Amrita Rao talks about Victory, her upcoming film and her co-star Harman Baweja in a freewheeling chat with Rajan Singh
Victory is a film based on cricket and I guess sports across the world are somewhere highly influenced by music. I have been to several stadiums and I have witnessed the live energy, which flows there. The way people there sing and dance and the way some of them bring drums to cheer the atmosphere and the players. Its almost like some inspirational song, some of them play certain songs and in intervals you have this loud song of cheers that happens in the stadium. I guess to some level sports is incomplete without cheerful music and thats what we have strived to attain in Victory. We have Anu Malik who has composed the songs and is known for his melody but this time with Victory he has gone a step higher. Anu Malik has composed some hard core inspirational music for the film Syed Gulrez has written the lyrics and its a fantastic compilation of songs Syed is one of the most creative and intelligent lyricist I have ever come across.
What made you sign this film?
When Ajitpal Mangat who is the director of Victory narrated the story to me, I guess what really excited me was the script of the film and the screenplay. If you were to ask me, as to who are the heroes of the film then I would without any hesitation say that its the screenplay and the script, which are the two heroes of the film. These days we see many films being churned out in numbers but most of them lack essence. Victory is a sport driven film and cricket is almost like religion in this country. It was very important on our behalf that this subject was conveyed to the audience and probably to its followers, if I may say so. I really liked the script of the film and I am very glad that I am part of a film whose subject is cricket, a sport that I myself adore and love.
Amrita you must be fully aware of the fact that the film with its cricket backdrop ought to make Harman as the pivotal character; where do you figure in the whole film?
The part where I come into the picture relates to the fact that myself and Anupam Kher are people who are in and around Vijay Shekhawat, the role played by Harman Baweja and probably how his dream at one level is our combined dream. And this fact is very interesting because whenever any member from our family is a part of some challenging profession, be it acting or sports, then I guess people around him play a very important part in balancing his mental frame of mind which eventually transcends in the way how he delivers at work. For me as an actor it was a very nice situation, it was a nice place to be in because mostly in my family, I am the one who has a challenging profession and then I see people around me being so supportive and helping me through my downfall and highs in my career. And here in Victory it was being in the background for Vijay Shekhawat. It was very exciting doing a real role and yes I am very proud of my director Ajitpal Mangat.
Did you witness any change in Harman after the release of his debut film Love Story 2050?
In Love story 2050 I saw a very different Harman Baweja. In that film I saw a superhero in Harman where as in Victory I saw a real hero in Harman because Harman plays a regular boy based in Jaisalmer who aspires to be in the Indian cricket team and play for his country. I saw the contrast and the range in him as an actor. He has portrayed two different and diametrically opposite characters in both the films especially in Victory the way he has adapted himself with the mannerism and the body language of a cricketer is just fantastic. He took practice and got coached for the game too. He became a cricketer without looking pretentious. It was all very fantastic and I really cheer him for that.
Ok, what does Victory means to you?
Victory for me apart from being a film directed by Ajitpal Mangat which is full of aspirations and dreams, is to fight back anything that dares to challenge you. I guess I am also talking here as a Mumbaikar as I have lived in a city that has been challenged greatly in the past few months. At every level we have to keep reminding ourselves that we have to bring within us a balance of strength and at the same time sensitivity and not to forget people who dared to challenge us.
You must have had a whale of time interacting with the cricketers on field.
My director Ajitpal Mangat kept me out of bounds from cricket stadiums and cricketers. This privilege was given only to Harman. I have too many issues to be solved with my director.
How was the whole experience of shooting with Harbhajan Singh?
Well I dont have to give any introduction about Harbhajan Singh. We all know him pretty well and we all see him play for the country. Whenever he takes to the ground before the start of the play, he always carries those extra zeal and enthusiasm in him. As audience when we are sitting far away from those cricket pitches, we feel the passion he is going through on the ground. I admire Bhajji as a sportsperson.
Tell us a bit about the role you portray in the film?
In Victory I enact the role of Nandini who is also a medical student. Vijay Shekhawat happens to be her best friend. Its a very beautiful friendship to a level where Vijay Shekhawats dreams are those of Nandinis. His friend gradually turns into a big star and has everything at his feet. There are lots of interesting moments in the film, which I cant reveal but for me it was a role I could identify with. It was a role that I really loved to portray because of the rawness and the reality attached to it.
Judging by the repertoire of characters you have portrayed so far, would you rate this as the strongest character you have played so far?
Well in the capacity of an actress I would like to say this that whatever role I have portrayed till date, I have never compared it other characters of mine. And thats my spirit and sportsmanship and within the sportsmanship of Victory I am really proud that my director Ajitpal Mangat has given me such a role which I loved portraying. I will always remember Victory because of the beautiful memories attached while shooting the film.
Thanks a ton.