Shining bright

Shining bright

Post her ‘Aashiqui 2’ success, actress Shraddha Kapoor has become the much-talked-about face in Bollywood. RAjiv Vijayakar talks to the bubbly young actress about her latest release ‘Ek Villain’ and more...

The petite actress is showing muscle — literally. Showing off her biceps and toned arms, Shraddha Kapoor says, “I have this mad trainer who is looking after me, and I have been asked to put on muscle for my role in ABCD 2. I am supposed to eat right,” she grins.

The actress goes on to explain, “There is this Punjabi side to me from my father Shakti Kapoor’s side — that I love to eat. But from my mother Shivangi Kolhapure’s side I am slim and can consume anything without putting on weight. But this time, they need me to look chiselled.”

However, Shraddha declares that in most matters she is a “complete Maharashtrian mulgi (girl)”. “I have my mother’s grace and composure and have been brought up as a Marathi girl,” she laughs, when we tell her that Punjabi co-star Sidharth Malhotra does not consider her a Punjabi at all. 

Stepping stones

The leading lady of Ek Villain adds the final Marathi touch to her personality by stating, “From my Nana down, everyone in my family from mommy’s side sings.” Her mother is closely related to Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, and Shraddha is also the niece of actor-singer Padmini Kolhapure. “I have trained in light classical music,” she shares, when asked about singing a version of the hit song Galliyan in the film, apart from vocally contributing to the film’s background score.

“I had asked (director) Mohit Suri to let me sing even in Aashiqui 2, but it was during Ek Villain that he called me one evening and said that I had to record between 8 and 10 am the next morning.” Shraddha loved her studio experience and “had a blast with Mohit and composer Ankit Tiwari.” Later, Mohit even summoned her for some vocals during the background score’s recording by Raju Singh. “I loved that experience too,” she trills.But the biggest high for her was that Ankit decided to keep her voice “raw and untreated”, that is, not use software to enhance it. “I have to thank him for that,” she exults.

Cheerful, bubbly and still down-to-earth despite the Friday that changed her life last year (when Aashiqui 2 was released), Shraddha diplomatically does not reveal whether she is the real villain in the film, as surmised by a section of the media. “I play Ayesha, a lively, talkative girl, who you could say is like a rainbow between the two villains. She loves jokes, wants to make others laugh all the time, and even laughs at herself. She’s free-spirited.” About the “villain” part, she quips, “There is a twist in the story that you will have to go and watch.” 

We return to her hero Sidharth and her experience with him as well as the ‘other’ villain, Riteish Deshmukh. How were they as co-stars? “At first impression, Sidharth seemed shy,” she says seriously. “But he opened up from the time we began doing workshops, and now, we get along well. Sidharth has a calming energy and a sense of humour and he displays both at the right times. He’s also disciplined.”

As for Riteish, there was the Marathi angle again. “We got along well and would always converse in our mother tongue,” she recalls with a laugh. 

While we do not see any change in Shraddha after a blockbuster hit like Aashiqui 2 (which came after two flops, Teen Patti (2010) and Luv Ka The End (2011), in which she first made a mark), what is her own assessment of success and its effects on her? “That one Friday has changed my life completely,” says the bubbly actress. “It is difficult now even to go shopping. But nothing’s changed at home. Yes, mom keeps telling me to buy new night-suits and T-shirts as those I use are either faded or frayed,” she giggles.

The actress goes on, “But speaking for myself, I think that there’s a change in my persona, but in a good way. I now expect a lot from myself, just like people I know do so from me. After all, I have achieved my childhood dream of acting.”

Dreaming big

Regarding her childhood dream of acting (when she would dress up and act in her room), what was her reaction to dad Shakti Kapoor being beaten up by heroes on screen? “Oh, I was just too fascinated by movies,” she replies. “I found it cool whether dad was beating someone or was being beaten up. Dad would even come home wearing those false moustaches and I would pull them and he would pretend that it hurt. By the way, dad’s sense of humour was much superior to the comedy they made him do on-screen. Mom just acted in a small role in a film called Bhula Na Dena and had sung in several films, mostly as a child.”

But, what about the news that Shraddha has declared that she will never work with big stars and will only co-star with young actors? Her eyes wide, she says, “Let me tell you that it was some mad journalist who wrote that, and an equally mad person who actually published it. Seriously, they don’t seem to have any kaam-dhanda. How can I ever say such a thing? And I am working with Shahid Kapoor in my October 2014 release, Haidar. Yes, I had to opt out of Gabbar with Akshay Kumar-sir, but that is because I could not manage the dates.”

We ask about the bonhomie that exists between all the young stars like Sidharth and her as well as Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra, Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor. Nodding her head in agreement, she says, “Yes, we always stick to each other whenever we meet at parties. We are all good friends and take the trouble of calling up to congratulate each other whenever one of us does good work and gets a hit.”

She goes on, “We are all contributing to the change happening in the industry, and I am so happy that I am born in these times and not in the past era when two actors or actresses were more of rivals than co-stars. We are happy about each other’s success, because we all have different things to offer.”

Of course, here her ABCD 2 co-star Varun Dhawan and Shraddha have the added advantage of knowing each other since childhood. “My father worked a lot with Varun’s father, David uncle,” she explains.

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