Jadoo is a British-made film set in Leicester, and tells the story of two brothers, Raja (Harish Patel – Run Fatboy Run) and Jagi (Kulvinder Ghir – Bend it Like Beckham). Both are wonderful chefs, who fall out so catastrophically that in the climax of their dispute they rip the family recipe book in half: one brother gets the starters and the other gets the main courses. They set up rival restaurants, on opposite sides of the Belgrave Road in Leicester; one cooking starters and the other main courses, and refuse to talk to one another.
A delicious foodie-comedy, Jadoo’s secret ingredient is a delightful romantic twist, which sees Raja’s daughter Shalini (Amara Karan – The Darjeeling Limited), attempt to get the brothers talking again. She hatches a plan and asks them to work together to cook her a perfect Indian wedding banquet…but will she succeed?
In this interview, Harish Patel talks about the film and his character:
Can you talk about your character Raja?
He’s the older brother who, in his younger days, had to give a lot to his younger brother – from his cricket bat to his toys. As a child he never liked it, in fact. No child likes it actually. I’m an older brother; there’re three of us and I’m the middle one, so I had to listen to the elder one and give in to the younger one. This role is very close to me. I don’t have to act, in fact, for this role.
How did you get the part of Raja?
I’d been told to do the wrong part so I didn’t accept it. However the producers thought I’d said no to the part of Raja so I received a letter from one of the producers, Richard, asking me to please accept it. It was such a beautiful letter he sent me and it made me feel wanted. Yes, yes I was wanted for this role. This is what an actor wants, you know.
How do you prepare for a role?
I believe in a script. I tell my juniors also, I read a script at least a hundred times, whether it’s a play, film or TV. I keep reading the script until they’re no longer in front of my eyes. If it’s a well written script you can get all your answers about the character from it. Jadoo is one of those scripts.
Why do you think people should go and see Jadoo?
People should go and see this film so that they will communicate. If there’re any family problems or misunderstandings between your relatives, go and see this film and next time communicate. Talk to them. Otherwise nobody talks to each other and the problem remains. It doesn’t get solved. With this film, you should go and see it so your problems are solved forever.
Why was it so important that director Amit Gupta shot Jadoo in Leicester?
There is aroma and smell of Leicester in the script. No other location would have been perfect. Filming Jadoo in Leicester is being right place at the right time with right people.
What was it like working with director Amit Gupta?
He’s great. So calm, quiet and he’ll explain what he wants in hardly two or three words. He’ll just say give me this. Very, very good, you know. Excellent director!
What was it like working with Amara Karan?
She’s playing my daughter who wants her uncle to be invited to her wedding, which is the major problem for me. In this film I have more interaction with her. It was very good. Great learning from her also. She would correct my dictions, which I am thankful to her for. The fun is in the script. Not my Indian English being pronounced wrong. That is not the intention. So she would always correct me.
What do you like to cook?
To tell you frankly, I make starters only. Sandwiches, toasties, I’m very good at that. In fact, in Mumbai also when my children were young, when they came back from school I would prepare for them sandwiches and samosas and I would present them in a very interesting way.
How did you get into acting?
When I was seven years old our family members in the village used to preform for ten days in the light of festival. It’s a religious thing. No female actor can take part in it because it is a religious thing. So I started my career playing a female Goddess. There’s a crowd of around seven thousand people and you have to preform and sing without a mic. There was also no electricity in my village at that time so we were preforming with gaslights, you know. That’s how I started.
Do you enjoy singing?
Yes of course. I do love to sing. I’m a bathroom singer, a good bathroom singer.
How do you stay so happy and positive on set?
The secret is very simple really. I’m one of those privileged people whose hobby has become their profession. I love camera. I like to be on sets and I like to preform. This is what my life is. I’d like to die with my makeup on. Today is actually my off day and I hate off days. Even at home in Mumbai, if I’m not filming for a few days or a week, nobody comes near me. I’m miserable. I’m the worst person in the world. So when I’m working I’m happy.
Jadoo releases in UK cinemas on 6th September 2013.