Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Filmi Girl Talks to... Hard Kaur! (Again!)

[Photo Credit: Prince Singh Photography]

Avid readers of my blog know that I have a huge crush on Hard Kaur. Ever since she snuck me outside for a cigarette and a quick interview at the Explosion 2009 tour (an adventure you can read about here), I’ve been her number one fan. So, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that she would have an actual acting role in Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House (my review of which you can read here.)

Her character, Komal, is in some ways the complete opposite of Hard Kaur. Komal is quiet and demure; Hard Kaur is loud and confident. Komal dresses in
salwaar suits and Hard Kaur is more comfortable in a wifebeater and sweats. However, much like Komal, Hard Kaur was raised in the UK and she understands the complex elements of racism and community pressure surrounding the young Asian kids there. The big difference is that Hard Kaur didn’t let anybody stand in the way of her ambition and she has risen to become one of the top music acts in Mumbai – spreading the gospel of hiphop to the aam junta.

There are two things that come across from talking with Hard Kaur that I almost never see in any print interview with her. The first is that she is funny – really funny. Anything that can be joke will be a joke. The second is that she likes to make up dialogues for people in her stories. All of this means that I’m laughing much more than I should be at 8am on a Wednesday morning, which is when Hard Kaur graciously took time to speak with me via phone from Mumbai.

I start off with a light question to ease my way in. What was it like for Hard Kaur seeing herself onscreen in those sweaters and
salwaar suits. “Horrible!” she exclaims! “I was like, ‘Oh, God, where’s the retrofit? Where’s the part where Ugly Betty goes pretty?’” She laughs. “I guess I had to do justice to the character, right?”

So, Hard Kaur didn’t take any of the wardrobe home with her? “No.” She pauses. “I would have given it to you for sure,” she deadpans before laughing. I blush. There is nothing quite like getting teased by an international superstar. “If you want it, I can get it for you. Especially the white jumper - I can get you that for sure.”

Quickly turning the topic away from jumpers and over to fashion, I raise the issue of actresses and the pressure to be size zero. It’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart, having struggled with some of those issues myself. How does Hard Kaur handle it? “A lot of people do complain like, ‘Oh, you used to be thinner before, now you’ve just gone chubbier.’ So, yeah, I’m just like, ‘I love food. I’m not here for that, you’re supposed to love me for my music or love me for my work.’ When I was doing
Jhalak, I lost so much weight but it wasn’t like losing weight as in diet, I was just getting solid because I was dancing 12 hours a day. But, really, if I don’t have to do it for a reason that I’m getting paid for, I’d rather eat and stay fat.”

Clearly, a woman after my own heart. The industry could use more of that
healthy attitude. She continues, “I don’t have pressure on me. People did try it but then I was like, ‘I got to make it just the way I am.’”

And being just the way she is, is how she got the role of Komal. “When [the production team] called me they said, ‘We saw you dancing on TV; we saw you doing
gidda.’ Like no one thinks I can do other things – that I’m capable of it. They just think, ‘Hard Kaur - she just raps.’ But nobody knew for years I could dance. So, [on Jhilak] I really wanted to showcase that. Then I got the film through that… I’ve worked with Akshay so many times before, like, on music – so he has given me a lot of respect and pushed me a lot just to make sure that I get involved and the rest is for me to do justice to my character.”

So, what is the verdict on Komal? Did people like her? “I’ve been given pure 99% love but that 1% is my mother.” I can almost hear the big grin on Hard Kaur's face as she launches into a good-natured impression of her mother, ‘
Tu Weight kyun nahin loose kardi, screen te behtar lagda. Anyways, no problem, I’m proud of you. Teri linaan thori jeeyaan hor honi chahidyaan san.’ [‘Why don't you lose some weight, because it would look better on the screen. Anyways, no problem, I’m proud of you - though, I think you should have had more lines.’*] I’m like, ‘Mum, I am somebody acting in a film. I’m not no heroine, yeah, so calm down.’”

[Photo Credit: Prince Singh Photography]

Moving from real life mums to reel life mums, in the song
Langda Lashkara from the Patiala House soundtrack, we actually get to see the wonderful Dimple Kapadia lipsyncing along to Hard Kaur’s rap. It’s a funny little moment and I was curious about how Hard Kaur coached Dimple in the art of rapping. “Dimple-ji? She is fun-ny! I thought she was going to be extra reserved and the type to say that, ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone.’ But she is so gangsta. I mean, you won’t believe how she makes everybody laugh on the set. When her and Rishi Kapoor argue with each other, it’s like the funniest thing because they’ve known each other for so long and the way she disses him is proper funny.”

Hearing how fun Dimple is on set, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes she had more roles. Just because a woman hits a “certain age” doesn’t mean she can’t still oomph with the best of them. Hard Kaur continues, “I really got along with her and I’ll tell you the truth - when I rap for Bollywood songs, most of the actresses, they go like, ‘[Hard Kaur puts on a ridiculous high-pitched super-girly voice] Yeah, this is Hard Kaur.’ I’m being aggressive, right, but the way they portray it on screen is they’re all touching themselves and I’m like, ‘Dude, that’s not what I’m saying - keep it connected to what I’m saying.’”

But Dimple? “Now, Dimple-ji, is a gangsta.” Hard Kaur stretches the word out in satisfaction. “That’s why I love her. This is the first time I’ve seen justice been done to my songs. You know, she’s up there… she’s doing a little East Coast-West Coast sign and saying, ‘Yeah, innit?’ with full attitude. I was laughing! I was like, ‘Yeah, man, this woman’s gangsta.’”

From talking with a couple other actors, I know that the cousins and siblings of
Patiala House spent a lot of time bonding, not just with Rishi and Dimple but with each other. And Hard Kaur has to give one last shout out. “I have to give my biggest kiss to the boy who plays my younger brother in the film, which is Ankush Khanna [I’ll be speaking with him on Saturday, so stay tuned! – FG]. I mean, I looooove Ankush and he’s so funny and he’s just a superstar and I’m glad that he played my little brother because we so are meant to be like that. We both love music and dancing so I absolutely loved Ankush but it was great working with all of them.”

And it’s always great talking with Hard Kaur. She’s taking a break from Bollywood for the near future to finish up her new album (
Glassy 2) but I hope we’ll see her on the big screen again!

*And a special thanks to Dishoompk for helping me sort out the Punjabi!

1 comment:

Shell said...

Great article Kara! I haven't seen Patiala House yet, but you know Hard Kaur's gonna rock it- she doesn't do stuff halfassed ever!

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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