Bhangra superstar and award winning actor, Diljit Dosanjh made a successful Bollywood debut last year with Udta Punjab and is now gearing up for the release of his second Hindi film Phillauri starring alongside Anushka Sharma and Suraj Sharma (of ‘Life of Pi’ fame).
In conversation with Simply Bhangra’s Kirat Raj Singh, Diljit shares his thoughts on the forthcoming film.
KRS: We last saw you in Udta Punjab as an Assistant Sub Inspector of Punjab Police and now in Phillauri you’re playing a singer/musician with a look which is completely different from anything we have seen you do before. Tell us more about your character and role in the film?
Diljit: Well as you have said, people have seen from the trailers and promo’s that I play the role of a singer of years gone by but that is a very small part to it. I would in fact say though my character in the film is a singer, that is almost irrelevant to the story at large. It’s a very intense role and has a bit of mischievous side to it.
I don’t want to give too much away but I am excited to hear the reaction of the audiences when they see it in the cinemas. With regards to my look, I had never imagined I would ever be able to portray that sort of ‘Sufiana Andaaz’ and I was a little apprehensive at the beginning, but thankfully so far it has had a lot of positive feedback.
KRS: You have been known to be a spontaneous actor. But was there any specific preparations that you undertook for this role?
Diljit: Not really no. To make my character come across realistic, I learnt how to play the ‘tumba’ which was the main instrument for singers in those times. But apart from that I did no other specific preparations for my role. I took on this film as I really loved the story and script and believed I could do the role justice.
I am not a trained actor or someone who has undertaken any lessons and I don’t think it would work for me either. I try to put my heart and soul into everything I do and hope that the audience will enjoy it.
KRS: You received the Filmfare ‘Best Debut’ award for Udta Punjab. The promo’s and trailers of Phillauri has also been receiving rave reviews. What expectations do you have from this film?
Diljit: Honestly Kirat, I have no expectations at all. Frankly as an actor all you can do is give your best at the time of shooting and that’s it. There is nothing you can do about it after. The decision and judgement is in the hands of the audiences and they will tell you without fear or favour if something is good or not.
I don’t go into the film thinking I will win this award or that it will be a huge success. All I hope is that my work is good enough that it is liked by the audiences.
KRS: How was it working with Anushka Sharma, who was also the producer of this film and the debutant director Anshai Lal?
Diljit: Fantastic. I am a huge fan of Anushka ji and I have loved her previous work as an actress, with ‘Rab Ne Banadi Jodi’ being one of my favourite films of hers. With Anshai ji, again it has been a great experience. I have always believed that the film belongs to the director.
It is the directors vision that brings the film alive so any praise for the film or the actors is really praise for the director. Bringing a story like Phillauri together and doing it in such a way that will hopefully really connect with our audiences, it really is down to the great work of Anshai ji.
KRS: You sang one song for this film. Any future plans to become a playback singer for Bollywood films?
Diljit: No, not at all. By the time my screen test was done and I had started shooting for the film, all the music and songs of the film had already been done. It was only much later after the shooting had finished, that they approached me to sing a promotional song for the film which is the “Dum Dum” song written by the very talented Anvita Dutt ji.
I have no plans to do playback singing in Bollywood. I am a Punjabi folk singer and that will always be my first love.
KRS: What is your message to your fans at SimplyBhangra.com?
Diljit: I just want to thank all my fans for all their love and support over the years. Whether it was Punjabi’s in India, America, UK or Canada, they have all supported me from day one and it is because of their love and support that I am now sitting here in Bollywood.
Also a very big thank you to you all and to SimplyBhangra.com.
Phillauri releases worldwide on Friday 24th March 2017.
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