TETE-E-TETE With “London, Paris, New York” all set to hit the screens on March 2, meet the stars Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari in an exclusive interview. ARCHANA SUBRAMANIAN
Who can forget the cute and charming girl from Airtel’s Avinash Rathore ad? And who can forget Ali Hassan from “Tere Bin Laden”? “London, Paris, New York” (LPNY) sees this couple come together for the first time. The film is in the news for the lead pair multi-tasking as they sing, act and dance. A composer by profession, the multi-faceted Ali Zafar is sure to surprise his audience. Aditi has done a few ads and has been seen in “Delhi 6”, “Rockstar” and “Yeh Saali Zindagi”. A coming-of-age movie LPNY’s sizzling stars talk to NXg about their movie, their roles and themselves.
Your take on love in five words?
Aditi: Joy, security, trust, companionship, magic.
Ali: Compassion, laughter, kindness, care, life.
How similar is your real life and reel life character?
AR: I find a lot of similarity. Lalitha and I have a good mix of a traditional and liberal upbringing, we both have a squeaky clean heart, and we live in our own little universe. We are both earnest. Lalitha is studious (I am not!), innocent and very idealistic, she wants to study politics to change the world. I give philosophical lectures and I think I can change people too.
AZ: For the major part, I do not see any similarities in our character. Nikhil is a rich guy, overconfident; he knows his dad being a big producer will help him make a blockbuster. I am a self-made man. I never had the money or the contacts so I started from scratch. However, I do see some shades of similarity in our characters in the second half, especially when Nikhil sorts out his issues and matures as a guy.
How was it living in London, Paris and New York?
AR: London is the perfect mix of tradition and modernity; we shot there in summer so it was warm and friendly; conducive to falling in love. Paris epitomises romance, but is more intense, passionate and heavier. New York, on the other hand, allows you to be yourself, it’s buzzing with energy; a city with no full stops.
AZ: London had amazing weather, good climate and, unusually, the sun was shining making it warm. Since that schedule was the longest and the first we had a lot of fun. Shooting the second schedule in Paris at a time when it was rather cold helped, as the plot got edgier. We had changes in the way we looked and our characters too went through a transition. However, the New York schedule was as breezy as the city. Nikhil and Lalitha meet here as grown ups after ages. Though the meeting is short, it sets the mood for the grand ending.
Which city would be your dream destination?
AR: Of the above three, I enjoyed London and New York the most. For a holiday I’d like to go to the South of France or to South America.
AZ: I loved New York the best. It’s cool and happening and I love the fast paced life. In general I love holidaying in the Phi Phi Islands.
If the movie were to be shot in India which three cities would be your choice?
AR: Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai because of the significance they have in my life. I was born in Hyderabad and my grandparents live there; I grew up in Delhi and my mother lives there. My dance guru lives in Chennai and I go there to dance. So they win hands down.
AZ: Mumbai, Goa and Delhi. I know there’s no particular reason to choose them but the movie will definitely be shot in that order had it been made here.
What attracts you to someone; also what puts you off?
AR: I like effortlessly good looking, caring, clean, honest people with trustworthy eyes, a happy smile who can make me smile and laugh. I am put off by liars, cheesy pick-up lines and people who try too hard to be charming and cool.
AZ: I love people blessed with a charming personality. They should be unique, attractive and interesting too. What can put me off completely is bad breath.
How was it multi-tasking for the movie. Was it easy or difficult?
AR: Dancing and singing is a core part of me and it’s a part and parcel of acting too. They’re all extensions of one another. I think it helps to be able to do all three. I could never separate acting, singing and dancing. I feel blessed that I am able to do all three.
AZ: I don’t see it as multi-tasking. I have been into music, singing and composing so it was just acting that was included. As artists we do perform so it was still in the same league and I enjoyed it very much. I love challenges and don’t like things that come easy.
Aditi, in the movie, you went to New York to study politics. Assuming you were to become a politician what sort of a politician would you be?
Both Lalitha and I believe that good education (which includes the arts) can change a country and its people. I agree that corruption, half baked policies, lack of infrastructure, and many other problems stem from a very weak education system that is not available to many especially women. Educated mothers empower a home and the children. I think my symbol would be a symbol of wisdom; an owl or Saraswati with her veena!
Ali, since you went to study filmmaking, your challenge is to come up with a plot in one minute.
It’s a funny story. There’s a girl who does not like this boy. But she calls him to tell him to meet her somewhere. As the phone connection is really bad he thinks she wants to meet him to say that she cannot be with him. He tries hard to hear but fails and he goes to the place and on reaching there he gets beaten up by goons and dies. After a few years his son seeks revenge and fixes all the wrongs with the communication lines and, therefore, avenges his father’s death.
Aditi, you have been in ads and television and Ali into singing and composing. How was the jump to big screen?
AR: I’ve only done ads, not television…I’ve always wanted to do films, I wished with all my might and it worked out. I got “LPNY” because my manager and the producers saw me in “Yeh Saali Zindagi” and the Airtel ad. They decided that they wanted me in their film. I believe my job is to work with honesty, positivity and to wish hard too… the rest I leave to destiny. I feel blessed that I am part of this magical world of cinema and that I have been able to make this jump, and I hope that it will keep getting better with your love.
AZ: All I can say is that there was no jump, really. And even if you call it that it was a fine smooth one. Both these fields are and so I’d like to call it a smooth transition.
Friends call you?
Your 3 a.m. friend?
AR: My razai and pillow! Hopefully nothing will bother me enough to wake someone up at that time but I have at least six names I can put here so I suddenly realised I should be troubling them after all!
AZ: My guitar
Your favourite perfume?
AR: Narsico Rodriguez
Your favourite snack?
AR: Strawberries and cherries
AZ: French fries
Your fitness formula?
AR: Yoga and dancing
AZ: Cardio and Strength
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