Bollywood model and actress Urvashi Rautela is petrified of snakes, but she was willing to work on her fears if it meant appearing in a lavish, glamorous video featuring Egyptian actor and music god Mohamed Ramadan. Their collected single ‘Versace Baby’ in Dubai, which went viral since its release on May 12 and has been viewed more than 9 million times, has a scene with a python. The two are in a steaming jacuzzi with the exotic reptile. The dazzling video shows this city in a starring role. “I’m scared of snakes, but there were a lot on the sets,” Rautela said laughing. The music video, shot entirely in the United Arab Emirates, and mostly in the Palazzo Versace Dubai hotel, is an unprecedented ode to decadence and materialism. Shots of Ramadan and Rautela leading a luxurious, gilded life form the backbone of the video, directed by Dubai talent Len Prasad. ‘But I can tell you that I’m a big animal lover and I can guarantee you that all the animals are well cared for. Their owners were there and they were not abused. Think about it: the Versace brand icon contains a snake, and it is a distinctive symbol of Versace, which is why we even wanted to be genuine for the brand on our sets, ”said Rautela. In her international music video debut, Rautela plays the glamorous arm cookie of Ramadan that zooms around in fast cars and wakes up on a bed with money strewn around them. ‘It was so much fun filming the video in Dubai. But it was also extremely challenging because we shot it during a pandemic. “We had to be extremely careful, but all our efforts paid off brilliantly … My friends and fans call me their own ‘Versace Baby’,” said Rautela. In one of the scenes she wore a black gown that cost more than R150 million. Excerpts from our interview with Rautela as we talk about her latest single … How did ‘Versace Baby’ come about? Singer Mohamed Ramadan and I have been friends since 2019. I was invited to the Moroccan singer Saad Lamjarred’s concert in which Mohamed performed and we got along well. We introduced and we talked about how many Indians the music scene in the Arab world is unknown. And we talked. The rest is history. How was it filmed in Dubai for the music video, which is an ode to materialism and luxury? I fell in love with the track the moment I heard it. Mohamed and I met last year and we celebrated Christmas together. At that point, he took me to his studio and let me hear four or five of his popular songs from his repertoire. We even talked about recording one of his songs at the Taj Mahal in Agra, as it was one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. But what immediately struck me was his track ‘Versace Baby’. I liked it a lot and when he asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, I jumped at his offer. I got this project during my birthday week and I loved working with Mohamed … Versace was one of my favorite brands when I was growing up. I like the way I have styled in this video. The black gown that cost a whopping amount was worn by a Hollywood icon. ‘Versace Baby’ is about style and money.
The video in Dubai is an unapologetic nod to materialism, life on the fast track and spending money on luxury goods … Did you feel guilty that it could appear deaf-mute during the pandemic? In my music video ‘Doob Gaye’ I played an innocent girl but my role in ‘Versace Baby’ is a polar opposite of that. I was on call to look glamorous. But it was very challenging to shoot it down during the lock. We had real animals like cubs, jaguars and pythons on the sets. I’m proud of Mohamed because he drew it all. This is one of the most expensive music videos I have ever appeared in. And Mohamed was an absolute professional and he was only interested in improving the project. We were dressed from head to toe in Versace and that made it an authentic version of the song. This is also a perfect recommendation for Versace. Do you have a favorite scene? I had to return for another survey in India, and due to the quarantine rules at home I had to return to my country before my survey ended. But it is nicely edited. My favorite scene is the one with the python in a jacuzzi. It was so stylish. This song is an overall showpiece about a materialistic life – think of cars, planes and materialism. This is a total party-oriented video. You also tweeted that the proceeds of the video will go to the Palestinian Aid Fund and COVID-19 India. what are your thoughts At the time of recording and recording the song, we were focused on how to make this video better. We wanted to make the video attractive to Mohamed’s fans in the Arab world and get to know him in India. Take a good look and you will also find some distinctive Bollywood moves. It gives me great pleasure to realize that my first hit with an Arab artist was the best in India, Morocco and other parts of the world. I feel incredibly proud. This is our Eidi, our eid gift, to all our fans. What’s next for you? I have about six projects available. I will be appearing with Randeep Hooda in the web series ‘Inspector Avinash’ and the Bollywood remake of the Tamil hit ‘Thiruttu Payale 2’. I also have the movie ‘The Black Rose’ available. But more than my movies, I just think about protecting our lives now. This is currently a terrible situation and we are concerned about everyone’s safety. We can not meet people in public like before. It can be lonely, but I try to be as positive as we can be. ‘Versace Baby’s viral success is a silver lining in my life.