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Reema Kagti: 'Aamir and Rani transcend their stardom in Talaash'

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Reema Kagti has said that bringing together the three main leads for Talaash was pivotal to the film.

In an interview with Digital Spy, the Honeymoon Travels director, who scored a casting coup bringing Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherji together in one film, said they each transcended their stardom and exceeded all her expectations.

'Talaash' Bollywood movie poster


"Obviously they're all very bankable stars and that's very empowering for a director," Kagti explained.

"The publicity and the buzz that you get around the film, that's a given, but each of them is a very fine actor and has given a life to my characters and taken it from paper to somewhere beyond my imagination actually.

"What I was imagining initially was a bit limiting compared with what I have finally arrived at with them. I feel that way about all three of them."

Kagti, who has previously worked with the likes of Shabana Azmi and Saif Ali Khan, described the experience of directing such established stars of cinema.

"I'm sure there are difficulties associated with big stars, but with Aamir I'm quite comfortable because I've known him," she said.

"I was an AD before so I've worked with him on two films, Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai, so we knew each other well and we both knew what to expect. Nobody was in for any kind of shocks as such.

"All the actors I've worked with, whether it's Aamir, Kareena or Rani, all the actors are way more experienced than I am. All of them. Whether it was Honeymoon or Talaash now, but the starting point was always the script. The feeling that 'we want to see it happen' and so people become connected to the film beyond the matter of their stardom."



All three actors only appear together on screen for the film's title song 'Muskaanein Jhooti Hain'.

Khan portrays the troubled Inspector Surjan Singh Shekhawat in a fractious relationship with his wife played by Rani Mukherji. The two actors starred together in Ghulam and Mukherji later played a small role in Khan's Mangal Pandey.

Kagti described the impact of the actors' long-standing personal friendship on their portrayal of the married couple.

"I think Aamir and Rani's personal relationship was a great help to the relationship they played on screen for me," she added.

"They are a married couple who are going through very troubled times in their marriage. They are friends and they are very comfortable with each other and it shows.

"When you see them on screen they will not seem like Aamir and Rani to you. They will seem like a middle class couple that have been married for 10, 12 years and there's a situation that has come up for them.

"They transcend their stardom and they become real people. It's quite something that despite being such huge stars they are able somehow to do this, and credit to their extraordinary ability as actors."



Kagti went on to describe working with the newly married Kareena Kapoor.

"It's been fantastic working with Kareena," she said. "Her approach is very different.

Rani and Aamir have a similar approach. They like to prep, they like to do their homework, they have similar natures if you will. Kareena is the proverbial back bencher.

"She finds too much talking curbs her spontaneity. She has a very instinctive way of working that is genius.

"I have to say initially, I was more comfortable with over-prepping. I'm also a little bit meticulous, so initially she gave me some heart attacks. So I was frightened at first that she was very under prepped.

"We were spending a lot of time doing wardrobe trials and stuff like that, but then the moment I started shooting with her, I was put completely at rest.

Talaash


"From having this backbencher approach and then the first few days I didn't even know if she was listening to me because she was constantly on her phone. I was like, 'Are you texting or are you listening to me?' She's like, 'Yeah yeah. I'm listening to you'. But when she goes out there and performs she is just right. She is bang on.

"When you are working with her you do understand that she is Raj Kapoor's granddaughter. That's the advantage all these Kapoor kids seem to have. Even Ranbir, not that I've worked with him, but when I have seen him perform I recognise that effortless ease and expertise that is so wonderful and I think Kareena brings that same quality.

"There is an effortlessness to it. She doesn't even do much in rehearsals. I never really know what she's gonna do until she does it and when she does it, it's just right.

"As a director it's very hard for me to say which kind of process works better. I have to try to adapt myself to whatever process works best for the actor."

Summing up the experience of working with her cast, Kagti said: "It's been tremendous working with all three of them. It's a very, very tight story that's been propelled by very strong performances. And the three of them coming together has been a vital part of the film."

Talaash releases on November 30.

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