Excited about her romantic comedy with Ayushmann Khurrana, ‘Bewakoofiyan’, here’s Sonam Kapoor in a laughter riot with Pratishtha Malhotra
I really like potential in people. If I see someone who has a lot of potential in them and if I think that he would do something good with his life and is a good guy, I don’t see the bank balance, what family he comes from, what religion he practices, whether he is Indian, white, black… All this doesn’t really matter to me. I am extremely idealistic and extremely impractical in life – which is not the best thing on this planet – but it has kept me very happy. I have no baggage because of that. Everything that I have done, I have done it with all heart and no bad intentions. So even if something doesn’t work out, I am friends with all of them. It’s never been a dirty or a messy break-up for me ever.
Earlier you were just considered the fashionista of Bollywood but after proving your mettle after ‘Raanjhanaa’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ which have been such successes, the same criticisms that people made have been turned upside down and converted into applause…
It will change with my next film again (laughs)! I’ll tell you something, by ‘Delhi 6’ I had earned my stripes. ‘Saawariya’ and ‘Delhi 6’ happened and people were calling me an actor. ‘Aisha’ and ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ happened; they believed me to be my character. For me, that was a success because people actually believed I was Aisha!
They couldn’t differentiate between Sonam and the character, which is a great thing for me. They were successful films as well but, if I analyse the situation, the films after that weren’t successful. I got critical acclaim but they didn’t do well. I mean, people loved me in ‘Mausam’ but it didn’t register well with them because not that many people watched it. ‘Raanjhanaa’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, because they were successful films, people saw them and I got the critical acclaim as well. After ‘Bewakoofiyan’ also people will see it. But you know, when you look good in something, people don’t see the performance. People appreciate you for your looks.
In ‘Bewakoofiyan’, it is performance but it’s an easy romantic film. Hopefully, people see that there’s a performance in that as well. Hopefully, they won’t just look at it for the way I am looking in the film. I hope they can judge it for what it is, as opposed to what they think it is. Perception changes with every film. I mean, if in my next film I am playing a bimbo, they would start believing that I am a bimbo! You never know! Basically I don’t understand this concept. A good-looking film with good-looking people can actually be a good film. I don’t think it is necessary to be dark when you can’t see anybody, where people have to look ugly in it. It’s really upsetting when it happens. Just because this actor or actress is pretty looking it does not make them a good actor. (Chuckles) That’s the scary bit in our industry. People judge a book by its cover.
I am not doing my work for people but for the fact that I grow in my life and become a good actor. In my next film, I am playing the role of a character called Dolly; her name is Dolly for god’s sake (giggles)! The other one I am doing is ‘Khoobsoorat’ which is like a completely different character and they are entertaining films. It’s comedy. I am not depressed or dying or killing someone. I think every film is performance-based but they don’t have to be like Zoya from ‘Raanjhanaa’. All my characters can’t be like her, making sure that my lovers are dead!
We’ve seen that a hit or a flop doesn’t affect you at all…
There is a meaning of a hit or a flop in my life. We make films because we want people to see them. As an actor, fortunately for me, it hasn’t affected me at all. I don’t know why. Maybe people think I am talented… People like Rakeysh Mehra, who actually believe in me or someone like Anand Rai thinks that he wants to work with me. So I have a couple of directors who believe in my work and a couple of producers who actually think I am talented!
While working with Nupur Asthana for the film ‘Bewakoofiyan’, what according to you are the advantages or the disadvantages of working with a female director?
Well, I am wearing a bikini in the film and knew that it would be shot aesthetically (chuckles). I don’t see a difference between a woman director and a male director. I have worked with a female director who I didn’t get along with and a male director who I did not get along with as well, and there have been other female and male directors that I have got along with very well. It is to do with who you connect with.
I am a complete feminist but, at the same time, I believe in equality. I think the only difference between a man and a woman is EQ maybe. I think women are emotionally way more intelligent than men. The sense of emotion and aesthetics are brilliant. That’s why you see less woman directors but the ones who are there are brilliant and are globally known, like Deepa Mehta and Meera Nair. It has been a joy working with Nupur. It’s the emotional journey that a character needs and if you’re a woman you know the emotional energy well.
You seem to be very close to your father. How is it being Anil Kapoor’s daughter?
My dad is really cool, he’s very chilled out. He doesn’t think that there’s any need for me to get married early. He just wants me to be happy and enjoy life. For him, it’s about my career because he knows how important it is to me. He wants me to be successful and be a better actor and make great films. That’s what he wants me to do. If he is hard on me or anything, it is for my work. When it comes to relationships, it is all secondary. He doesn’t give that much importance to it, which is the way parents in India should think. It’s about your growth as a human being and a professional as opposed to who the hell you are going to get married to!
Your slipping into a bikini has been made out to be such a big thing and that’s the only thing that’s making headlines everywhere. Don’t you think it is obnoxious how everyone makes news out of such things?
I mean, it’s funny. I even made some jokes out of the whole situation but people took it seriously and I was like, oops! This was supposed to be funny (laughs)! It was a decision given to me on what to wear – one was a bikini, a tankini or a one-piece swim suit. I mean, we tried everything. It was so funny. There were four girls and we were trying on everything and there was this whole discussion on what to wear.
Nupur asked me, ‘Do you want to wear a bikini?’ I was like, ‘No, not at all’. Earlier I was not in the best shape. There have been just two times when I have actually spoken about wearing a bikini. One was at a book launch when I was talking about the struggles that I went through with being over-weight. I said I did not have the kind of body to wear a swimsuit right then. I was not confident then because for a former fat girl, body image is like, a big thing. I did this not for anyone but for myself. It was a challenge for myself.
When I first came into this industry, all I wore were Indian clothes for the first two years and slowly slipped into western clothes. When I turned 22- 23, the way I used to dress up at home, I started dressing outside. I still don’t wear very short clothes because I am still not very confident about my body. It’s the way people think and it’s so weird; I mean, wearing a swimsuit is not a big deal!