There’s a new camaraderie in town and this time, it’s Aadar Jain and a gorilla. Hello Charlie on Amazon Prime Video intends to make you laugh out loud, Jain tells MW and opens up about the ensemble cast, the digital release of the film, and his bond with his co-stars

Aadar Jain, who was last seen in Qaidi Band, is now a part of one of the funniest comedies of this season, Hello Charlie. The film features him as a happy-go-lucky boy who always lands himself in trouble. Directed by Pankaj Saraswat, the film chronicles Jain’s hilarious road trip with a gorilla named Toto, a ‘gomance’ you don’t want to miss. The distinctively humorous film comes from the makers of the extremely successful comedy film Fukrey, and introduces a promising side of Jain. Toto, the gorilla’s distinctive character arc mixed with the collaborative effort of the cast, will leave the viewers rolling on the floor laughing. We catch up with Jain for a tell-all.

The trailer of the film looks great. What kind of an impact do you think the film will have on the audience?

Well, first of all, I hope everyone enjoys the film. They’re going to have a smile on their faces after they watch the film. The trailer and the song are getting good responses. We have spoken to family, friends, colleagues, and they all have given positive feedback, whether it is about me, the film, the idea, or the storyline. The fact that there is a boy and a gorilla on a road trip is so crazy. But everything is very logical in this script, and everything makes a lot of sense. It is one of those intelligent comedies, which is a full comedy of errors, and I really feel that people are going to be entertained, especially at times like this, where we are missing out on comedies, on family entertainment films where we can sit together and watch a film, and just feel entertained. Everyone is going through some stress or the other due to the pandemic, everyone has their worries, their stresses, their difficulties. But our aim, with this movie, is to relieve some of that stress. Cinema is about escapism. I really am hoping that people can, and will connect with this movie. I also want kids to see it. They have been at home since last year because of the pandemic, so I feel like they might be bored. This is a very kid-friendly film. The other day, I was outside my building, and I saw a few kids doing the ‘One Two One Two’ dance step, which has gone viral. These kids ask me, “Charlie, where is Toto?” and it feels so nice that they are connecting to it. I feel like because it is a clean comedy with a U-certificate, anyone can watch it. Kela kha ke, akela dekh sakte ho.

One Two One Two, your song, released recently. How was the experience of shooting the songs of the film?

Amazing. It was one of a kind. I have seen on-screen idols like Rajesh Khanna ji doing Haathi Mere Saathi, and now I am getting to do this song with a gorilla. Shooting and rehearsing for the song with Ganesh Acharya, who has choreographed the song, was amazing, and he has given us such a cool hook step. While Tanishk Bagchi is back with a superb song, Nakash Aziz is singing it and I loved his earlier song, Jabra Fan, and I am so happy that he has sung this song.

Hello Charlie Song

Were there any shocking/interesting stories you came across while researching for your role?

There were no shocking incidents as such. My character is a very naive, down-to-earth, innocent man from a small town. He is so simple that his simplicity often lands him in trouble. All he knows is to help people, but sometimes when he tries to do something nice for someone, he ends up doing something or the other wrong, and lands himself in trouble. Hello Charlie is essentially a comedy of errors, and it’s situational. But as for the shocking moment, honestly, there was this one incident. As I was shooting with the gorilla, initially, I was very scared of it. But he was very well trained. He has come from LA, the same team that worked on The Planet Of The Apes, was now working on our film. There were handlers who handled the gorilla well, and it eventually became very comfortable. We became great buddies and the chemistry is also great in the film. Bohat saara ‘go-mance’ ho raha hai.

What was the most challenging part about playing this character?

Playing the character for me was quite easy, because I relate to the character on many levels. It is the kind of person he is, where he comes from, how he thinks, what is his mindset like and other characteristics, those are a few things that I related to. But we shot in live locations, and some really hard locations, so I think sometimes it got a little difficult. Also, we were shooting in really hot weather every day, so I think that took a toll on us. I almost even fainted one day while we were shooting. Every film has its own challenges in that sense, but it is so fruitful that you get to watch it all come alive, and people like it as well. It is worth it because I love cinema, I love acting, and it feels so good that people respond to something that does well. At the end of the day, it is all worth it.

What, according to you, is required to create a comedy scene, as those are the hardest ones to pull off?

