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Shahid Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha on R… Rajkumar

Love is a strange thing or so you feel when you hear the response from Sonakshi Sinha on what made her character Chanda fall in love with Rajkumar played by Shahid Kapoor in her latest action drama.

“He’s one persistent bugger,” said Sinha. The daughter of Shatrugnan Sinha, who plays an educated girl from a small Indian town in director Prabhu Deva’s R… Rajkumar, has a point. The trailers show Sinha swearing like a fisherwoman when the roguish Rajkumar courts her relentlessly, in the movie out this Thursday. She threatens to break his bones, slaps him hard across his face on more than one occasion (no, this is not Bollywood’s answer to 50 Shades Of Grey) and is perhaps one whack away from enrolling onto an anger-management course.

“My character is a mavali [rowdy] guy. He isn’t suave or dignified and the way he deals with love is that he puts himself out there. He will do anything that his heart says and there’s a certain honesty about him that’s endearing,” said Kapoor. While he may think his lover act is cute, many viewers may just find his courtship inappropriate and creepy. Point that out to Kapoor and he jokes: “Come on, what are you 65?”.

“Look, Bollywood isn’t propagating anything here. We are just here to entertain and these things shouldn’t be taken seriously,” said Kapoor.

The last line encapsulates Prabhu Deva’s brand of filmmaking. Be it Salman Khan’s blockbuster Wanted or Akshay Kumar’s hit Rowdy Rathore, the heroes in his world are loud, unpolished and violent. Their idea of retribution, love and revenge doesn’t border on reality. His heroes can fight off dozens of beefy villains at the flick of a wrist. If his heroes break a bottle on his opponent’s head, it’s accompanied by special effects and heightened sounds.

“The philosophy of Prabhu sir’s Rajkumar is simple: he’s either maar, maar maar [hit, hit, hit] or pyaar, pyaar, pyaar [love, love, love]. In his films, there are no superheroes or slick cars, it’s about normal people whom you find on the streets. They are raw,” said Kapoor reeling out a line from the film.

R… Rajkumar, which was originally called Rambo … Rajkumar, is the tale of an aimless young man who works for a drug dealer. He’s given an assignment to kill another drug dealer Manik Parmar but falls in love with Chanda, who was raised by Parmar. While Sonakshi Sinha has played similar roles in her previous films such as Dabangg and Rowdy Rathore, it’s Kapoor’s first time playing a larger-than-life hero. He attempted comedy in the recent Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, but the jokes fell flat. Now, all eyes are on the 32-year-old actor to deliver. Kapoor is best known for his lover-boy roles in blockbuster Jab We Met and Vivaah.

“Yes, R… Rajkumar is not in my comfort zone. But as Leonardo Di Caprio said, if he reads a script for the first time and he knows instantly on how to play his part, then he wouldn’t take up the role. I get that. Roles should discover new things about me as an actor,” said Kapoor.

Soon Kapoor will shave his hair off for director Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

“As actors, we should be willing to alter our physical appearance. In Hollywood, stars like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have done it, so why shouldn’t we Bollywood heroes? My idea is to experiment with as many good roles as I can get in my career.”