Malvika Raaj began her Bollywood career as a child artiste with Bollywood’s iconic film ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’. She played Pooja (younger Kareena Kapoor) in the 2001 film directed by Karan Johar. After K3G, Malvika focused on her studies. And after 20 years, she is returning to Bollywood with an action film titled ‘Squad’.
Here’s an excerpt of Lehren’s interview with Malvika Raaj:
It’s been 20 years of K3G. Where have you been?
I have been in the modeling industry for 6-7 years. And now I am back in Bollywood and I am very excited about that. I am just waiting for my film to release soon.
Tell us more about your upcoming film.
It’s an action film called ‘Squad’. There’s a high level of international action. Our action director is Keir Beck who has directed the stunts for films like ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Matrix’. So, our film also has Hollywood-like action sequences. We have shot the film in Belarus. It’s currently in the dubbing stage. I am hoping for the October release.
Will it have a theatrical release or OTT?
I think it would be a digital release but I am not sure.
Why did you choose this project for your comeback?
It’s because Squad is very different from a regular debutant film. It’s not like a typical love story of a college girl or anything like that. It’s a crisp action film and I am doing the action myself. So, I thought it would be a great film to make my debut as a lead actor.
What kind of preparations did you do for this film?
We had a trainer who came down from Poland to train us for 2-3 months. He taught us the basic punches, jabs etc. I am playing a sniper in the film. So, he taught me basic gun knowledge and combat action. I have never done action before and therefore, it was a learning experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to do more action movies after Squad.
Rinzing Denzongpa is also a part of the film. How was your experience working with him and what’s your chemistry like?
It was very easy. We know each other for so many years, so, we were already comfortable in each other’s company. It was fun working with him. We have many things in common and we bond over things like food. He is a sweetheart.
What kind of roles would you like to play?
I would love to do action again. But I also enjoy dancing a lot. So, I would like to do a dance film or any film where there’s a lot of scope for me to act. I wouldn’t mind doing a commercial rom-com film as well.
What’s your favourite rom-com film?
In English, I love 50 First Dates and Titanic.
In Hindi, I love Dil To Pagal Hai, K3G, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
How did you come on board Karan Johar’s K3G?
I was 8. I was in 3rd or 4th std. My casting was very accidental. Sohum, who was Karan Johar’s assistant came to my school (Jamunabai) to scout for girls for this particular role. He spotted me and I auditioned for it. And that’s how I got it.
How did things change for you after that?
Things really didn’t change much because I couldn’t leave school to get into acting full fledgedly. My family wanted me to complete my education first. And I think that’s fair. But yeah, I became popular in school and I enjoyed the attention. But my close friends didn’t let it get into my head. They would still trouble me and make me feel grounded.
In K3G, you shared a screen with A-listers like Shahrukh Khan, Kajol etc. Do you have any memories of working with them?
They are humungous superstars and they never let me feel like a nobody. They treated me like I was one of them. They were so sweet to me. I really respect them and there’s so much to learn from them. Even after achieving so much in life, they are so grounded. And that’s how every actor should be.
In that film, you didn’t get a chance to romance Hrithik because you were so young. But is it a possibility now?
Hrithik is my favourite actor. I think he is amazing. I would leave every movie to do a film with Hrithik.
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When was the last time you watched K3G?
Every Sunday it comes on TV and I watch it everytime. I must have seen it more than 100 times. People keep sending me videos on social media as well. I love watching myself on screen. So, I can never get enough of that. I may be sounding very self-obsessed but it’s true.