Bollywood’s youngest member of the `100 crore club takes stock of the numbers game and experiments like Finding Fanny. By Mrinalini Sundar
Arjun Kapoor is often unfairly labelled as the new angry young man in the industry. Many attribute this to his hooded eyes and seemingly aloof demeanour, but clearly, there is no fury brewing inside Bollywood’s latest experimental hero. While off screen, this industry insider is fun loving and affable. He is a busy man today with the promotion of his latest venture — Finding Fanny. While he is also working towards the completion of his next offering, Tevar, there are reports that Kapoor will star in the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Revolution 2020. He declines to comment on the latter till the producers make an official announcement. Having joined the industry two years ago, Kapoor has seen the highs and lows of the film industry and has come a full circle — starting off as an assistant director for the movie, Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) with Karan Johar, the actor played the lead in a movie (2 States) from the same banner, this year.
“Krish Malhotra is one on-screen character I can completely relate to. I can understand the different emotions of that boy — he is selfish in his own way, indulgent, and very emotional,” begins the actor, 29, who is four films old. As for his role as Savio Da Gama in Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny, the quirky movie everyone is talking about, the actor says he was cut off from the world for the 45-day shoot. “I was working non-stop, from Gunday to 2 States. The workload was really getting to me. Acting for 45 days in isolation was brilliant because I was completely switched off from the world and we were shooting in a quaint village in Goa. The sets were outlandish and away from the regular chaos, so I got a lot of time to spend with myself. Staying away from the film world helped me a lot,” says the Mumbaikar. From the off screen pictures of the actor with the cast and crew of Finding Fanny, it is evident they had a blast. About the journey of a man in search of his long-lost love, and how four dysfunctional characters join him on this journey, makes the story. The other characters in the movie are played by Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Pankaj Kapur and Deepika Padukone. “I am paired up with Deepika for the first time and she is fantastic. She is now a superlative actor. Her transformation from an actor to a star is brilliant. It was great working with her and we are very close friends too,” he shares. Gearing up to promote Tevar as well, a remake of the Telugu Okadu and Tamil Gilli, he allows, “It is a complete masala outing. Even though the movie was made ten years ago in a village set up, it was so realistic. There is a lot of heroism and action.” In fact, the actor watched 20 odd remakes to get the feel of masala remakes, the latest being the Arya and Madhavan-starrer, Vettai.
No room for numbers
Admitting that he can be impulsive while choosing his films — think Ishaqzaade and Aurangzeb, followed by 2 States and Gunday — Kapoor reveals that he is enjoying the journey. “I do not plan and plot my actions. I believe you should keep surprising the audience. It has been a fantastic journey from the time I was trying to find my feet in the industry, to getting so much work, so much of love and affection from the industry,” he says. As for the industry’s obsession over the `100 crore target, the actor shrugs away numbers as subjective. “Movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag did not make `100 crores, while a Rowdy Rathore made `100 crores. The success of a film depends on a lot of things. A movie that has made just `25 crores might be more credible. I can cite several examples like Chak De that just had a 50 to 60 per cent profit margin,” he says. Ready for criticism
It is interesting to watch the actor come into his own after the initial struggle. Pictures of him in his earlier overweight avatar continue to surface on the internet. In fact, the actor has been criticised for his sluggish body language and dialogue delivery. Reacting to critics, he says, “You are constantly judged for your work, for your surname, some like your film and some don’t and those who don’t have a reason not to like it. As far as work is concerned, I want to give my 100 per cent.” The actor is often his own worst critic. “When you look back, you often feel this shot could have been done much better. This is a constantly evolving medium and I have evolved as an actor. But perhaps the audience liked me for what I was in Ishaqzaade. There are always two sides to a coin,” he says. Controversies and being written about in the gossip pages comes with the job and Kapoor has finally come to the realisation that not much affects him. Waking up to find out that he is on the front page of a newspaper for all the wrong reasons, is no longer a big deal for this fitness enthusiast. “When you are in a profession of this sort, you are public property. There will be a lot of talk about each and every move but as long as it doesn’t hit the person below the belt, it is fine,” he chuckles.
Enough has been said about the bromance between Kapoor and co-star Ranveer Singh. So are they best friends? “I think there are no best friends in the industry. I do not understand that term. I just have a huge set of friends. Yes, Ranveer and I share a fantastic equation,” Kapoor establishes. While on the topic, ask him hypothetically if he would sign up for a condom promotion like his friend and he says, “I think Ranveer is doing a bloody fantastic job. I don’t want to dig into someone else’s cake,” he says, adding, “Most of the speculation about stars is all hearsay. I think, to each his own. All of us lead a normal life and know how to co-exist in the industry.” Often spotted with Singh as they party together, the actor is also seen hanging out with fellow actor Varun Dhawan at least once a month, when they are at ease talking movies. Preferring the simple life, Kapoor’s methods to unwind include catching up with friends, watching a movie or just curling up in bed in front of the telly. “I have a huge cabinet with my favourite DVDs. I also love television shows like House of Cards, News Room and Modern Family,” he shares. And when he’s not unwinding, you will find him working out. “I work out mostly after my pack up,” says the actor who reportedly shed 50 kilos under actor Salman Khan’s supervision in the past four years.
While the media has often speculated over his initial strained relationship with his father, Boney Kapoor, the actor is now working on a movie (Tevar) produced by his father and his uncle Sanjay Kapoor. But his inspiration will always be Salman Khan, who persuaded him to get into acting. Uncle Anil Kapoor comes a close second. “What he has achieved is because of pure dedication. I still remember the time when I would be watching the video cassette of his movies like Ram Lakhan and Mr India, while he would be sitting at the dining table, having rajma chawal,” recalls the actor, who also makes time for promoting brands like Philips India, Flying Machine and recently, the global initiative, Earth Hour. And in addition to doing his bit for the environment, Kapoor would love to do something for the country. “I would love to be part of a patriotic film someday,” he concludes.