‘Arjun Kapoor’ in conversation with ‘DivyaSolgama’
DivyaSolgama – Firstly, kindly just go through with your character in the film Namaste England
Arjun Kapoor – My character Param is married with the love of his life Jasmeet played by Parieenti Chopra. Now he follows his wife to London where she has gone to gain freedom to follow her dreams. He is actually the man who is travelling to London from India, “legally or illegally”, with a hope in his eyes. He is not going with an agenda to have a better life or make money, but is going for love.
DivyaSolgama – First trailer of Namaste England didn’t receive that much response from the audience as it was expected, but the second one directly hit it along with the songs going fantastic all over. So was there a bit of nervousness with respect to its first-trailer response?
Arjun Kapoor – Not really, because what basically happened was the response from situations. I went Nepal to shoot ‘India’s Most Wanted’, and Vipul sir (director) was badly sick from Dengue and Typhoid. Our timelines were set and we have to put something out because the film was releasing soon. And at that point of time we choose a trailer where we felt it was good enough to excite audience. However, we didn’t really expect from people to react in a bad way or something. I believe the reaction from audience came like the film is more romantic and intense film, but we were hoping a funnier, sweeter, warmer, rom-com and an energetic film as it’s a young love-story. But we understood from the audience perspective, and so thought to give them a surprise element with a twist of me having another wife in the film and what I do in London after landing over there. I always feel like the trailer can give you too much or too little, because it’s very difficult to get that perfect trailer as it’s an art in itself. So we learned from our experience, and there is no harm in giving something extra to make the audience understand that there is more happening in the film. And then the intensity of the music catching on it happened. These both the things happened together – Patola song and new trailer, which gave us a new energy. Sometimes an engine of a train comes in the beginning and sometimes during the end. In our case, it came first at the end and then in the beginning. As long as the excitement of our audience is building, the key part of putting material is out there. Also, sometimes we come out as wrong and audience guides us with the right direction. I am happy that we reacted in a positive way and put out something new rather than just waiting. However, hoping now that we get the results on Friday for the fact that we have tried to do better rather than sitting and accepting things.
DivyaSolgama – Songs in the film are just fantastic, especially Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘TuMeri Main Tera’, in which your expressions of pain and anguish are something extraordinary. So how does that entire process happened?
Arjun Kapoor – Yes, that’s my father’s favourite song in the film. I just tried my best to be as honest as possible for that moment, and so didn’t realize how difficult would be that journey for my character. I did shot-by-shot and tried to show what my character is going through, but when you see it in flow; you realized that people have travelled like refugees in other countries for years and years. They are risking their life while travelling as a migrant, where they might get caught and sent back also. So you can sense that emotion of fear but as he is going for love, there is also certain calmness in his face. The mixture of this happiness and sadness is what I guess connecting with people, such as to find happiness in sadness. The film’s theme is that love can travel any distance, and that is the moment where the lover emerges in the movie because till then he was a married man living with his beloved wife. And that is the journey of love which is why everybody likes the visuals of that because you can find the madness and simplicity of the lover, along with problems like ups-and-downs in our life in it. As a result, you can find the mixture of everything together here.
DivyaSolgama – You are reuniting with Parineeti Chopra in ‘Namaste England’ after about 6-years post ‘Ishaqzaade’ (2012), in which you also made your debut in acting. Also, you are again teaming up with her in ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’. So what change you found in Parineeti from that time till now?
Arjun Kapoor – Our rapport has grown in between of Ishaqzaade, Namaste England and Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar phase. We were always friends and in touch, but there was some kind of nervousness where you think will she be same kind of person on-set or will she be easy to work with me like before. But it was quite easy to figure out in the first two days of our shootthat we can be honest to each other and there’s nothing to worry about. The honesty is most important between two people if you want to create an environment where you can openly speak to each other. If you are just faking in front of each other, then I believe one cannot improve in his/her respective work. And so, our honesty always remained intact with each other. But people do change in certain degree and 6-year is a long time. And what I have seen change in her is something deep-rooted. It’s not like she is now more beautiful, butshe hasthat certain sense of direction in herself at present. During Ishaqzaade, it was just another film for her and thought that if this or nothing works in film industry, then she will move back to London and work over there. She was not properly focused during that time, but now when I meet her, she became a person who values what she has. She values this profession, and wants to do better in it. I believe that one just can’t rest in this profession by thinking that I have achieved enough in my life. I can see a fire now in her that is consistent, and this energy is riding her way to become a mainstream commercial actor. And you need that energy because there are millions of people dying to be in your position, and so you can’t be relaxed and calm. Hence, this is the biggest difference I saw in her now post Ishaqzaade.
DivyaSolgama – You had done different kind of films in your career so far, but it seems like people still associates you with mainstream cinema. So do you think that an actor is being constantly judged on the basis of his/her next film?
