Free Press Journal

Lighting Up!


From her love for kaju katli to dressing up for Diwali, SHAANDAAR debutante SANAH KAPUR chats about all things that make her happy, with PRATISHTHA MALHOTRA.

Festive Warmth

Watching movies definitely lightens up any kind of darkness in my life. If I am in a dark space in my life, I put on a film and watch it, and it brightens my mood instantly. I think this is one of the reasons why I decided to become an actor as well. We have a very small family and it is just the five of us. We do a little pooja, light a diya. Of course we have this whole Diwali pre-pep which includes all the gifting to family and friends. So my mom and I are always running around going crazy over putting unique things together. Everyone wants to do something different every year so we do that. Since the past few years I have been celebrating Diwali with my friends. We have some family friends, so Mom and Dad go meet the parents and we kids are together and do the whole dressing up scene. I mean, that is the one day in the year when I get to wear a sari which is very exciting for me as I love saris. We don’t really play cards because we try to stay away from gambling but yeah, Monopoly and Pictionary.

Diwali, for me, is such a mixture of childhood and adulthood because the sari brings out that adult in me as after you put on a sari you have to be a particular way…

I love that during Diwali, everyone puts on lights and everyone looks so beautiful. I love the glow that Diwali brings. Also if you must have noticed, there is a kind of brotherhood that happens around the festival. Everyone just mingles with each other. You meet people you haven’t in a long time, you get to spend time. I also like the idea of sending gifts to each other and sharing that. More than anything, it is just remembering people. It is like, we don’t see each other but I still have you in my life. I was never a cracker person; I still am not. I still don’t know how to light a cracker but the phuljharis – as long as other people are holding it! – look really pretty (Laughs)…And the sweeeeeeets! Till last year, the main thing about Diwali was the sweets that you get to have – kaju katli, barfi, peda… I love all of that but it is not going to happen this year for me for sure! (Giggles)

For us, Dassera was always bigger than Diwali because since we were kids, my Dad used to make Ravan. We could never go and watch Ramleela because my parents were always known so we used to miss out on that terribly. So when I was like, three or so, my dad started making a Ravan. It started off with a tiny Ravan at home with matchsticks and eventually recently he made a Ravan which was 6 feet tall! We burn it on the road right in front of my house. That is such a family experience for me because all of us come together to make this Ravan. Year before last, my friends and I did it as Dad was busy. It is cool in the sense that it is also a carpentry project that everyone comes together to do and I am very excited about the fact that my first film released on Dassera as this festival always meant something to me.

Fireworks With Shaandaar

SHAANDAAR came with this epic phone call. I was chilling at a friend’s house and I get a phone call from this unknown number. It turned out to be Mukesh Chabbra sir’s office and they asked me to come in for an audition. I had never sent any pictures nor had I met them so I had no idea about the whole drill. But then I was like, why not? I wasn’t planning to get into the industry yet as I wanted to take another year to groom myself and get completely ready. I auditioned without expecting a call from anyone but they did call back saying that Vikas (Bahl) sir has really liked me work. He had no idea that I was Pankaj (Kapur) sir’s daughter and Shahid (Kapoor)’s sister when he selected my work. When he met me for the first time, is when he got to know that I was related to the cast of his film (laughs)!

The worst thing about the film was definitely my wedding outfit. First of all, it was like a mermaid’s outfit and all clothes were created to make me look bigger as that was the whole point. I could barely move my legs as these shaadi outfits are really heavy and yes, it has a trail – a really long trail! The whole outfit would definitely be 30 kg for sure. Throughout that time I couldn’t move without a costume person with me. If I was sitting, it was impossible for me to get up on my own (Laughs)!

In the film, Alia and I are sisters and she is Dad’s favourite daughter which was very disturbing for me (Laughs). They would do a cute scene together and I was so jealous, the minute they would stop shooting, I would go and stand next to my dad! I am very possessive about my father.