Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sonam Kapoor

“For me, the most gratifying is not the accolades that come with good work; it’s the work itself”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(From the November 14, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)

Last week, when we met Sonam Kapoor, we caught up with her in a jiffy, right before she was off to Delhi. This time around though, our tête-à-tête was a lot more candid and in-depth, in her vanity van at Mehboob studio, after a long day promotional activities. Dressed in an ethnic, red-and-green Gaurang Shah outfit, she was in her graceful ‘Maithili’ avatar from her latest release. Presenting part two of our interview with the actress where she discusses the intricacies of her craft, and defies the popular notion of being a star kid…

In-between movies, why do you go into your shell, slightly away from the media sometimes?
I am not great at PR. I am too forthright and people take it in the wrong way. My PR is instructed that there should be no negative story to be put out about anyone, or there should be no stories about me that aren’t real. I don’t think it’s necessary because fortunately for me I am in the news most times for some reason. I do covers or photoshoots because I enjoy it. Also, I am on social media so people just pick that up as well. But I have to cut off from the media when I’m shooting.

Is that also because you’re always doing workshops before every film?
Yes, my process for each film is quite similar. I do a lot of workshops, I sit with an acting coach, I memorise everything. Anything you want to be good at, is difficult. I sit with the director, do back-stories, my script is filled with post-its and notes, so yes there’s a lot of hard work. But people don’t realise the hard work that goes in. Even during ‘Raanjhanaa’, people thought it must be easy for me. But it’s never really easy.

Do you ever think about the perception that the audience has about you?
I think they start believing I’m my character. This happened after ‘Aisha’. They thought I am that character and it wasn’t true. I am nothing like her. I don’t speak like her, I don’t dress like her, my life isn’t about getting married. People think I’m spending my dad’s money and that’s not true. I have never actually done that. Then I did ‘Khoobsurat’ and people started thinking that I’m Mili. Despite some of my good performances like ‘Saawariya’, ‘Delhi 6’, ‘I Hate Luv Storys’, people didn’t really remember, most of my roles, but with ‘Raanjhaana’, things started changing.  When I play really simple roles without any make-up or without too much happening people think that she can act. So, this is the misconceived notion of it. But strangely, I thought that would happen with ‘Khoobsurat’ where people would think she’s playing herself but they loved it. So, eventually, I realised that I have to find a balance because – there’s a certain persona I have, off-screen, and then there’s a certain way where people like me on-screen. My directors see my as this simple girl. It’s very strange, but the media perception, the industry perception and the public perception, it’s all very different about me.

Sometimes, does it bother that despite putting in so much effort in each film, your fashion sense is more of a talking point than your performances?
What do you do, it’s the nature of the industry? One thing is very clear with everyone is that I’m very straight-forward. So they might have all these ideas about who I am and what I am, but then it is about being yourself. Maybe it’s my own fault, because I love dressing up, going out, having a good time, I’m very friendly with the media. They’re not negative about me at all. And what can they even talk about? I don’t even open up about my personal life, so they talk about my fashion. There’s nothing controversial that is happening in my life. All that has been spoken about me, apart from my films is my fashion. So, both have got equal weightage and sometimes fashion has got a better weightage because some of my films didn’t do well.

Which has been the most fulfilling role so far?
‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ has been the most happy time of my life. But ‘Neerja Bhanot’ has been the most fulfilling and creatively satisfying. Eventhough it was just for 30 days, I had to push myself really hard for it. At this point, I can only hope people think it’s effortless. I think for me, my job is done when I finish a film. I had a couple of kids coming to take pictures with me today and they called me Aisha. Sometimes people call me Mili or Masakkali. So when that happens, I feel so good. I feel I did my job well. When people see me as my character as opposed to Sonam, I feel good.

That must be the most gratifying…
Yes, but, right now, I’ve realised that for me, the most gratifying is not the accolades that come with good work but it’s the work itself. Once I finish one film, I want to go back to doing another. Promotion is the most stressful part of it. I hate it. For me, all this is lovely, but being on set is the happiest time – just working, saying my lines, creating a chemistry with my all my co-actors, having some sort of give and take. I love that. The promotional bit is something I don’t understand. But my dad used to always say that, ‘don’t think about what is happening, or going to happen. Just live in the present.’ So, I follow that. And Salim uncle said something very nice to Salman that he was talking about recently. He said that, ‘For 25 years there was this man who was on stage and he had to say one line -can I have a cup of tea? Everyone used to laugh at this line. One day everyone stopped laughing, so the actor asks his director that why is it that people have stopped laughing. He said, because now you’re waiting for the laughter, you’re not actually asking for a cup of tea.’

You mean the focus can shift sometimes?
Not just sometimes, but always. So I realise that if I would always think about people’s reaction then I wouldn’t have made the choices I made. As soon as I started making those decisions to just do good work, my life started changing, because, I wasn’t waiting for people to appreciate me. Appreciation starts coming on its own. People will write about you or talk about you when there’s something to talk about. So the idea is to let it happen organically.

How have you managed to carve your own path despite the popular notion that you’re a star-kid and everything just fell into your lap?
It’s true that things come easy for us. But I had to audition, even for my first film. The only benefit of being a star-kid is that people respect your father and they will not misbehave with you or take you for granted. Otherwise this is movie-business, it’s all about money. If your name is on the marquee, you have to make sure you get the audience in, otherwise nobody is going to give you the job. Their money is riding on you. They are not going to put money in someone else’s child. All the producers or film-makers I’ve worked with, have never worked with my father.

So does the criticism, or the social media hullabaloo…ever bog you down?
I’m just a happy person. I get stressed out and hyper, but I don’t get low. I’m very positive, I always look at the glass as half full as opposed to half empty. It’s always better that way. Whether my films work, don’t work, whether my relationships work, don’t work; whether my life is working or not – be it any of those things, it’s so important to be positive and know that whatever happens, happens for a good reason. And if you’re a good person, you know what you’re doing is right, you can sleep well at night, nothing can bog you down. I don’t think I’ve done anything like that, because I’ve always tried my best.

1 comment: