Monday, July 13, 2015

Shraddha Kapoor

“From not being offered any films, to actually having films in my kitty feels good”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

There’s never a dull moment when you meet Shraddha Kapoor. The glitter in her eyes has gone up from what one had seen before ‘Aashiqui 2’. In just a short span of time, she’s come a long way. Subsequent hits, and some note-worthy performances later, Shraddha Kapoor continues to have her humility and innocence intact, and hope it remains that way. Being as vibrant as the yellow jacket she’s wearing, the actress talks about the fresh success of ‘ABCD 2’ and how the perception towards her has changed over time…

Has your love for dance gone a notch higher during the journey of ‘ABCD 2’? 
Yes my love for dance has grown more, for sure. Before that I would love dancing in the sense that I would dance in front of the mirror and, and participated in annual day functions at school while growing up. But during the process of ‘ABCD 2’, I fell more in love with it, because I feel there’s a new connect with dance which has come about. When your film has a real life story attached to it, and you play such a character, it just adds another dimension to your love that’s already existed.

As a person, you have this adventurous streak…did that help for a film like this which must have been quite demanding physically?
Yes, I love doing adventurous things, and I think a certain degree of adventurous streak in nature would definitely be required for a film like that. Probably, that’s also something that helped. But it was quite demanding. We literally lived at Remo sir’s studio – we ate, drank, slept, breathed dance for those few months. I think, we were all obsessed with ‘ABCD 2’, so much so, that my brother was actually telling a friend of mine that he would only see me in rehearsal clothes at home all through the film. Now when I think of it, I realise that I actually wasn’t wearing my jeans at that point. My jeans was gathering dust during ‘ABCD 2’ days (laughs).

When you heard the script, or perhaps, when you saw the film yourself, what did you think of it?
It’s weird but when I saw ‘ABCD 2’, I felt what I’d felt during ‘Aashiqui 2’. I felt like it’s going to touch people’s hearts and will connect to the audience. That’s what has happened, so it’s nice. I also thought it was important for the film to have a connect with the audience, so that it would open a door for dance films in India.

And are you still gathering compliments for the film?
(Smiles) Adi sir (Aditya Chopra) sent me a very sweet text saying he is proud of me, Karan and Sajid Nadiadwala called. Adi sir has also messaged me after ‘Aashiqui 2’ which meant the world to me, but yes, it’s the first time Karan and Sajid sir called and they said some very nice things. They said that the hard work is showing which I thought was the most meaningful compliment. My father was surprised to see me in the film, because he thought I looked like one of the dancers only. So, I was really touched to hear these things.

Interestingly, all your characters so far have been simple enough to have a connect with the audience. You’ve not played the quintessential, glamorous Hindi film heroine. Have such choices been a conscious decision?
Sometimes you think of things that you don’t even understand or realise completely, if that makes sense. Subconsciously, I felt like everyone would relate to these characters, and somewhere a part of me wants to probably experience a journey of such characters because they are so different from who I am. I’m born and brought up with a silver spoon. I’m blessed that way. During my growing up years, my father would think ten times before sending me somewhere in a rickshaw. I would literally fight with me to let me travel in a rickshaw. I’d be like, ‘so what if I’m a famous person’s daughter?’ Probably because I’ve had a protective upbringing somewhere, I feel like I want to play characters, or have journeys in my films which I wouldn’t have in my real life.

And apart from having a protective life, how else was it being Shakti Kapoor’s daughter?
I used to think it’s very cool. I would feel good about it because all the boys would think ten times before acting smart with me. There were very few daring boys who sort of came and proposed to me despite knowing who my father is.

I remember telling you earlier that ‘Aashiqui 2’ was more like your quintessential Hindi cinema debut. But do you think the perception of the audience and the industry towards you has also changed post that? To add to it, you’ve had back-to-back hits...
You’re right! A lot of people felt that ‘Aashiqui 2’ was my first film. In fact, I’m so tired telling people that it’s not my first film that now I just say thank you and smile. Now, I don’t often go through the effort of telling people that I did ‘Teen Patti’ and ‘Luv Ka The End’ during ‘Aashiqui 2’. I wish people remembered those films also, but then ‘Luv Ka The End’ was a smaller budget film, with a smaller reach, and with ‘Aashiqui 2’, the music, story and characters left a mark on people. So, perception wise, I feel that people are offering me more films now. From not being offered any films to actually having films in my kitty feels good. So definitely, that shows there’s a change in how people see me. You somehow just know people who truly respect you and your work. You can see when someone’s genuinely interested in working with you.

So now has the situation reversed? Do you chase work or are you chased for films?
I think if I really want to be a part of a film, I’ll chase it down. I think I’ll make sure I do everything in my power to be a part of a film. I will not have a second thought about calling a producer or director, if I know a film is going to be made or something. That’s actually how ‘Rock On 2’ and ‘Haider’ happened. I got to know from someone that they wanted to meet me, so I said, I’ll call them and say I want to meet them. Eventually, you don’t want to waste time and lose out on a precious film.

With the influx of so much young talent in the industry, all at once, do you believe in healthy competition?
I consider people who I admire as healthy competition. For instance, I am very fond of Parineeti and Alia. Parineeti is such a fantastic actress, and Alia is also so amazing on-screen. And we are also friends so even if there’s competition, it’s nothing more than healthy competition.

Your singing has also been appreciated, so any plans of coming out with a single?
No plan for a single as of now, but it should be fun doing that. Right now though, it’s important to focus on my films, because both ‘Rock On 2’ and ‘Baaghi’ because they’re both going to start in a month’s time. Plus I’ll be singing all the songs in ‘Rock On 2’. So, as of now, there’s no time for a single. In fact, I’ve just finished recording for ‘Bezubaan’ unplugged, I was supposed to do it before the release but we just got tied up with promotions. Now it’s time to switch off from ‘ABCD 2’ and focus on these two films.

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