Television, theatre, films – he has done it all and yet when you speak to Rahul Bagga, you realise there is a strong desire in him to explore several other avenues in his pursuit as an artiste. Ahead of the release of his new film ‘Facebook Wala Pyar’, he talks about shooting in Jharkhand, keeping his characters real, being a reluctant user of social media and juggling between different worlds as an actor.
The film has been shot in Lohardaga, a small town in Jharkhand. Have you shot in the state before?
No, this is the first time I shot there. I had read about Jharkhand and all of us know about Ranchi and Jamshedpur. Because of this film, finally I got an opportunity to visit the state. I made some time to learn the nuances of the character and the setting. I am one of those actors who does not believe in too much externalisation. If we try to make a language or a dialect sound too authentic, it will make the film look like a regional film. Ideally, we should always act in a neutral space. I was the diction coach for Salman (Khan) sir in Sultan but I did not make him speak in chaste Haryanvi. I made him speak in Hindi with a Haryanvi diction that would sound authentic but would not alienate the audience who does not understand the language. In this film, I made sure that my character came across as someone who has spent all his life in Jharkhand and has never stepped out of the state.
You prefer to keep your characters real, don’t you?
Every actor is a narcissist and I am one too. But, my narcissism or my pride in my craft comes from portraying a character realistically and not by projecting myself as a larger-than-life hero.
It is interesting that you are playing the lead in a film that talks about social media as you are a reluctant user of social media yourself.
I have never enjoyed being on social media. In the recent past, I have tried to use it a little more regularly than I did as I felt one must move with times. Having said that, I am an introverted person. I like observing people and I guess that is why I got into acting. I like to express myself as an actor but as a person I find it difficult to talk about my personal life on social media. I use social media in moderation.
Do you think social media is a good place to find love? There have been several instances of people befriending strangers on social media and getting into trouble.
Those who do not meet people on social media and date people whom they know personally, also get into trouble. I think this question can be best answered by people who have found love on social media. Personally, I think finding love on social media is a better bet as you are not really getting attracted to a person physically. You like them because of common interests and start talking to them. It might sound strange but I think those kind of relationships must be more genuine than the ones we make outside.
You featured in a very popular government ad recently. You have mostly been a part of TV commercials that have a story to tell.
I think every actor has certain responsibilities towards the society. I cannot be promoting or advocating something that might be detrimental to the society. When I watch myself on the screen, I feel I believe in what the character is trying to say. A 30 second ad film can be as powerful as a feature film, so I have to be very conscious about the kind of narrative I am a part of.
How do you strike a balance between doing an intense play like ‘Peer Ghani’ and a commercial film like ‘Facebook Wala Pyar’?
As an actor, whenever I do a project I embrace it completely. When I am doing a ‘Peer Ghani’, I am a part of that world but when I do a ‘Facebook Wala Pyar’, I switch to that world.