Thursday, November 29, 2012

Arjun Kapoor

“I’ve not yet gotten used to all the attention coming my way”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This article was published in the Diwali issue - November 10 issue of Super Cinema) 

He’s just one film old, but the kind of love been showered upon him and the film offers coming his way, belie the very fact. If you’d seen Arjun few years ago, you could never imagine him being an actor. But that is all history. His hard work and sheer dedication have got him where he is today. There is something about him. Something, that girls are finding extremely attractive. His raw sensuality and rugged look, as seen in his debut film might have led to women drooling over this newbie. But tell this to Arjun and he turns shy. He says that all the attention he’s getting, is still kind of unbelievable for him. Being an industry child, he definitely has a better understanding of the world of Hindi films, but he’s not taking it for granted. He wants to learn and get better. As I speak to him, I realise that stardom has still not gone to his head. There is some child-like quality even in his extremely masculine voice. He won over the audience and critics just with his debut film, and his upcoming line-up of films looks very interesting too. So, this new star on the block, Arjun Kapoor, gets candid about his upcoming projects, being an industry kid, chachu Anil Kapoor, competition and more 

This year has been really good for you so far. ‘’Ishaqzaade’ released, and proved to be a hit. Did you anticipate all this?
Yes, the year has been good. You know while shooting, we didn’t really anticipate that people will like the film, or it’ll be a hit. But I knew that we were making a good film. And all we could do is, put in our best. Obviously, we’d never thought that people would like the film, or it would appeal to the sensibilities of the young generation. I’m just so glad, that people have liked ‘Ishaqzaade’, our performance and my chemistry with Parineeti.

With just one film, things have changed for you. You have all the attention and love coming your way, especially from female fans. How are you dealing with that?
It’s just overwhelming. Honestly, that is not something I expected. I’ve never been someone who’s got a lot of attention from girls, since I was quite over-weight. It’s still quite unbelievable, and I’ve not gotten used to all the attention coming my way. But I think it’s one of the nicest feelings to be appreciated for your work, since that’s what you’re working hard for. It’s nice to meet people who’ve been patient enough to see your film, and who admire your work. Unfortunately, we keep extremely busy, so there’s not much time to meet people or interact with them, but when I do come across people who like me, it’s a great feeling. After all, the adulation that you get is the only reward for all the efforts you’ve put in.

You’ve already signed quite a few films, which is quite a big thing, considering you’ve just done one film…
I just feel that I’m blessed and fortunate enough that I’m getting the opportunity to work with such talented people in the business, at such an early stage in my career. The films I’ve signed, were the films I was offered after ‘Ishaqzaade’ released, so I’m just so glad that people from the industry, and filmmakers have liked my work. But at the end of the day, I’m just one film old, I’ve just been in the industry for 6months, so I’ve so much more to learn.

You’re shooting for ‘Aurangzeb’ at the moment…how’s the film turning out to be?All I can say is that it’s a very challenging film for me. Working with director Atul Sabharwal has been a great learning experience. And working with actors like Rishi Kapoor and Jackie Shroff is like a dream come true. Chintu uncle is somebody who we’ve all grown up watching, he’s such a legend. Then even Jackie Shroff, I call him Jackie uncle. I’ve seen their films, as a kid. For me to work with actors like these is a big thing. So, yes, ‘Aurangzeb’ is just a very emotional and exciting experience for me. Apart from that, I can’t really divulge much about the film for now, the official announcement shall be made later by YRF. But we’ve completed the major portions of the shoot, and the film can be expected to release next year.

Tell us something about your other projects – ‘2 States’, ‘Gunday’, and the film with you father.
‘2 States’ as you know is the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s book. When I read the script, I instantly loved it, and agreed to do the film. I could totally connect to the script while I read it. ‘Gunday’, of course, is another film that I’m really excited about. Ranveer Singh is such a fantastic actor and I’m so looking forward to working with Priyanka Chopra, because she’s someone who’s been around for quite some time, and I’ve always admired her as an actress.
So, I’m sure it’s just going to be a very exciting experience. About my father’s film, it’s a tad too early to talk about it (smiles).

You’re being open to a variety of genres, but is there any particular genre that you really wish to do soon?I’ve this thing for thrillers. So, I would love to do a thriller film. And yes, like you said, I am being open to doing different genres and characters. Even if you see, the films I’ve signed currently, they’re all unique in their own way, and completely different from each other. Moreover, you know what? It’s not really about the genre now. Like say, I could be doing a character that has shades of comedy. So, even though, I’m doing a thriller genre, my character is funny, and makes people laugh. It’s all about the mix and match now. And in fact, with the kind of films being made lately, you can’t really limit yourself to a particular genre.

When can we see you on-screen with your chachu, Anil Kapoor?I’m dying to do a film with Anil Kapoor. He someone who I’ve grown up watching. He’s so terrific. He is somehow who I aspire to become like. So, God willing, I hope I get to do a film with him real soon.

And any possibility of you doing a film with Sonam?
There are hardly any writers who pen a brother-sister story. So, the possibility is quite less. But if we do get a good script like that, we would for sure do a film together. I look forward to that also.

Before you joined films, or even now, did you get any advice or tips from your family? Specially, acting tips from Anil Kapoor?
Since I belong to this filmy family, films have always been a part of our discussion at home. So, I’ve not really got specific advice from anyone, since I’m kind of aware about how things work. And from Anil chachu, he’s never really given me any one particular suggestion or acting tip, but just the way he is, you can learn so much from him. The way he is, speaks about his passion for cinema and his craft. He’s always been a motivation for me. The kind of dedication he has towards his work is something I would want to imbibe. Even today, the way he gets excited about every single film of his, is something that can really inspire you.

A notion exists that it gets easy to make into the industry, if you’re a star son, or a producer’s son. This could be a stereotype. What’s your take on this?I think it is a stereotypical thought process, but people have a right to form their own opinion and I completely respect that. The only upper hand of being a star son or producer’s son, would be that you would have a better understanding of the industry and how things work here. That’s about it. But, I think the perception is really changing now since we have so many new actors entering Hindi cinema every year. For instance this year, we had Ayushmann Khurrana, whose debut film was so successful. Then, we also had Ranveer Singh, making his debut with ‘Band Baaja Baarat’ some time ago. So, yes, eventually, the stereotypical notion might break.

What do you love, apart from working in films?Watching films (laughs). When not working for a film, I like to watch various kinds of films. I love food. I love to eat. But obviously, I have to curb my desires every day, and stop myself from eating unhealthy food.

Your take on competition?Like I said, I’m just one film old, and been here for only six months. So, at the moment, I would just like to compete with myself, because I’m still in the process of learning and re-inventing myself with each film. Having said that, I am very competitive by nature. But I think each actor is different from the other, and all of us are comfortable in our own space.

What’s your definition of success?For me, success=happiness. If you’re happy with what you’re doing, then you’ve achieved success. But if you’re not happy when you wake up in the morning, and you’re not looking forward to what you have to do, then it’s just pointless.

What would be your Diwali message?I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous Diwali. I would tell people to eat a lot, party hard, but take care of themselves and the pollution. 

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