Playing the part of Firangi Baba was not an easy task for Arjun. It was a character that the actor was not familiar with and through the process of developing the character he also had his differences with Ali, the creator of the show
Raj Arjun/ Instagram
Imtiaz Ali is a filmmaker popularly known for slice-of-life love stories like 'Jab We Met', 'Tamasha', 'Love Aaj Kal'. His latest work is however very different from any of his films. His latest outing, 'Dr. Arora', is centered around the life of a sexologist and his patients. Actor Raj Arjun, popularly known for essaying the abusive husband and father in 'Secret Superstar', too, played a unique character in the series. A character, Raj says is “not his forte”.
In a conversation with Mid-Day. com, Raj Arjun spoke about meeting Imtiaz Ali for the first time and what is it like working with him. "I just adore Imtiaz. I love him as a human and a creative mind and a creative person. So when I got a call I was very excited to meet him. Uske andar ek ruhaniyat jhalakti hai. Woh alag tarikhe ka sufiyism unke anadar se bahar aata hai," he said.
Arjun was taken aback by Imtiaz's simple yet rustic-looking office in Mumbai. "And his office, you would be surprised, thinking that even in this day and age such offices exist. It had all the ancient architectural vibe. On meeting me, he said, 'Please don’t feel bad, but I am an old school man so I won’t switch on the AC. I sit just like this'. This appealed to me. I was surprised at how genuine and honest he was. We sat together and he narrated just one scene to me. The scene was about my character being stranded at the station and landed in a situation where he is forced to leave his clothes behind and run and is chased by some boys. I laughed a lot at the scene and asked Imtiaz how he came up with such a scene. I said yes without listening to the whole narration."
But playing the part of Firangi Baba was not an easy task for Arjun. It was a character that the actor was not familiar with and through the process of developing the character he also had his differences with Imtiaz, the creator of the show. "I said yes in excitement. I also agreed to do it because I was aware that many actors will not be willing to do a scene where they are required to run naked on the street. This is a very challenging role and needs a lot of strength. This is a character that will be noticed and also requires performance, so I said yes. But when the script came to me, I realised that the language of my character is very weird. I was not being able to get the right meter. I was myself getting bored during practice with the tonality as the character had long dialogues and nobody would like that. I was quite troubled with it. Oftentimes, I wondered whether I did a mistake by taking up this role as it was not my forte. I just could not crack the tone of the character for days," he shared.
Talking further about how Imtiaz helped him with developing his character he said, "In the final days, Imtiaz was guiding me. Both our thoughts on the character approach were also contradicting. He said that the character has different energies at different times, to this I questioned whether I become a different person with varying energies. 'Should I change languages?' I asked. He said, no. Even though there are varying energies, the languages, and accent remain constant, or else people will be confused. Then Imtiaz would show how this character would jump around like a monkey and I knew finding such a reference point was next to impossible. Who in today’s times roams around like this? This is madness."
"Then I did a couple of things and showed it to them and they liked some and made some alterations. I got a lot of help from Imtiaz. He was living a lot of characters simultaneously for the show and had to narrate the same to different people. He can give a rough sketch only and with that rough sketch, I had to develop it. I put in a lot of effort and developed the character and speech." The actor shared that this character also gave him the opportunity to break free from monotony and present himself as a different character on screen.