Young & vivacious

Young & vivacious

hit pair

Young & vivacious

They had a common breakthrough blockbuster in 2013 — Aashiqui 2. And now Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur are joining forces again in OK Jaanu, the remake of the Tamil film OK Kanmani.

The chemistry between the two off-screen is remarkable, as they also are a mutual admiration society. Shraddha is the daughter of Shakti Kapoor and singer Shivangi Kolhapure, while Aditya is the brother of big-name producer Siddharth Roy Kapur and stage and screen actor Kunaal Roy Kapur.

Their career graphs have run on parallel ground in the timeframe. Though Aditya made his debut with a small role as a musician in London Dreams, his first film in the lead was the 2010 Action Replayy, which bombed. Shraddha began her journey as a part of the ensemble cast of the same year’s flop Teen Patti.

We begin the conversation when Shraddha admits she is feeling very nervous and excited on the eve of the release. Is it, we ask, because of the fate of her last releases, Rock On 2 and Haider, the latter branded as a ‘hit’ till director Vishal Bhardwaj recently admitted in public to the contrary?

“Not really! I am always nervous before any release,” she chirps, and then points out an interesting parallel about their common breakthrough film Aashiqui 2. “My first two films (Teen Patti and Love Ka The End) had flopped then, so had Aditya’s Action Replayy and Guzaarish, and look, now both of us have gone through flops again. Aditya had Fitoor last year.”

Life after flops

How much does a flop hurt? And how much does it motivate? Aditya gets in first: “Oh, I remain in denial till Monday,” he laughs. “But strange things can happen, you know. Films do pick up on the third or fourth day. Yes, failure hurts, and you do go into introspection about what went wrong. But films are about so many processes coming together and no film works or fails for one reason, and so you do not find the answers each time.”

He adds, with Shraddha nodding throughout, “But you don’t beat yourself up, though a flop can affect your self-belief. This is a kind of insecure profession where your next job depends on someone having to call you to be employed. Right now, OK Jaanu is out of our hands. You have to just see if you have done your best or gone wrong.”

Shraddha adds, “Aditya has expressed it so beautifully and echoed my thoughts. You do go into a spiral of thoughts. ‘Am I making the right choices?’ you ask yourself and than a part of you says that it’s okay, don’t give up hope. When my first films did not work, I really did not take it well. But today, I am stronger because I learnt something from them.”

A question especially for Aditya: having acted brilliantly in Action Replayy, Guzaarish and Daawat-E-Ishq, apart from his hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in a supporting role, why is he not in the Ranveer Singh-Varun Dhawan league yet? Can this be explained just by the flopping of those films? And Shraddha decides to answer this question.

“The biggest superstar — Amitabh Bachchan — had a string of flops initially. But today, we still like those films because he was so good in them,” she says with vehemence. “You yourself say that he is a brilliant actor. Many more echo that, and so do I. You just have to be good to be remembered. Hits and flops happen.”

Grins Aditya, “I had flops, then I got two hit films within a month, and then got flops again. It’s tough, but you have to hang in there and believe in yourself. Wisdom is a big word, but I think I am wise enough to realise that patience is key when your time has not come.”

After Aashiqui 2, they must have got offers together. “Oh, we did, we did!” says Shraddha, looking at Aditya before she goes on. “But there was nothing we felt that we should accept in terms of roles and scripts.” Adds her co-star: “It’s a natural advantage to get a hit pair. But OK Jaanu is the first film that happened to satisfy both of us. Shaad Ali, our director, is not the kind to be influenced by our hit status. He kept telling us how much he saw us in those roles. Our pairing was only a bonus.”

So what was that something that set the new film apart? Especially for Shraddha, who has done so many varied roles in Ek Villain, ABCD 2, Haider et al? Thoughtfully, Shraddha answers, “I think that largely, the banter in the film is very real and beautiful. If you have watched OK Kanmani, in which I think the lead pair was really, really good, you will know that everyone can relate to it. Those kind of conversations and sequences are something I have never done before.”

Adds Aditya, “I, too, have never done such a light leading role. When we worked on Aashiqui 2, Shraddha and I shared a great camaraderie. Our sense of humour also match very well. Here, it was a natural and very different kind of love story where the director told us not to think too much. And what was appealing was that we were not repeating ourselves.”

In a not-too-old remake, comparisons are bound to be there. How did they approach their roles vis-à-vis the original actors? Says Shraddha, “We could not imitate them. It had to be my interpretation of the character and it was up to Shaad-sir to mould me.” Aditya agrees, “In such a genre, you have to get in your own persona. It would be futile to recreate someone else’s magic. We had to bring in our charm and create chemistry afresh, while retaining the essence of the story.”

Did Shraddha not want to sing for this film, as in her last three movies? “I did,” she admits. “But there was really no scope. There was this classical song that needs the singer to be really trained in classical music. Of late, I have not been able to give much time for my riyaaz. But did you know that Aditya composes his own songs and plays the guitar?” Her co-star grins modestly and adds, “Yes, but I would rather have A R Rahman in charge of our songs.”

The science behind it

And how do they go about choosing the films they do? “Maybe I am too choosy,” admits Aditya. “Maybe I should jump into films that I think are 60% there, because I am happiest when on the sets. But that’s how it’s been till now.”

Shraddha just says that the feeling about the film should be right. “Because of my track record, people tell me that I have a good script sense. But that’s not the case. If I like a story and feel that I will be happy each morning devoting seven or 17 hours daily for a movie for the next 40 or 60 days, then I do it. There is no logic as such.”

What next? Shraddha confesses to being very nervous about her first grey role in Apoorva Lakhia’s Haseena as Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. Aditya asks her sternly, “Have you learnt your dialogues?” before laughing and expressing his opinion that the film would be a liberating experience for the actor in her. “I would love to do action films and a role in which I shoot the baddies dead,” he declares.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox