Made for movies

Made for movies

Candid talk

Made for movies
After being part of big banner films last year, Bollywood's fashion diva Sonam Kapoor is starring in Yash Raj's next 'Bewakoofiyaan'.
Rajiv Vijayakar speaks to the actress about her choice of roles and more...

She’s got the hits finally — in her last two releases Raanjhanaa and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (both in 2013). For someone who looked down her dainty nose at Hindi cinema in her formative years, she started out by assisting one of the high-priests of commercial films – Sanjay Leela Bhansali — and then made her acting debut under his direction in Saawariya (2007).

It was a 180 degree flip, when her pedigree as the daughter of Anil Kapoor and a part of the second Kapoor clan (headed by the late producer Surinder Kapoor, her grandfather, and a relative of the Kapoor family) seemed to douse the rebel in her.

In the many films she has done since, Sonam Kapoor only had a moderate success in I Hate Luv Storys. Films like Delhi-6, her home production Aisha, Thank You, Mausam and Players all bombed. However, the names behind most of the films were respectable, as Sonam was choosing her films with due care — the list included banners like Dharma Productions and directors like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anees Bazmee and Abbas-Mustan.

Movie graphEven the co-stars ranged from Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor (both in her debut film) to Dhanush, Farhan Akhtar and now Ayushmann Khurrana in her latest film, Bewakoofiyaan, produced by Yash Raj Films.

We start off by enquiring how she feels to have a hit tag finally associated with her? “A hit is always nice to have, but for me, nothing changes after either a hit or a flop. My approach to my career does not change and I will always do only those films and roles that excite me,” is her intense reply.

Sonam would rather explore different characters than merely be a part of successful films. “It’s great if directors see me doing diverse roles, which I feel is more important than getting hits. If someone can visualise me as Milkha Singh’s girlfriend in the 1950s in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a ‘90s girl in Raanjhanaa and a today banker in Bewakoofiyaan, then I have reached somewhere.”

Her co-star Ayushmann has praised her to the skies and even said that her role in Bewakoofiyaan is similar to her real-life persona. “It’s sweet of him to praise me,” she trills. “But every character I have played has a little bit of me, because an actor like me can only draw from my own reservoir and experience. Whatever I do on screen is from within, so I often feel unwell while going deep into the characters I play,” she claims.

She goes on, “I can never cry with glycerine or be angry without feeling the anger. I guess I am not experienced enough to come out with emotions I do not feel.”Sonam does accept, though, that her character has similarities to her. “Like me, Mayera is artistic, creative and free-spirited and thinks that love makes the world go round. She is ambitious and modern, yet believes a lot in traditional values.”

What does she think of Women’s Day (we interact on the same day)? “Honestly, I am not big on Women’s Day,” she admits. “But I am a feminist at heart and I love it that women are making an impact in every area of films.”

And what is her take on women directors as a breed different from the male? Farah Khan, we mention, had once opined that very few women directors’ films succeed because they are too conscious of their gender and end up being different for the sake of it.

“Bewakoofiyaan is my second film with a female director. I do not think that Nupur Asthana, or my earlier director Rajashree Ojha in Aisha, were any different in the way they worked from the men,” she replies. “Yes, I think that women directors’ films do have a higher emotional quotient and aesthetically look better.

And they look at female characters differently, maybe from a slightly elevated level. This time, even a lot of the crew was women and their energies made me comfortable.”

Room for improvementComing to chemistry on screen with such a wide variety of co-stars — which also includes Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor and Abhay Deol — Sonam ridicules the popular notion that it is about two people.

“It’s always the script that actually creates the chemistry. Why did Shahid and Kareena have a crackling chemistry only in Jab We Met? Even in my case, see how well Abhishek and I jelled together in Delhi-6. There was nothing of that sort in Players, right?”

Sonam is a shade put off when we mention the recent hype over her wearing a bikini in Bewakoofiyaan and her father Anil Kapoor’s statement that because of this the film would get “a better opening”.

In a strict tone, she says, “My father was just trying to make light of the situation because the question actually made him uncomfortable. No father should have been asked such a tacky question, right? And now the issue has been given so much importance and become tackier.”

Nevertheless, Sonam feels that she personally would not be upset by similar crass queries. “I think that it is a part of my job to answer even such questions.” she says firmly.

About inheriting her parents’ traits, she explains, “It is papa’s genetics, I guess, that I can look much younger than I am, like when I was accepted as a schoolgirl in pigtails in Raanjhanaa. But that apart, I have inherited only my smile from my dad.

The rest is all mom. But apart from my genes, I like to be professional and honest to my work, and that’s what I have picked up from my father after his long innings in the industry. His career graph has been a fascinating, successful journey of genuine talent.”

When will she work with her father on screen? Will it be in the next season of his television series 24 or in a film? “It will depend on how a script develops in both cases,” she says simply.

“In any case, personally, papa’s a super father, but in our workspace, I guess he’s a bit harder on me because he expects a lot from me.”

And when will love enter her real life? Sonam laughs and replies, “My love life has been unsuccessful, even though I have the capacity to fall in love over and over again. In Bewakoofiyaan, there is a scene in which I introduce my boyfriend to my father. In real life, I have only introduced boys who are friends to my papa, not boyfriends!”