A Session With The Fukras Ali, Varun Sharma And Majot Singh

  • 20 Jan - 26 Jan, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Interview

The mischievous gang of four lads – Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma, Pulkit Samrat and Manjot Singh – took everyone on a fun-filled ride with their movie Fukrey, and the crazy bunch came back with another episode of their comical antics in Fukrey Returns. To spill the beans on how it was to work together yet again and their expectations on their hard work, three of the talented blokes - Ali Fazal, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh - had a breezy chitchat session with MAG.

Where do you see your characters in Fukrey Returns, compared to the last film? What are the stakes?

Varun Sharma: In the last one, we were trying to establish the characters, their backstories and lives individually. In this movie, we’re past that point of establishment. Now, the four leads know each other well; they have been together and have become better friends. Then something happens which puts them in a tough spot. The stakes suddenly become higher, at this time the film moves with a crazy blockbuster feel, with Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadha’s character) stepping out of Bihar jail, chasing after them. It’s quite a high-octane film this time.

Ali Fazal: No, I think it is because of the way the roles are painted by the writer-director. Everyone is providing a beautiful balance (to the script); like the character I play – Zafar – he brings a composed feel to the entire situation. He thinks things through and questions logically. Then there’s Choocha, Laali, and Pulkit’s character – who is the kaptaan of the lot - so everyone has their space.

Was it difficult slipping back into the same characters after three years?

Manjot Singh: No, it was not. There was a lot of pressure to match the same wavelength, to being in that same range. The first time is easier, because you’re creating a new character and your only concern at that point is whether it would work or not. But then you get great response and love, therefore, it becomes slightly challenging to take that same character to a new territory.

VS: Obviously the characters are the same. Nothing has changed in terms of their personas and traits. Life, of course, has become slightly better for the characters, and they are still in college because for the Fukras a year has passed. In college, the story picks up and goes ahead with even higher stakes.

Did you guys expect the first instalment to be a massive hit?

VS: We were hoping it to be a hit. You see, every film that a writer writes, the producer makes and the actors act in, they hope and pray that it works well and receives love from the audience. We were lucky that the first film got so much love, and we, despite being new faces, got accepted by the industry as well as cinema lovers.

AF: I think with the fact that the first movie did so well, and the characters had become household names, we were in a situation where we could take the characters to unexplored places, places where they’ve never been to. That’s something new, because when Fukrey became a super hit – and we never thought that would be the case – then it just skyrocketed to becoming this huge thing. We’re very glad to have introduced the word fukrey to the masses. So, basically, we can take the characters anywhere now.

Is Laali’s character getting a girl in this movie?

MS: Unfortunately, the last time, Laali’s girlfriend gave him the slip so he was constantly praying about getting a romantic interest. Now, since Bholi is back like a wounded tigress, there is little time for love or romance for the fukras. Aisi halat hi nahin chori us nay. Hopefully, he might get one in the next part, if we ever get to make one, that is.

What kind of feedback did you guys receive from Pakistan?

VS: Today, it’s very easy to connect with people. If it (the film) is good or bad, you immediately know about it. In fact, I have personally received very good feedback from Pakistan. A lot of people follow my work over there, and I get a lot of love from them. Pakistani people really do love us from their hearts, and it shows.

AF: My most touching moment was somewhere in August, when we were at Wagha border, and I heard a voice from the opposite end of the Border yelling “Bhai Fukrey kab aarahi hai!”, which I think sums up all of the love we’ve received from Pakistan.

Are there any prospects for an international crossover of the film? Or of taking it along with the characters to another country – say Pakistan, since we share the same culture?

AF: You never know! At one point in the earlier stages of making Fukrey Returns, there were discussions of taking the characters to Japan. Obviously, the story – once jotted down – did not allow taking the fukras there. Like I said, people have accepted the characters, so why not?! Maybe we would come to Pakistan in the third part.

Have any of you ever been approached for a Pakistani film?

VS: Not yet. I hope that we do and that there is a great script that allows us to be a part of it. We’d be very happy to do it.

AF: I’ve personally watched a lot of Pakistani shows – lovely, lovely shows! I still haven’t seen a Pakistani film yet. I am the kind of guy who slips into cinemas to watch a film, so I hope that one day, Pakistani films come to India. I do know that a lot of people are collaborating with Pakistani production houses – and I know that the Pakistani cinema is coming out in a big way, so personally, I am very excited and happy.

VS: My mother is a huge fan of Pakistani dramas. You have great actors there. You have a great way of storytelling, so I hope and pray that a lot of Pakistani films are produced, and that people get to watch and enjoy them around the world. •