I love comedy as a genre. It may sound childish, but when I was in school, I loved making people laugh. I was an ‘outstanding’ student because I was always standing outside the class (laughs). Teachers would throw me outside the class because I used to play pranks, make a fool of myself, and entertain my friends. I think, somewhere, I became an actor because of that. So, when I got a chance to be a part of a comedy film, I just grabbed it. I, of course, know that doing that in a classroom and actually standing and doing it in front of the camera, in front of hundreds of people, and working with actors like Jackie Shroff and Rajpal Yadav, is no easy thing. You have to work a lot, research a lot, and do a lot of workshops to get that type of comedy timing as an actor.

Hello Charlie Still

How was your experience shooting during the pandemic?

We shot the film 80-90 per cent before the pandemic. We only had two songs left to shoot during the pandemic. We were the first ones to shoot during the pandemic after the lockdown was lifted. Hello Charlie is the first film to go on floors out of all the films that were shot in the industry. It was obviously a challenge. Everyone was worried and scared. But I have to say, Excel Entertainment, as a production house, followed all the norms correctly, and they made sure we all were safe.

This is your second film after quite a gap. What is the reason behind this?

I’ll tell you why. I had signed this film in 2018, a few months after Qaidi Band, and then we started shooting in 2019. But because of the pandemic, it has been such a gap, which I cannot control. I cannot control when the movie releases. Everyone is going through so much. For me, it is just a gap of a film, but other people are losing their houses, which are bigger concerns. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter. I just hope that the pandemic will get over now, and we can all get back to our normal lives, and start working and shooting.

Hello Charlie Still

How are you handling the pressure of holding a film entirely on your shoulders after a gap? Are you nervous?

No, not at all. You have to do your job as an actor, and can’t think of things like ‘I am holding a film’ or ‘just because I am Charlie and the film is called Hello Charlie I have to take that kind of pressure’. I never work under pressure, I work under love. I have worked very hard to portray my character in the right way. Also, it is an ensemble film. I am working with some really great actors. You know, when the supporting cast is so good, they make your film even more entertaining. There are so many actors in this film who have done a great job. I cannot feel that I have taken this on my shoulders. I feel the entire cast and crew is carrying this film.

How was it working with legendary comedy actors such as Jackie Shroff and Rajpal Yadav?

I will start with Rajpal sir, he and comedy go hand in hand. My mother and I used to love watching him. Sometimes, I’d be doing some scenes with him, and I’d forget my dialogues because he is so funny, and I’d just begin to laugh. Off screen and on screen, he is just so motivating. I’m a big fan of Jackie sir. Our family knows him personally but also professionally, I met him on the sets of Happy New Year when I was working as an assistant director with Farah Khan. I have always said that I really want to work with him and today, I am getting that opportunity. Life just came a full circle. I had a great bond with him. He is like a father figure for me.

There is a shot in the film where I have to jump, and I really hurt myself. But he was really motivating, and he said that I have a style, and told me how I should maintain it. He’s an old soul, but he is also so young at heart.

What was it like working with a gorilla, who is not a vocal companion to have in a comedy-of-error story? Was it difficult to shoot?

No, it was not difficult at all. I was just a little bit scared in the beginning. I am an animal lover, but working with a gorilla who is literally my height is challenging. I was a little scared thinking what if he does something to me. But he was very well trained. We ended up having a great bond eventually.

Hello Charlie Song

What are your thoughts on the film releasing on a digital streaming service like Amazon Prime?

I am very happy because at a time like this, no one is getting to go to the theatres, unfortunately. It is a bad thing for theatres, exhibitors, and distributors because they lose a lot of money. But at the same time, we are in a pandemic, and we need to understand that we have to be safe. Our film is a family film, and everyone can watch it together. Also, the fact that Amazon’s reach is 240+ countries, the reaching  visibility is huge. We will have a world premiere, which is amazing. What more can I ask for as an actor? Even for a producer and a director, you want your film eventually to touch and to reach so many people, and receive love and appreciation from fans. We are getting that opportunity with Amazon now, which is great.

You mentioned that your film will be reaching 240 plus countries, which means you will be getting instant reactions. What are your thoughts?

It is good. On both platforms, I think you get instant reactions. It is as simple as good or bad. I don’t know how it works in the case of the box office, you have numbers there but with Amazon, you have viewership. I am just excited that my film is coming out, and I just am hoping that people love it, and love us and appreciate our work because we have worked really hard on this film.