We catch up with 'Ki & Ka' s 'most wanted munda' aka Arjun Kapoor in a suburban hotel for a quick tete-a-tete.
The young lad appears a bit unwell. However he still makes it a point to whip up an interesting session sprinkled with a dose of laughter. Arjun gets candid about why he signed 'Ki & Ka', what changes it brought in his life and the special woman in his life.
Excerpts from the conversation-
Q. What made you take up 'Ki & Ka'?
A. When I met Balki Sir he narrated two ideas to me. The first one was a simple romantic film that was a boy meets girl-falls in love kind of one. So I vaguely reacted positively to it. It was my excitement to meet and work with him. Then he was like he has another idea but he isn't sure if he wants to do it now. But he still narrated it to me in just two lines. He said that every boy grows up wanting to be like his father. What if a boy grows up wanting to be like his mother? I got very intrigued by just these two lines and wanted to know more. But the only way to know it was to get Balki to write the film. Also he would then need an actor who would be willing to play such a character. It's not easy to find a boy who is young enough wanting to be a hero, in a clichéd sense to be a heroine. So I made him write the film by giving him the thought that I will do it. When he wrote it he came back to me and it worked. He wrote it in a very sensible way rather than making him a laid back slacker who doesn't want to work. It was more about a guy who has an ideology why he doesn't want to work. My character Kabir is an IIM graduate in the film but he has a very clear reason why he wants to be a home maker. He believes that even that's a job. Nobody gives housewives their due of working from morning to night. They actually work longer than all of us put together. Hopefully this film will make us stop for a second and appreciate all those women who by choice or no choice became home makers.
Q.How was your experience shooting for the film?
A.We had a 40 day shooting schedule so we didn't have much experience. It's always fun to do a romantic film, even a contemporary urban one because you relate to it. When you do something like 'Ishaqaade' you don't have a reference point. I enjoyed working with Kareena and Balki.
Q.How did you prep up for your role?
A.The main preparation was cooking. See you can cheat in a film by someone else cooking and you just serving it. The reason why I wanted to learn cooking was because I wanted to look comfortable in the kitchen. If I can't convince the women that I enjoy working in the kitchen then the film won't work. It's not easy to cook. For me kitchen is the office in 'Ki & Ka'. I wanted to look like I belong to the kitchen.
Q.Have you changed as a person post the film?
A.I did the film because I am a certain person. It's not that after doing the film I realized a lot. The one thing that I respect a lot is women wearing heels and of course I respect them for being home-makers. Even I have sometimes as a human being taken them for granted. Primarily in a country like us we rely so much on women. But we take them for granted. At least now I know that when I am going haywire in my relationship I have done a film that reminds me of good and bad of life. It's very easy to sit in a room and talk. But life plays very differently out there. I genuinely have a lot of respect for woman and this film has now ten-forth that feeling. At the same time I also believe that many more men should be allowed to be the way they are. If they ain't ambitious then why should they be forced to do a 9 to 5 job? Let them make their own choices. This film predominately deals with a husband and wife who respect each other's choices. Why do people have to interfere in other's life? So that was yet another thought that I realised that you shouldn't care much about what people feel because they will always feel something or the other. As an actor you feel that everyday.
Q.Do you think that your television stint will help you gain more audience for this film?
A.I hope so otherwise it's a waste of time (laughs) Television is a very spontaneous connection with the audience. I have received good feedback. Genuinely people have appreciated the texture of my hosting which is unique in terms of the previous hosts. People are getting to discover more about Arjun Kapoor because I am very new so it's always good to put your personality out there in different forms. A lot of people thought that I am very laid back. I wanted to change that thought. When I did IIFA I got great reaction. So I was like okay people enjoy my humour. I was like why not be myself. It's important for your personality to be out there otherwise you can't survive in this profession any more. You can't sit in your house and expect people to like you just for the films that you do. It's became a more 360 degree perspective towards being a star or an actor or whatever you call it. I was reluctant to begin with. That's why I even took time to get on to social media. Earlier I was like an actor's job is to be just an actor. But now I have realized that there's bit more to it.
Q.How was it working with Kareena?
A.I used to pull her legs so much that she used to fall laughing. I really make fun of her. I don't know how she tolerated me for so long. I used to imitate her as 'Poo' and from 'Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon'. When we were shooting for 'High Heels' I said that this is not 'Ajnabee' song where you look only into camera..look at me also. (laughs). However as a person who is so much experienced to not have that ego to say that you can't like that with me...she was only laughing all the time.
Q.Do you think that people's attitude will change towards women after doing this film?
A.I don't think that one film can bring such major changes. It can however start conversations. I hope and I can pray to God that if that is the case than so be it. Our country is a beautiful one. I don't believe that majority of them have these issues. It's just that certain sections haven't been educated about the way one should conduct themselves around women. 'Ki & Ka' is a conversation starter. I don't think that films can bring revolutions because they actually reflect society. Films are not going to change the society. If that was the case then it would have been an amazing place already. 'Rang De Basanti' would have brought the biggest change in the history of India. Today many more women are getting ambitious. They are allowed to explore themselves. Men are not afraid to accept that in certain sections of society. Let women get married to a partner who allows her to make her choice. Our film deals with choices. If a partner is understanding enough it can be the most wonderful relationship that you have because then nothing else matters.
Q.Who is the special woman in your life?
A.My sister Anshula.
Q.What draws you to a film- the script or the director?
A.I would always lean towards the material first. Because if the material is average then even a good director can't uplift a film beyond a point. But an average director with a good script can make a bearable film at least. Even good directors can go wrong but a good material is rare to find. You smell a good material. Sometimes it's the amalgamation of the material and the director. 'Ki & Ka' is a makable film by all directors since it can have different interpretations. But because that it's such a sensitive topic that it needs a Balki to present it in a slice of life way rather than it being melodramatic or caricature-like.
Q. What's the update on your upcoming film 'Half Girlfriend'?
A. I will start shooting in May depending on the schedule. We will film continuously till September. Shraddha and me have two-three locations to shoot. I will start prepping up after 'Ki & Ka'. I have been playing basketball. I am learning Bhojpuri but had to take a break for promotions of 'Ki & Ka'.