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Actress Shraddha Kapoor talks to Nikita Wadhdawn about her camaraderie with co-stars, her film on Saina Nehwal and how she breaks her girl-next-door image.

She didn’t have a starry debut. Nobody noticed when Shraddha Kapoor entered the film industry in 2011, but she made heads turn with Aashiqui 2 and after that there’s no turning back. She has become one of the most bankable actresses in the new generation of stars, competition from peers like Alia Bhatt and Parineeti Chopra notwithstanding. While she talks about her success and next projects, the girl-next-door actress doesn’t forget to thank her stars and failure too. Excerpts from the interview…

How would you define your character in the film?
I had to be more glamorous for this character as in real life I am very tomboyish. Riya Somani comes from affluent background, is also one of the most popular girls in the college, every guy wants to be with her. Everyone feels that she is so lucky that she has everything, but in reality she is not happy. She is looking for something that will give her happiness. She gets joys in simple things like getting drenched in the rain. Big cars and designer clothes do not make her happy.

What was the most difficult part for you in the film?
The shoot was fun, but the most challenging part was the basketball. I was basketball player in school but a substitute one. I had to learn basketball properly for this film. I trained for nearly one month and even got NBA coaches to teach me. It is amazing to have teachers who encourage you at every step. They would boost my morale by saying things like ‘your throw was very good’ even when I missed the basket! I think that is a great quality in a teacher, it made me learn better.

Do you believe in relationship which is shown in Half Girlfriend?
I do think that such relationships exist. We have made a movie about this now, but I have experienced this, even my friends have experienced this. It is sad when two people who like each other, can’t be together due to some circumstances.

Did you read the book?
After I finished 10 pages or so of the book, I messaged Mohit and told him that I am reading the book. He immediately called up and yelled, ‘Don’t read the book, you should read the script and connect with it as I have made some changes’. So, I couldn’t finish the book.

Are you undergoing any training for your new film which is a biopic on Saina Nehwal?
All of us have grown up playing badminton whether good or bad. I never thought even in my dreams that one day I will enact the character of World No 1 badminton player on screen. I will have to train for months. I can’t wait to learn from Saina herself!

Have you met her?
I have spoken to her, we have exchanged messages. But I am looking forward to spending more time with her.

Saina initially wanted Deepika to play her, what do you want to say about that?
Oh I didn’t know that! Well, I think he is very happy about me playing her now.

What is more difficult, playing a fictional character or playing someone like Saina?
Saina is our youth icon, I have to spend a lot of time with her, to learn how she speaks and behaves. So I feel that being true to that is challenging in its own way and with characters like Riya you can interpret it in your own way. But all said and done, nothing is easy.

From a flop debut to consecutive hits, and now Mohit’s muse… How does success taste?
I was very happy to know that he calls me that. One Friday can just change things for you. My life changed with Aashiqui 2 overnight and since then there is no turning back. I feel very grateful that I started off with failure, as I feel that failure se bohot kuch seekhne milta hai, it was a tough time but it taught me a lot.

Do you seek advice from your dad?
I seek advice from him for everything. I would love to do a comedy with him. Someone should make a film which has crime Master Gogo and me as Gogi (laughs). Me and my father in that cape with one eye shut.

Do you feel you are competing with Alia, as contemporaries?
I am inspired by Alia and her work. It is nice to see her do such good work. It is very important to support each other and celebrate other people’s success as well. In the future if someone offers us a film together and if the script is good then I might collaborate with her.

There are a lot of conjectures about your personal life…
I choose to ignore them. Some stories are like a TV serial, I didn’t even know that all this was happening. I used to get affected by this initially, especially when they involve your family but not anymore.

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