Malvika Raaj, who played the younger version of Kareena Kapoor’s Pooja in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, is all set to make her acting debut in a lead role with Squad. The action thriller also marks the Bollywood debut of Danny Denzongpa’s son, Rinzing Denzongpa. Directed by Nilesh Sahay, Squad starts streaming on Zee5 on November 12.
In an exclusive chat with IndiaToday.in, Malvika Raaj talks about her excitement and nervousness regarding Squad, her Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham memories and the lessons she has learned from Shah Rukh Khan.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Why did you choose Squad as your debut film?
When Nilesh Sahay (director) came to me with Squad, he told me it was an action film and because of my preconceived notion, I thought the hero would be doing the action. So I asked what’s the role of the heroine? He told me she is going to protect a child with the hero. I thought it was different. Doing an action film as my debut intrigued me. I am very happy with the final result of Squad. I have been waiting for this my entire life. I am super excited. My journey with the film has been amazing. From the first day of the shoot to the last day, everything has been action-packed.
How was the experience of shooting Squad with Rinzing Denzongpa?
He and I are very good friends. We have so many things in common and have known each other for a long time. There was no ice to break on the sets of Squad. We just hit it off on the first day and when you are sharing screen space with someone you are comfortable with, it shows.
Tell us about your character, Aria.
I think her nature is very different from who I am in real life. She is a badass, a sharpshooter. She is a girl who loves guns. But one thing that we have in common is that we’re both patriots.
Was being away from cinema for two decades since Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham your decision?
My parents wanted me to finish my education. I was just a child then and being in movies could’ve had a negative impact. After that, I started modelling. I was in the fashion industry and loved walking the ramp. It gave me a lot of exposure and confidence. Now I am looking forward to my debut film and hoping that the audience likes it.
You acted in one of Bollywood’s most celebrated films, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. How was it on sets with such famous actors?
I had a blast working on the film. Being a child and sharing the screen with such humongous stars didn’t hit me that hard back then. They never made me feel any less than them. They are all so grounded and so humble. Being a part of K3G makes me feel so proud. People still recognise me as the younger Pooja.
Is there any lesson you learnt from Shah Rukh Khan?
Shah Rukh Khan is my favourite. He is such a grounded person. He is so hardworking and always so humble despite being a superstar. That was a learning experience for me that no matter how big an actor you are, how big a superstar you become, don’t show your stardom on set. He would treat a lightman very well and everybody is equal for him on set. I met him at a party two years ago, and I told him who I was. He was like, “You have become so big”. I am just a very big fan of Shah Rukh Khan.
Shah Rukh Khan treats a lightman like an equal on set, says Squad star Malvika Raaj. Interview