Arjun Kapoor – I think my imagery is very heavy, where I resonated very heavily in my first 2-3 films as a mainstream commercial hero. If you look at Ishaqzaade, I didn’t hit anybody but became an action-hero. In fact Parineeti hits me more in the film than I hit her. In ‘Aurangzeb’, I had a violent and volatile role, and Prithviraj has an action-oriented role. People thought Aurangzeb is a regular masala film, but realized it’s denser and heavier after watching it. ‘Gunday’ had a very big impact on people, and ‘Tevar’ was also another big masala commercial film. In addition, ‘2 States’ did commercially well too. So, the commerce part or mainstream masala part of it plugged in more. Hence, people look at my career as Ishaqzaade, Gunday, 2 States, Tevar, Half Girlfriend, and Mubarakan, where in fact the latter two was released back-to-back last year. The last thought comes in everybody’s mind is that I had done AneesBazmee’s comedy and MohitSuri’s romantic movie who are quintessential Hindi filmmakers. But I have also worked with R Balki and HomiAdajania, along with Ali Abbas Zafar before he directed Sultan and Tiger ZindaHai. Our movie audiences are more sensible then YouTube or Twitter audiences. Another thing would like to share that we made ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’ before ‘Namaste London’, but the latter got released first. From my AneesBazmee’sMubarakan, I was coming to Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’, then Vipul Shah’s ‘Namaste London’, and then Rajkumar Gupta’s ‘India’s Most Wanted’. In my head I am playing all sorts of roles in my different films, but I cannot control release date of the same. So the regular audience, who do not hesitate to pay money for watching movie in theatres, notices that as an actor I am doing everything, knows that I am doing different kind of roles, and so eventually will not pigeon-hole me. People who don’t like me will find fault even if I do an entire different kind of movie. Also, you can’t control the fate of certain films. I wished to control Aurangzeb’s fate, which was my second film and a song-less thriller genre. In addition, I also did negative and double-role in that film. It was as well a Yashraj film, and so believed that it will work. I tried my best but can’t control the fate of it. However, I also did an out-an-out English film ‘Finding Fanny’ with an ensemble cast, where at that point of time I didn’t saw any young actor doing a film with an ensemble cast. Further, I also did a film called as ‘Ki &Ka’ in which my wife goes to work and I cook at home. As a result, today or other day, the truth will finally come out, because some people are like slow-burners who win you over slowly and gradually. Hence, maybe I am one of those ones who is not an instant coffee shot.You have to sip me slowly and enjoy the journey. Next year I have three films in line – Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, India’s Most Wanted and Panipat. People will turn around and say I am not doing only romantic movies because they will forget that I have just done back-to-back romantic films. Kuchtoh log kahenge, but I believe that an intelligent and sensible film going audience will not judge you on the basis of your next film.
DivyaSolgama – Speaking about the audience, you had a very vast range of fans – from young ones to even uncles and aunties. So how’s that feeling overall?
Arjun Kapoor – It feels amazing, but if an actor starts getting all the answer in relation to why he/she is working among its audience, then we will for sure mess it up in our career. Sometimes it is good to not know everything. Talking about the same, I did KhatronKeKhiladi and Ki &Ka around the same time, where the older female audience liked my work because of my funnier character in it. In addition, family audience liked Mubarakan a lot, because it’s a film where I am still getting a lot of love from across the world. It’s a family entertainer film where the people, especially the older generation, have seen it over and over again. Further, ‘2 States’ is a film which is being loved by everybody and talks about the problem which still exists in our society. When I did ‘Ki &Ka’, female and couple audience thanked me for making such a great film. I don’t know why and don’t know the reason behind it, but these are middle-class conversations that exist. Conversations like inter-caste marriage, stay-at-home husband, wife can do whatever she wants, brother-sister ego issues in Mubarakan, and so on are middle-class subjects at the end of the day. And so maybe that’s why I have been resonated with that section of audience also.
DivyaSolgama – Lastly, talking about #MeToo movement, we have seen that films are getting punished because of one person’s mistake. So do you feel that it’s right and fair, because a film is always not one person’s work?
Arjun Kapoor – I think that what is happening right now in the film industry is very different from what is being done in the past, where a certain statement or opinion had led to certain consequences. However, here there are actions of certain people that have led to certain consequences. I believe that 99% of these issues will be an absolute truth because these women have shown a lot of courage to at least speak-up against it. And we must respect that, we must listen and pay attention, and we must learn and understand it. We should understand the information first, and then react accordingly. These issues are very much different from somebody having an opinion or statement and then leading to certain consequences. Over here, it’s an internal problem which actually exists all over the world in different sectors of professional field. And we have to find the solution of it, sooner or later. We might go two steps back, but I think our country will go two steps forward with this. Yes, it’s unfortunate because film is always not one person’s work. But because of the mistake done by that one person, few things get change accordingly. But all is not lost, because there are enough sensible people in the film industry who can find a proper solution of this so that a film does not suffer. It is too early for us to react at that bigger level in terms of what will happen to the fate of any film. Right now we need to just keep quiet and let the whole poison come out. It might be few weeks or couple of months, but I am quite certain that something good will only come out from this. We need to show patience and respect as well, because it is not a political issue or India-Pakistan issue where Fawad Khan had to return. This is actually a harsh reality visible in every household, where even in marriages there is domestic violence and abuse. However, we try to bring out some change over such issues through making films. But we have to learn to be patient at this point of time, because it’s about making sure that we create a safe environment for women across the country in every field or profession.
Source : Bollywood Times