One-on-one with Arjun Kapoor: I have never done a role that needed my angst

Arjun Kapoor has been doing great lately. Apart from the fact that he has completed five years in the industry, he has got a few great projects to work on too.

However the the actor has taken his own time to open up on screen and break the proverbial ‘shell’. Arjun says that it’s not as easy as it seems. Here’s what he told us next…

Have you discovered something new about yourself lately?

I feel I am the same,  some people  say that I have changed. People who didn’t know me have  gauged me (the change) better. As an actor yes, I have tried to improve and tried to perform better with every movie.  It’s been an enriching experience and I have met a lot of amazing and  talented people in the course of my journey.  This cannot be denied that somewhere down the line, I have sacrificed my personal life to become what I have become today. I have understanding friends and family who  accepted the fact  that  I have taken them for granted these days.  The change in me, I feel, is that I have become very focussed and driven towards my career. The profession of being a Bollywood actor does take a physical and mental toll on you. In fact, it slowly destroys you from within.  It’s a very demanding profession.

Who’s your strength during your lows?

My friends  grumble that I don’t  reveal  anything (secrets) (to them) these days. I am very bad at it (revealing secrets) and generally can’t talk about my innermost feelings. They keep telling me that I will go mad someday if I keep having the same attitude towards life. But if you ask me, I feel its okay. I don’t like burdening others with my problems and hence I have dealt with my highs and lows on my own from a very young age. At times I share  my problems with my sister and dad.  Some people misunderstand me.  They feel I am arrogant or disinterested.  Everyone says I am rude and arrogant. But I am happy the way I am.  

Do you try to bring your angst in your roles?

I have never done a role that needed my angst.  I have done positive films even though some had a dark ending (like Ishqzaade). An actor has to act.  May be when I get a role like that (that needs him to channelise his angst) I will bring my angst into it. It (his loneliness and angst) does have a sub-conscious effect on me but I  have not done that (roles) needed me co-relate with my characters like that.  My mother had cancer when I did Ishaqzaade. But it didn’t affect or change my acting in front of the camera. You have to detach yourself. Maybe some actors can’t do it but I can do it.

What was  your first impression of Kareena and how it has changed now?

She is the same girl even today. She is very chilled out. It looks like she doesn’t know anything that is happening (around her) but let me tell you a secret, she knows everything. When the camera switches on she’s different. She’s a one take artist. She’s achieved a lot but she does not carry that baggage with her. Though she she is not (officially) on social media but let me tell you that she is aware of everything that is happening there.  I pull her leg all the time and she doesn’t complaint.  I basically fool around when she’s there.

Do you feel like leaving your stardom and leading a normal life?

Have I gone crazy that I will do that?   I have no issues of being the ‘somebody’ I have become.  I have made my choices clear before I became an actor.   You have to know that you have made a choice. I have had no thoughts of being normal again.  What I wish is to have a few normal days despite being a star.  I want to have a conversation without having  a photo being clicked. I wish I had that normalcy.  I wish people understand that I need a few moments of my own. That’s all, I don’t wish for much.

What has been an eye opener for you?

You are kept away from everything and you become isolated as an actor. Now is a good time for actors.  The audience are appreciating actors. When I was an assistant I was aware of lot of things.  Men don’t get accepted as heroes easily when they do films like Ishaqzaade where the hero molests  the girl. But today, the audience has changed.  I consider myself lucky.

Do you realise that stardom is not constant?

That is why you have to keep working hard to make sure that everything that you do  gives you a foundation to work on. I believe that your first 10 films decides where you will be in your career.  Either they (the audience) love you or don’t.  I know I am good enough and whatever I have done will sustain me and my career. I have that confidence in myself.

Sonam said you  haven’t seen Neerja?

She has not seen all my films too. She keeps making crazy statements.  She is crazy. I am happy that the film did well and am happy  that she has got her due. She has been simple, sweet and dedicated  and waited for her  opportunities and  now finally  her risks have paid off. I will tell you why I didn’t see Neerja. Few years ago, when I lost my mother, it broke me down. I don’t like to see losing my loved ones. I don’t like seeing  one of my loved one’s passing away on camera.  I have died in three of my films but I get the jitters because I was looking at myself. I can’ see her die on screen.  So I decided not to see the film. Now (that you are telling me) I have decided I will see the film but I still won’t watch the climax. I will watch the film at home so that I  can walk away before the scene starts (where she dies).  I don’t want everybody to see my personal  emotions.  I have seen all her films and even the films that no one else has seen (laughs). These days, she is working with good directors and carrying the films on her shoulders. This is so good.

You have been living on your  own since you started working. How has that experience helped you with your role in Ki & Ka ?

I have lived alone but have  been living with my sister and she takes care of the house.  I don’t have to check in on her as she is amazing at what she does and my Grandmom  and Aunt  have been helping me a lot too.  I just have to  sign the cheques and let her do the duty of taking care of the home.

Can a man be the backbone of every successful relationship? Or you feel, it is the woman who holds the relationship together?

It’s up to the man. I feel that you have to be supportive, understanding and communicate a lot with your partner. There are various reasons when you become the anchor or support of the house. It’s not the physicality it’s the support system that works. You have to build that trust whether she is a homemaker or a working woman. Every relationship is unique.  You have to build on it.  I don’t think anyone can replace a mother. For that matter, you cannot substitute anyone in the house.  A homemaker should enjoy what he or she does you can’t impose on anyone. It has to be from within. A husband has to balance himself. Women are already balancing their home and work.But I think  this (the film) will change the way men think.

What  instructions did Balki give you?

We spoke  about the body language because I have a  big frame. He said the gentleness of the giant and not the giantness of the gentleman. He said you have showcased it in other films.  There were very few notes to follow.  He (the character) has to be childlike with relaxed eyes that are ‘soft’.  The brightness of the eyes make you warmer, he told me. He told me that in the film, the kitchen was my domain. So, I had to learn how to cook.  I had to learn, how to chop, clean and  be comfortable and feel the intenseness of the kitchen.  My kitchen was my office. I had to have no awkwardness of  how to  switch on the gas  and know how to boil the water,handle the utensils  while making tea or coffee. For any homemaker, half of your day is gone in the kitchen and I had to make this look real on screen.

Did you have to come out of your comfort zone while doing Ki and Ka (where he plays a homemaker)?

There is a homemaker within a man too. There are certain abilities that we all have too you know (smiles).  We have grown up in an environment where I have had no domestic help. I had to clean the house myself but now that I have grown up, I don’t have to do it again. When I started off (the shooting of Ki and Ka), I was anxious whether I would be able to pull it off (the role) in the most convincing manner.  I didn’t want the role to be caricaturist.  I wanted him (the role) to be believable.

Do you like experimenting with your roles?

At the beginning of your career you can experiment and find out what gives you happiness and you can find your range. I have followed that thought. This (Ki and Ka) wasn’t  an experiment actually. It is a romantic comedy but with a twist.  I never thought what people would think.  Now I feel that it was a real risk.  I don’t want to do a typical romantic movie where the hot guy chases a pretty girl. Now I feel worried. I hope that I am worrying for nothing.

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