'Raajneeti' is my toughest role: Arjun Rampal

Apr 6, 2010 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) Fresh from his National Award, Arjun Rampal says he is playing his toughest role in director Prakash Jha's dark political thriller "Raajneeti".

In the film, Arjun is cast as Ranbir Kapoor's zany, flamboyant elder brother.

"I don't play the conventional 'Bade Bhaiyya'. It's the toughest role of my career. I had to be larger-than-life but not over-the-top," Arjun told IANS.

"This man I play is whimsical, flamboyant and audacious. He can do anything. His kid brother has gone abroad to study. My character has stayed back in India to create his own unpredictable world. He's in his own space, though not spaced out," said Arjun.

He was guided by his director in interpreting the character.

"'Rock On', which took my career to another level and got me the National award, was a dream role. I got to play a rock star! This man in 'Raajneeti' is completely alien to me. He's a man who does the unthinkable. Do I expect another National Award? No performance can be tailored for recognition."

Arjun will also be doing unthinkable things in Anubhav Sinha's "Ra.1" where he plays the arch-villain -- the main antagonist opposite Shah Rukh Khan, though he isn't required to talk about it.

But before that there's "Housefull", which, Arjun says, is a laugh riot. "But it also has very emotional moments. As a director Sajid Khan is so wonderfully clued in to what his actors can do. I worked with Farah (in 'Om Shanti Om') and now her brother Sajid. Both were fun."

Such was the joy of working with Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutt, Jiah Khan and the whole cast that Arjun has forgotten he injured his back during the shooting of "Housefull".

"It was yoga and physio-therapy that helped heal my back completely," said Arjun. "I was working out at the gym when I suffered a massive slipped disc. I was required to lose considerable weight so as to not burden my back."

Arjun has lately been shooting with Kajol and Kareena Kapoor for Karan Johar's Hindi remake of Hollywood director Chris Columbus' "Stepmom". He says he enjoyed being sandwiched between two women who light up the screen.

"While Kajol has always been my favourite actress, Kareena is more a buddy. Kareena and I started our careers almost together, so we both bond as colleagues, friends and fans of Kajol," he said.

In "Stepmom", Arjun stars as Kajol's husband and Kareena's lover. "It's wonderful to have two such gorgeous actresses as my co-stars. But honestly, today I'm confident enough to create my own space in a film."

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