Forget her firang twang, Katrina Kaif will now speak chaste Hindi in Raajneeti. At least her trainer thinks so and is extremely satisfied with the effort she put in to get her accent right. Bollywood acting trainer and director of Kreating Charakters acting institute, Vidur Chaturvedi, taught Kaif to speak Urdu in only 20 days!
He says, “Yash Raj Films called me for her voice and diction training for the film New York. When I went through the script, I realised that her accent was a plus point and in fact, helped develop her character as an NRI. She didn’t need to be a Meena Kumari or a Madhubala. But for Raajneeti, she needed to speak differently.”
Since they had very little time before she went off shooting, Vidur simply recorded the dialogues and Kaif would perfect them later. He says, “She already knew the Hindi alphabets, but these days, you get dialogues in Roman script. I’d go train her in the evening and she’d work on her diction from 8 to 11 at the night. In the end, she had mastered all the dialogues. She never missed a class.” He warns that one may still catch the twang in her regular conversations, but as far as the film is concerned, she got the nuances of Hindi right.
Vidur has been a trainer in the industry for over 20 years now and had come to Mumbai mainly to become a director. He joined an acting school and even directed a Marathi film called Bhakti Heech Khari Shakti, but can’t think of taking up acting as a profession. He plans to make a Bollywood film soon. “I can teach Shakespeare, but I can’t be Shakespeare,” he draws an analogy. He prefers word-of-mouth publicity. “Anil Kapoor called me to train his daughter Sonam Kapoor. He said Neetuji (Neetu Kapoor) recommended my name to him. That’s how it works for me,” Vidur informs.
His list of students is an impressive milieu of Bollywood stars: Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Genelia D’Souza, Soha Ali Khan, Arjun Rampal, Minissha Lamba, Jacqueline Fernandes, Imran Khan and more. He quickly mentions his not-so-famous students too. “I’ve trained others like Kishen Kumar, Monica Bedi, Luv and Kush Sinha. Even though their films have bombed, my duty as a trainer is to own up to their flops too,” he asserts.
She wasn’t my private student; she was in a class with 20 other people. I taught her a bit of everything— diction, dialogue delivery and characterisation. She joined the course before Aitraaz and in three-four months, she landed the film. She turned around with this film. She’s very focused and moves in a planned way. She’s a quick learner and works really hard.
Saif Ali Khan
When he came to me, he hadn’t signed any film but was trying to get aboard the film Bekhudi. Later he got thrown out and Kamal Sadanah replaced him. He was disturbed but then he was still working to get a role in Parampara in Yash Chopra’s film. I used to drill it into mind into his mind that the way he was speaking was very irritating.
Slowly, he picked up his diction and after Dil Chahta Hai, there’s been no looking back. I bumped into him on the sets of Kurbaan and he was so happy to see me. He said, “Maine aapko bahut pareshaan kiya tha (I troubled you so much).” He has come a very long way from those days.
Neetuji (Ranbir’s mother) wanted me to train Ranbir. I used to go to his place and then to Sonam’s place before Saawariya. Ranbir was already very well informed, since he went to the Lee Strasberg Institute. When he started out, his language and his training in America acted as his weak points.
He knew that he had to bear the Kapoor family tag. But he was hardworking and confident. He never missed a class. He’s grown with time. After Rocket Singh and Wake Up Sid, his growth has been phenomenal.
I had no warm relationship with John. It was just a professional relationship. He joined the course, and left within a month because he signed a film. Technically, I trained him only for a month. I have no contact with him. He’s very lucky and is doing well for himself.
I used to teach her with Hrithik when she was supposed to be in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hain. She had no acting background when she started. She later opted out for Refugee and it was generous of Rakeshji to let her go just like that.
I felt that she was in awe of Abhishek Bachchan and JP Dutta and that showed on her face on screen. But now, she’s doing so well, and doing such strong character-based roles.
Hrithik is extremely hardworking, dedicated and diligent. I’m not saying that because he’s successful, but success comes with hard work. I was training him for Kaho Naa Pyaar Hain. I trained him for three- four months when Rakeshji (Rakesh Roshan) called me.
I bumped into him at the premiere of Saawariya and I told him that I didn’t like his characterisation in Aap Mujhe Acche Lagne Lage and he immediately told me that he’d get back to me to know what went wrong. This, after being such a mighty star... it speaks volumes of his diligence.
I had a long association with her. She was learning diction and did it for almost four months, while getting trained in physiotherapy elsewhere for her paralysed mother. She’s an extremely nice human being.
Neil Nitin Mukesh
I used to go to his set to train him and would also supervise him on dubbing for his debut film, Johnny Gaddar.