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Dum Laga Ke Haisha breaks Bollywood stereotypes

Dum Laga Ke Hasiha actors Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushmann Khurana on why this offbeat film will catch the audience’s imagination.
Bhumi Pednekar, left, and Ayushmann Khurana in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Courtesy Yash Raj Films
Bhumi Pednekar, left, and Ayushmann Khurana in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Courtesy Yash Raj Films

Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Yash Raj Films’ latest romantic comedy, breaks two Bollywood stereotypes – it’s completely different from the big-budget, star-studded blockbusters the production house is known for and its lead female character, Sandhya, portrayed by ­debutante Bhumi Pednekar, is as overweight as she is pretty.

Pednekar and singer-turned-actor Ayushmann Khurana, who plays Prem, a small-town man who is pressured by his family to marry Sandhya, tell us why this offbeat film will catch the audience’s imagination.

What was it about this film and this role that made you say yes?

Khurana: I read the script right after Vicky Donor (2012) and it was like déjà vu: I got the same feeling that I got after reading the script for Vicky Donor.

Pednekar: I read the script when I was casting for the film and I was blown away. When I realised that I would be playing Sandhya, I couldn’t believe it. Even though I had to gain weight and was playing a homely girl, I didn’t mind because the script was so strong. It’s a love story about two complex ­characters.

With all the crime-thrillers and action films coming out of Bollywood, what do you have to say about this simple love story?

Khurana: That’s what makes the story different – it’s simple. It is not only unlike the other films that are out there right now, it is also unlike your typical YRF film. It is very earthy and comes straight from the heart.

Let’s talk about the most talked-about scene from the film: towards the end where Prem picks up Sandhya and runs, as part of a competition. Did you have to train for that? Did you drop her at any point?

Khurana: I did drop her a lot of times. And yes, I trained a lot. My trainer weighed as much as my heroine and the weight difference was a full 20 kilograms, so it was definitely not easy. I not only had to run, but I also had to act and say my lines. They had called a body double to do the back shot and the top shots, but unfortunately he could not pick up Bhumi, so I had to do all the shots on my own. Now I can proudly say that I can do my own stunts.

Did the weight gain part make you nervous, Bhumi?

Pednekar: I had to put on 20kgs for the film. The way I looked at it, I was getting paid to do the two things I love: act and eat. And that is exactly what I did. I gave it my heart and soul. I have never been a skinny girl, anyway.

Ayushmann, you have sung in all your films: Pani Da Rang in Vicky Donor, Saadi Gali in Nautanki Saala and Khamakhaan in Bewakoofiyaan, but not for Dam Laga Ke Haisha. Why?

Khurana: In this particular film, I wanted to keep the singer away from the actor. I play a simpleton in this film. My character is devoid of any talent [laughs], so you would not expect him to sing.

• Dum Laga Ke Haisha is directed by Sharat Katariya and is out in cinemas on Thursday April 23, 2015

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: April 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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