Rakul Preet Singh: Today, box office alone does not define whether a film is good - Times of India
Rakul Preet Singh clocked in five releases in 2022 and one at the beginning of 2023. It's obviously a busy time in her career. Lately, the actress has also been making news for matters of the heart as she is dating actor-producer Jackky Bhagnani. Rakul, who is enjoying this phase of her career, believes that her work will speak for her. Excerpts from a chat with the actress:
Right after the pandemic, you had five releases (in 2022) -- 'Attack', 'Runway 34', 'Cuttputlli', 'Doctor G' and 'Thank God'. What do you think is working in your favour?
I don't put much thought into what I have done right because I always live in the present. The moment my films release, it becomes the past. My energies are always on what I need to do next and how I can do better projects and grow as an actor. I am grateful that things panned out the way they have. I am also grateful to all the makers who believed in me as I got to do diverse films -- from a commercial movie like 'Cuttputlli' to a thriller like 'Runway 34' and the campus comedy, 'Doctor G', in which I played a small-town doctor. What's most important is the love of the audience because box-office numbers are driven by too many factors.
You have been doing South films long before the audience started consuming them widely across the country, the way they are now. Lately, there has been a lot of debate about the content of South films being better than Bollywood...
We are creating a debate where there is none. It's just an outcome of there being so many platforms and the fact that everyone has an opinion on social media. South Indian cinema has been celebrated for the longest time on Hindi GECs (general entertainment channels), where people watch these films. It's the influx of too much consumption during the pandemic, which is why it became a talking point, and I am glad because those films needed to be celebrated. Regional and Hindi cinema both are a part of the Indian industry, so there is no comparison. Today, if a film is good, it will find its audience. We should rather speak about the amazing time that we are in, where a great exchange of content, artistes, and directors is happening, and the fact that we can make such great international-level cinema using talent across the country.
There are a lot of films releasing directly on OTT these days. Do you think your film Chhatriwali, which was released on OTT, would have done well in theatres?
No, I haven't had that thought because it was never meant to be for the theatres. Today it's not about which medium the film releases on. Everybody knows that 'Shershaah' was a hit, or everybody was talking about 'Freddy'. A good film will find its audience, whether it's through OTT or theatres. Sometimes, good movies like 'Runway 34' get way more appreciation on OTT. Of course, the box-office numbers matter when a film is released in the theatres, but I think we understand that we are going through a re-correction phase currently, and the box office alone does not define whether the film is good, or whether you are good.
But it does matter when it comes to cementing your position in the industry, right?
Fortunately or unfortunately, it does to some extent. There has been a backlog of films for two years. Films are released every week; sometimes, there are two releases. How do you expect the audience to come and watch every film? It's an expensive affair. In the South, there is a cap that the government has on the pricing of the tickets, which you do not have here. So, they pick that one film a month but that doesn't mean that your movie is bad. It just means that people possibly don't have money right now. This can be one of the factors. While numbers give you a positioning, the industry realises that it's a sensitive time today. So, your work is possibly not just looked through the prism of your box-office numbers.
You aren't hiding your relationship with actor-producer Jackky Bhagnani. Recently, there was buzz about your marriage...
I have always been vocal and whenever that conversation happens, I will be open. I don't have to hide. But I get very annoyed when news is created unnecessarily, especially when there is no chat around it. Given the films I am shooting and the ones Jackky is producing, where do you think we have the time? People make all sorts of stories. I am like chalo great, jab asli mein hona hoga tab pata chal hi jaayega. Whenever it happens, I will be the first one to announce it. As of now, we both are extremely busy with our work.