Nothing shallow about Shraddha

Hits and misses have been a part of Shraddha Kapoor’s chequered career. However, she has remained earnest in her outings to deliver only the best, writes Rajiv Vijayakar

She made her debut nine years back with Teen Patti, scored as an actress with Luv Ka The End, and hit a high only in 2013 with Aashiqui 2. Shraddha Kapoor, who has completed a decade of shooting for films, has had a chequered career with intermittent hits like Ek Villain, ABCD 2 and Baaghi interspersed with several flops and a couple of disasters like Half Girlfriend and OK Jaanu.

Last year, too, ended on a mixed note with her playing the titular role in her super-hit Stree and then coming a cropper with Batti Gul Meter Chalu. Shraddha looks at the future with optimism and a decision to do diverse films and something new each time. “In that sense, I never felt like an industry kid but like an outsider,” she says. “Even my first two films were unconventional, like some of my later films.” And just like Stree and Batti Gul… released within three weeks of each other, she goes even better with exactly a week’s gap between the just-released Saaho and the September 6 release of Chhichhore. And this after a decision between the makers not to clash — because, initially, both films were geared to
release on August 30. “We actors really cannot plan these things,” she says with a smile. “Ideally, I would like bigger gaps between two movies.”

What works

Shraddha, however, looks back on her journey with pride, and feels that it is the combination of her good and bad films and her hits and flops that have made her what she is today. “I am proud of my journey every step of the way. Different things work for different people,” she explains. “I have always felt like doing something different, whether it is Ek Villain, Haider or Haseena Parkar. I know that every Friday is merciless, where weeks and months of hard work on the part of a film’s team can be judged and sometimes written off by the audience.” This is where the actor welcomed two “totally different films and characters” in Saaho and Chhichhore. “I was very excited that I was offered a multi-lingual high-octane action film, that too with Prabhas, who is so cool. Chhichhore, on the other hand, is a very intimate slice-of-life film and working with Nitesh Tiwari was a complete joy.” Saaho, however, has opened to mixed reviews from both the critics and the audience.

Having already done action in Baaghi, how was it different in Saaho? She says that there was nothing really demanding. “People ask me if I suffered injuries on the sets. But I was injured more on the sets of Street Dancer 3D. And during Baaghi, I remember shooting for the song Chham chham chham on a very rough railway platform that made my feet bleed so much. My director advised me to wear shoes, but somehow the impact would have been diluted, so I did it barefoot.”

Shraddha cannot still turn her neck freely from the injuries she incurred on the sets of Street Dancer 3D. “The few minor injuries during Saaho were nothing compared to the falls I had here,” she reveals. So what was the most challenging part of Saaho? “Believe me, it was the second shot and whether I could retain the same emotion and effect, because every scene in Saaho was shot twice, once in Telugu and once in Hindi.”
Shraddha never had a scene with Jackie Shroff, Baaghi co-star Tiger’s father, in Saaho. Has she ever interacted with him on sets? “I barely met him, but I still remember being invited with my brother Siddhant for Tiger’s or his sister Krishna’s birthday parties,” she recalls.

“I remember Jackie uncle being very, very kind.” Would she love to do a full-fledged role with her father Shakti Kapoor? “Of course, though we did come together in my first film Teen Patti for a bit. He had a cameo in it.”

A still from Chhichhore
A still from Chhichhore

Substantial roles

Shraddha is happy that, in general, stronger parts are being written for women now. Even in “out-and-out commercial films that everyone wants to watch,” she feels that women are no longer just decorative figurines. “I have strong and layered characters in both films, and I got attracted to them because of that,” she maintains. The actress will be reuniting with producer Sajid Nadiadwala after the success of Baaghi in both Chhichhore and Baaghi 3. The former film sees her in two different looks from a college student to middle-age. Her short, curly-haired college girl look and the saree-clad, long-haired woman we see later have both created a buzz. But more than that, Shraddha is happy and excited about working with a director as skilled and rooted as Nitesh Tiwari, with his track-record of Chillar Party, Bhoothnath Returns and Dangal.

Said Shraddha, “Working with Nitesh-sir has been one of the most amazing experiences. The way we got into the film with the kind of prep that we did was incredible. They — Sushant Singh Rajput, Varun Sharma and the entire team — were so prepared and so into the script!”

The actress recalls that the director, as a person, is known to always stand up for what is right. “This is something he brought into the films as well, to his script, actors and others in the team,” she reveals. The last two years have been hectic for Shraddha. “I have been shooting and shooting and barely had a few days off last December. Can you imagine, I am a part of the film industry and have been unable to watch movies? I just started watching Game Of Thrones, that too after it is over.”

Shraddha plans to relax a bit now. Having left the Saina Nehwal biopic she had been signed for, she is going to soon start prepping for Baaghi 3. And she looks forward to reuniting with Tiger Shroff.

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