Actor and fitness entrepreneur, our Dev star has no intention of slowing down
Driven. That’s Rakul Preet Singh in a nutshell. Her friends call her an “Eveready battery” because, and she tells this with a straight face, the word ‘tired’ is not in her dictionary. When I catch up with her, Rakul is shooting back-to-back nights for the Selvaraghavan-Suriya film NGK.
Since last Thursday’s release, Dev, has her opposite Karthi, I ask her about working with the brothers.
“They have no airs about being film stars. Both have helped me learn Tamil. With Karthi, there is a certain comfort level because I’ve now done two films with him,” she begins.
We talk about image. Rakul’s is that of a star heroine, though she is keen to make it go away.“I want to portray a rural character without makeup. It is one of my short-term dreams. Perhaps, I will let Selva sir (Selvaraghavan) know,” she smiles.
This change of mind, so to speak, happened post Theeran (2017), her previous Tamil film with Karthi. “Theeran made me want to take up more challenging roles. It is not that I don’t wish to do regular [commercial] films. It’s just that [producers] tend to think you’re a star heroine and known for glamorous roles. The image tends to stick,” she adds.
Rakul has a film opposite Sivakarthikeyan after NGK.
I’ve always been a workaholic. My manager always complains that I need to take rest Rakul Preeth Singh
But she also wants in on the booming digital streaming space in India. The Delhi girl accepts that she is ambitious. Growing up, her Army dad nudged her (and her brother) into training for as many sporting activities as she could.
“I had professional coaching for karate, swimming, lawn tennis, squash, badminton and skating. My dad even paid for me to learn how to play the harmonium!” she chuckles. When children her age would hang out with friends, Rakul was training to play golf. “I’ve always been a workaholic. My manager always complains that I need to take rest and calm down,” she says.
This work ethic lets her stay in control of her business interests despite a tight filming schedule. She is a franchisee of F45 gyms and runs three outlets (two in Hyderabad and one in Visakhapatnam).
During the press meet for Dev, Karthi shared an anecdote that between takes, Rakul would be spotted instructing her gym managers over WhatsApp. I ask her why she chose to invest in the fitness sector.
“Business is just one reason. I’ve been able to change people’s outlook about leading a healthy life. I am learning more about nutrition and about the food we eat. I consciously avoid eating processed, sweet or fried food,” she says.
That must make her a nightmare around friends.
“Yes!” she laughs. “But when I’m not around, I get texts from them, like (actor-producer) Lakshmi Manchu telling me she doesn’t know what to eat for dinner.”
So if she bids goodbye to the movie business at some point, will the entrepreneur kick in full time? “My brother jokes, asking me if I’m going to be a dietitian after I retire? I reply, ‘Think big, dude!’ I will start a school of nutrition,” she laughs.