Q. How has it been playing a Sardar for the first time?
A. Playing a Sardar for the first time was the biggest reason that I signed the film. Though I was excited about taking on such a role, I was nervous and apprehensive before I started. To play a character is one thing, but to imagine, build on it and look the part is another ball-game altogether. I was nervous, but fortunately, the look worked out and I feel I did it convincingly. It’s been a really amazing journey playing a Sardar. It changes your body language, the way you walk, everything. Wearing that turban changes your demeanour. It’s like when you wear a suit you gain in confidence. When you wear a turban, you do the same — your demeanour becomes more confident.
Q. How long does it take you to tie the pagdi?
A. The pagdi takes 20 minutes to be worn correctly. I don’t do it myself. The same guy who tied it for Akshay Kumar in Singh Is Bling ties the pagdi for me. It has to be tied correctly as sentiments shouldn’t get hurt. When you are playing a character from a certain religion, you need to be sensitive to the people’s sentiments. The pagdi bit was sorted. What was tough, was the double role part as I play a Sardar as one character and not in the other, so I had to wear a pagdi in one scene and then shoot it without one in the same scene. That gets time-consuming as you have to keep changing in between. But the crew was very well-organised. We shot within the time frame.
Q. Tell us about your characters.
A. Mubarakan is a comic entertainer and is more than about just characters. It revolves around humour. I have never done an out-and-out comedy before. I have grown up watching and enjoying Anees Bazmee’s films. He’s a man who has an experience of 40 years in Bollywood and has been an assistant to the late Raj Kapoor. When you are working with a director of that level, you are relaxed.
Q. Have you kept a thicker beard for the Sardar character?
A. The film can get tricky when you are playing two characters and the boys are mostly together, so you need to make it simpler. The length of the beard is the same, but we have shown a different side-swept, messier hairstyle for the guy who is not a Sardar. They are two different people. The Sardar’s character is neater, sorted and more defined. He is from Chandigarh and wears more sweaters while the one from London is more flamboyant. All thanks goes to Kunal Rawal, who is doing my clothes. We even have the outfits in tonal elements —matching outfits with the pagdi.
Q. Will he be speaking in Punjabi in the film?
A. While I had to learn a bit. It’s there as much as you would hear in a daily conversation when you have a Punjabi man speaking Hindi. There are elements and traces of Punjabi in the film but at the end of the day, its a universal film which caters to all regions and sections of audiences. Sometimes, the humour can get lost in another language. Another character is being played by Pawan Malhotra, who is hard-core Punjabi and that makes it simpler for me as he helps me as an actor.