Mumbai, Oct 3 (IANS) He learnt to play the guitar, grew his hair really long and genuinely gelled with his co-stars. The effort has paid off for model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal who says "Rock On" is his biggest hit so far.
He has been showered with praise for his performance as down-and-out rocker Joe Mascarenhas in the hit movie about four friends who form a rock band.
"Everyone thought 'Rock On' was going to be just a multiplex film. It's gone way beyond. People are getting in touch with their old friends because of 'Rock On'. That's truly gratifying. Even the small-towners are reacting to it. Just proves if you make a film from your heart, it connects. All I can say is, wow. This is my biggest success so far," Arjun told IANS.
Arjun debuted as an actor in 2001 with "Moksha" and featured in films like "Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat", "Dil Hai Tumhaara", "Yakeen" and "Ek Ajnabee" - but all of them failed to create a buzz at the box office.
Finally, Arjun got his due in 2007 with the release of "Om Shanti Om". It was followed by "Rock On!" and he says his latest venture worked because of the real camaraderie among the actors and the director.
"What I've really taken home from 'Rock On' is some great friendships. It was such an experience to work with really new talent. Everyone in the film was either fresh talent or new to me. And they turned out to be people who'll stay friends with me for keeps.
"What you see is not fake. All of us, from director Abhishek Kapoor to Farhan, Luke Kenny, Purab Kohli and me, we spent a lot of time together. We read the script together, spoke about each other's characters and just hung out. So, by the time we faced the camera, we looked like really good friends who had known each other for decades," he said.
He still remembers when Farhan told him about his role in "Rock On".
"I was in Jodhpur when Farhan told me about it. And I was like, wow! It was the story of these two friends, Farhan and me. So we had to look really close.
"When Farhan's sister Zoya was watching the rushes, she turned and said, 'What are the two of you doing in the film? It looks like you'll kiss any moment.' I told her not to worry. Every emotion and component is genuine. I actually played the correct chords when we played in stage. No guitarist can catch me out. Even Purab Kohli learnt to play the drums. We had to get it absolutely right."
Commenting upon his role and look in the movie, Arjun said: "Just feeling for the character was a tremendous high. The long hair and my look was decided in 10 minutes. I was the only character who wasn't going to cut his hair. I already had long hair. I added some extensions to it. Nobody's hair can grow that long in such a short time."
Arjun learnt to play the guitar from scratch for his role.
"Learning it was tough. But I had a great teacher called Chandresh from a band called Dream Out Loud recommended by Farhan. Chandresh came for three hours every day for three months.
"I always wanted to learn to play the guitar. It's a wonderful hobby to have. The guitar becomes a great companion when you're travelling. And now I'm hooked on to it. I play the guitar and entertain family friends and guests with songs.
"I do intend to keep my interest in guitar going, though I don't expect I'd be able to join any band. I learn one song every week. And I play to my daughters all the time. But I'm not good enough to join a band."
He is not at all worried about being typecast.
"'Om Shanti Om' did wonderfully for me. I was never scared it'd slot me as a villain. Just as I'm sure 'Rock On' won't slot me as a rock star. I want to grow as an actor, try to do roles that allow me to grow."