Director Ashutosh Gowariker’s movie Panipat hits the screen today. This film is not just a historical myth, it’s a blend of many things that characterize from other historical films. Ashutosh has tried to bring originality to this epic drama by assimilating the right cast, music, perfect costumes and authentic cum-convincing battle scenes. Right before the release of the movie, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon came to the capital for promoting and sharing their experience and fun which they faced and enjoyed while working in the film, etc. Team Expresso caught up with them in a candid conversation.
Expresso: When you got the offer for Panipat did you immediately say ‘yes’ to it?
Arjun: We all know about the Maratha Empire and its whereabouts. Compared to the Mughal Empire and the British Empire, The story of Marathas was quite unique and inspiring. After I went for the audition and listening to the story, I felt that it should be told to people in the best possible way. Since this is one of the most patriotic stories so I felt that making this film is one of the best decisions taken by Ashutosh Sir. You must have seen another film ‘Kesari’ which was mainly about the Battle of Saragarhi. So, I was not aware of the battle till I watched ‘Kesari’. Due to such strong and fearless person in the past and their contribution, I felt that I must say ‘yes’ to the movie.
Expresso: What are the main challenges you faced while shooting such a periodic film?
Kriti: Well, I would say that before working on any character, it is important that you are preparing yourself for the character first. There is a certain bit of responsibility since when preparing for any character and in this movie, the characters are real and not fictional. As an actor, I would say that all we need to do is have faith and believe and work accordingly.
Arjun: If you ask me then our director made detailed research on the history of Panipat and I wanted to work accordingly. When it comes to any film based on history, it is important to create a character that has emotion which is way more important. A person comes with different faces and it is important how he deals with every situation. I played SadashivRao over here who is a soldier, the way he leads his soldiers, behaves with his wife and everything are certain challenges that I had to face.
Also, I had to learn horse riding for the movie and as a boy, I always wanted to learn horse riding which is yet another challenging as well as exciting part that I faced.
Expresso: Did you consult a history book before doing the film?
Arjun: As earlier said, Ashutosh sir did an entire two years research before making the movie and I feel that the scenes and the events that he chose to show in the movie is something his prerogative. There are certain things which are important to show while others are not. I feel that if he would have focused more on history then it wouldn’t have been a movie. So, his main target was to give life to the characters so that people can understand and know more about the historical characters more.
Expresso: A lot of firsts you have come across while shooting for the movie, so how was your experience?
Arjun: I have been in this industry for almost five to six months and even after so many years facing so many new co-actors and directors are quite overwhelming. For me, the most important part of shooting for the film was acting with Sanjay Dutt sir. He is such an amazing person and I personally got to learn so many things from him.
Similarly, working with Kriti was something different and amazing as well. She is quite friendly and cooperative and Ashu sir personally felt that our chemistry in the movie is absolutely perfect. As he is very meticulous about everything, he made sure that every small detail gets special attention. So, in the movie, I had to shave my hair off and go bald since I was playing a Peshwa. Initially, I was quite nervous but after coming up with bald head and moustache, I felt quite simpler and powerful. So these are some of the interesting experience I had while shooting.
Expresso: What are the difficulties you faced and the things that you want to take from this movie?
Kriti: As this movie is about the Maratha Empire, so the first and the most important thing about the movie is speaking the Marathi language. I am a Punjabi girl and speaking Marathi is something extremely different from that of Hindi. When I was shooting for ‘Bareilly ki Barfi’, the dialogues where kind of UP accent, but Marathi is something different.
The director told me to keep my character quite simple and initially I was finding the language a bit difficult.
But, my dialogue coach helped me a lot, and I used to record her accent so that I can practice it. I had to wear those Marathi Nawari saree with nath and khopa, I used to feel different as it used to add a different flavour altogether to my character. Also, the Marathi’s has a different way of talking and behaving which interested me a lot. Ashutosh sir always made sure to keep the women characters in his movie simple yet a warrior by heart. All in all, transforming me to a different character was undoubtedly one of the most difficult and at the same time exciting to me.
Expresso: Which part of the Marathas did you like the most?
Arjun: Well I believe that Marathas are a quite heartwarming person and good by heart, but if something goes wrong or hurts their motive then they can be quite aggressive. Personally, I can relate myself to that and even though I am a Punjabi by birth, I have been staying in Maharashtra. So I guess that this is the part of the Marathas which I liked the most.
Expresso: How was your experience working with Sanjay Dutt?
Arjun: When I signed for the movie, I asked my director that whom he considered for Ahmad Shah Abdali, so he said that Sanjay Dutt would be playing the character. Even though I haven’t worked with him earlier, I sill knew him but didn’t meet him personally. For me, he is a star and by any means, our director made sure that things remain as Ahmad Shah Abdali vs. SadashivRao. So initially, I was a bit nervous when working with Sanjay sir, but then everything was okay. He is quite a warm and jolly person and once you get to know him as a person you would love his personality.
Expresso: You and Ranveer are good friends so did you discuss how to play the role?
Arjun: See this is the director’s perspective and I cannot just discuss with someone about the role that I am going to play. Ranveer played Bajirao which is quite a strong and impulsive character, but SadashivRao is more of a stable character and both the characters are different. So, I would say that it is best to work according to the director’s perspective rather than asking someone about their experience.