened with Fukrey Returns. We were hoping it to work well but it actually crossed all our expectations, and with which speed it went on to do that, was most surprising than anything else. That was very overwhelming but, after few days, I stopped chasing the numbers in the sense that I was more excited about my friends and family sending me videos of people enjoying the movie in the theater. There were people who came to watch the movie for the second or the third time and they were completing our dialogues over there. They were living the film along with us, so that is what I think entertainment is all about and that is what gave me more kick than box office numbers.
If you don’t follow numbers, then what is it that you follow?
With numbers, it’s not a guarantee that it will come with every film. There is not a certain formula is what Salman Bhai told me once. He told me that even with him, there is no guarantee if the next Friday his film would garner numbers or not. And I have just arrived. What kind of guarantee will back me up? So just follow one mantra and that is to keep working. There is nothing else apart from being busy, so if you keep working one will hit the bull’s eye. One will be a little out of the circle but you at least are learning to aim correctly. I am investing in myself and keeping myself busy. And when you work, there is no other option for you but to move forward.
What made you accept Veerey Ki Wedding?
Actually, I was the last one to be cast in this film and till that time, apart from the story, what I heard and got the narration about, I was excited about being a part of the film where I get to work with Satish Kaushik, Jimmy Shergill and Kriti Kharbanda.
How was it working with your co-stars?
I have grown up watching the films of Satish ji and, during the shoot, I told him about the occasion where he once shot some scenes for Badhai Ho Badhai in Delhi and he remembered that he shot a scene in a school, which was my school. I was not allowed to enter during the shoot so I climbed over the wall and peeked to see Satish ji and Anil Kapoor. So today, for me to work with him and share the frame with him, which I would have hoped but never thought, is great. The same thing was with Jimmy Shergill where I told him that I had seen one of his films and I loved that and today when I work with you I really feel that I am blessed. I got this opportunity. It’s a rare thing to happen. Then there is Kirti, she looks nice, she dances very well and she emotes well and that gives a chance for me also to have that give and take when we are performing scenes. So that was very interesting.
There has been a great confusion about the title of your film, which sounds similar to Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor’s upcoming film. What are your thoughts on that?
That’s all producers’ game. I have never gotten into it; I have zero idea about it. That movie is releasing after two months from now, so there is no confusion on that.
In the movie you are tag lined as the most eligible bachelor. What are your views on that?
It feels false because Salman Khan is the most eligible bachelor; there is no one more eligible than him.
How would you describe your evolution as an actor over the years?
I have learnt a lot on the way. At a very early stage, I got to work with Riteish Deshmukh, Salman Bhai, Satish Kaushik and Anupam Kher Sir. I got to work with so many talented actors who are so experienced. You learn a lot and that learning I take forward with me.
How has your experience been with the directors you have worked in your career?
I have mostly worked with first time directors and that has also been a learning experience in term of how they approach the film. Freshness comes with a director who is as new as me as the director is also trying to explore and get things correct and I am also trying to explore and get things correct and the rest of the cast is also exploring. That is how team work comes in.
How has it been working with Ashu Trikha?
It has been nice. He knows what he is supposed to shoot. He does not tie in his actors unnecessarily. So it’s been a smooth game.
Tell us something about the character you play in the movie.
He is called Veer and fondly called Veerey. He is a guy from Delhi and doesn’t really have much problems in his life. He is from a well-to-do family, his parents are good, his brother is nice, he is very happy and he is already in love with his girlfriend played by Kriti, her name is Geet. The only problem he faces is that the two fathers, the girl’s and the boy’s, they don’t get along well and are crackpots. So when two crackpot fathers one up each other, whatever happens thereafter is to be tackled by Veer.
Which Salman Khan film you would you like to star in the remake of?
I think the 1991 film Love would be a nice remake. It has such a pure story and the girl has to be somebody like Revathi ji. The honesty that comes across from both of them as characters in that film is superb. It’s such a simple film that is why it’s so difficult to make.
How do you celebrate Holi?
We play a lot in Holi in Delhi. We are a joint family, 13-14 members in one house so it’s like a Holi party at home. Then we go to our maternal grandparent’s home which is like 15 minutes away. Over there, we will have lunch with our colourful hands, though I am not so fond of Holi’s sweets, others like it. We are strict about using herbal stuff; our gulal (dry colour) is herbal. We make our own colours two or three nights before.
Did you play any pranks in Holi?
One time, we played with chia seeds as they are herbal too but they are so sticky that people cannot take them off their hands at all. And the more water you put on your head to wash them off, the more they stick. My friends and sisters who have long hair took three hours minimum to get it off and still it was there on the head. Everybody cursed me for that.
Is there much difference between your character in the Fukrey film series and Veerey Ki Wedding?
Yes, you see Honey belongs to Geeta Colony which is East Delhi. That is a very different kind of Delhi, they have a very different speech pattern and Honey is younger than Veer so he still has a bit of naiveté in him. Veer is someone who has his own stance. He knows what he is capable of and what he isn’t capable of. He is a family guy already in love with a girl.
You have worked with Richa Chadha in three films, how has your working relationship with her evolved over the years?
She is a very close friend of mine. She is the only girl whom I would never think twice before calling at 2 o’clock in the morning and vice versa. We have a lot of fun and we have a great camaraderie. We chill a lot. It’s always fun, and Richa is a strong headed girl. How people define the strength of a woman I think she is a big example of that. She doesn’t think twice before putting a point forward. And she talks sense and when she is fierce she is fierce and it takes a lot for her to be fierce.
What are your views on Women’s Day which is just round the corner?
You can never go above the strength of a woman because they are the creator and the debate finishes there. It is as simple as that. A man can never create anything, women give life so there can be nothing bigger and stronger than women ever. No matter how physically weak a mother is, she will be the strongest woman when fighting for her kids. That strength comes from power of creation they have. So they shouldn’t be taken for granted and it’s a shame we make a topic out of it and discuss it. Do people ever discuss how much strength does a man have? It’s not something to be discussed; it’s a fact.
You and Mouni Roy started your career with television at the same time. She is debuting in films this year, any message for her?
I am really happy about her, she is very talented. She is an amazing dancer and I don’t know whether anybody has heard her singing but she also sings very well. She is a very well read person, so it’s nice to have conversations with her though I am not that well-read, so I talk about foods while she talks about worldly things. She is multi-talented and I am very happy she got a chance to showcase it and prove to people what she can do.