Arjun Kapoor: Shah Rukh Khan can afford to laugh at himself!

 
Arjun Kapoor: Shah Rukh Khan can afford to laugh at himself!

Arjun Kapoor is one actor who can impress you with his action role and leave you awestruck with his romantic avatar. In his next film, Arjun will be winning our hearts as a tough romantic boy from the hinterland. In a heart-to-heart conversation, Arjun talks about 'Tevar', his experience of working for a home production and more. Excerpts:


'Tevar' is the first time you are working in a home production film. How was the experience?

I really enjoyed working on 'Tevar' and with Sanjay chachu (Sanjay Kapoor) because I have grown up with him. We have lived in the same house for more than 20 years and he is like a father figure, a brother, an uncle and more so a friend to me. I have had my first drink with him, travelled with him; so for me it was having the correct person on the sets. He understands production because we all have grown up in a household which knows cinema in terms of being producers. He was also the ultimate bridge between my father and me if we both had any difference of opinions on the set. I think most importantly he is a sensible person and hasn't become a producer just for the sake of it. He has his own thought process and approach towards films.


Your uncle Sanjay Kapoor mentioned that out of the younger crop of actors it was only you who could have done a film like 'Tevar'. Do you agree to him? If yes, then what sets you apart from your contemporaries?

He has no choice but to say that (Winks). For me it is like sinking my teeth and the material I get. I am an actor and I am mouldable enough to do 2 States, Gunday and Finding Fanny. I have never restricted myself to my strengths and abilities as it's unlimited and I am still discovering them. I am 29 and just five films old! I enjoy doing action a lot more because my films have had a sense of violence in them but that's because I have a broad structure and I would be able to convince the audience if I hit someone as it will look believable. Maybe my contemporaries are meeker looking and regular boy next door looking in comparison. But at the same time I have also played a boy next door equally well. Ironically my biggest success (2 States) is where I have played a boy next door character. At the same time, Siddharth (Malhotra) who has a chocolate boy image did 'Ek Villain'. I will always try and do something unexpected from me. I didn't know I was capable of doing a character like Pintu in 'Tevar'. I was scared that it will be boring for me and felt it would be similar to what I have done before but our director (Amit Sharma) had a fresh approach which was exciting.


You could've easily worked with your father in your very first film, were you proving any point by working with others first and then with him?

I want to be his strength and not his problem. I could've debuted with him but that would've been the most cliched way of making a debut. You take away from the film and yourself. Even a crackling film would've had that negative effect that a father is launching his son in a fully designed film to show his skills. I chose to work harder. I don't want it to be a designed film. We might make a designed film now (referring to Tevar) but you won't even notice because you have seen me as an individual and accepted me. Now that I'm five films old and an identity, the credibility of 'Tevar' remains intact.


Does it work to one's advantage or disadvantage when you are doing a home production film?

It's actually neither an advantage nor a disadvantage because I still have to work with the same dedication and have to be as professional as I am for any other film. I was rather anxious because my father was going to be on the sets, observing me rather than watching the final product. An actor should never be influenced by the surroundings because you have to submit completely and trust me it's not a good feeling when you know that your father is going to come and watch you work every day. I remember the first day I shot he never interfered in it and he was in the periphery and wasn't overtly involved so I had a sigh of relief and after that it was like doing any other film.


Please continue.

I'll tell you something that 'Tevar' hasn't been designed to my strengths or to showcase my skills. It is just that I had seen the original film (Okkadu in Telugu) and even before I became an actor and I told my father about it and if the rights are available please buy it because that's the kind of film I'd like to do. Ironically, I debuted with 'Ishaqzaade' that had elements of me being on the run with a girl but that was because we were in love. In 'Tevar', the story is about a regular boy who helps a girl escape. I am happy that if people have liked me in 'Ishaqzaade' then I hope they like me in 'Tevar' too.


You father had tears in his eyes at one of the promotional events. He mentioned that you were the driving force and motivated him to make this film. I am sure you made a lot of contribution to the film apart from being an actor.

Any father wants to feel proud of his son and the motivation was that I had worked hard enough to be an asset to him that would allow him to make his kind of cinema. I requested my father to make his kind of film. I want to be his strength and not his problem. As I said I didn't want him to design a film to fit me. My father is a flamboyant filmmaker. There is a saying in the industry about Boney Kapoor that you ask for an Ambassador car and you get a Mercedes. He is that large hearted. It's not an easy place to find acceptance in our profession. It is very rare to get kind of love and adulation I have got in just two years of my career. The excitement that he got out of my success gave him a charge to make a film with me. I have been involved in cutting the trailer for 'Tevar' as I am fond of that work. I just wanted to be a part of it so I got involved with Ravi and Binny Padda and worked on the trailer.


'Ishaqzaade', 'Aurangzeb', 'Gunday' and now 'Tevar' are all action dramas. Won't you get stereotyped as an action hero?

If the audience likes it, I'd love to do more roles like that. Also, I think I'm so new that I can't really be stereotyped yet, unless I make another three action films. But I wouldn't have passed on a film like Tevar even if I had done a lot of action before. I play a boy who goes for a kabaddi tournament. The idea is to create freshness even if it is in the same genre.


Would you have accepted 'Tevar' if you wouldn't have liked the script?

Yes, I wouldn't have done it because it took me a year and half to say yes to Tevar. Filmmaking is not a joke. Just because you have a producer and an actor in a film, you just can't get up one day and start making a film. We all are worried about our own careers. Also I wanted this film to be done in a certain way. I didn't want it be a filmy commercial masala entertainer where the film is only about heroism. It's a commercial entertainer about an ordinary boy in an extraordinary situation. Amit Sharma is making his directorial debut with the film and I had like five to six narrations between May and October 2013. We didn't want to be complacent and just improvise with everything on the sets.


So would there be a possibility that you will say no to a home production film?

I have said no to my father in the past. My father has come with scripts which I wasn't convinced of doing and there have been times when I have gone with a script which he is not sure about. That is something between him and me. And I think this relationship will continue. At the end of the day, we both should be excited to work on a film which we both love. With Tevar you will got to see a quintessential old school vintage Hindi film with a slight new sensibility or if I would say a new attitude which isn't frivolous. This film has an emotional connect.


We recently saw you in Alia Bhatt's AIB (All India Bhakchod) video. Shah Rukh Khan did a similar video for 'Happy New Year' and the case of 'Kill Dil' also came up with a similar video. Would you do something like this to promote your film?

When Shah Rukh Khan does it, he does it really well. His stardom is so big that he can afford to laugh at himself. As an audience you laugh with him and not at him. He is doing it because there is nothing that he has not heard before. He can handle it with a lot of ease and he's got the gift of gab. I would love to do it at a personal level and never to encourage or promote a film. I would not like to demean my film to promote it. If you are talking about a film and if you are getting insulted then your film is also getting insulted. At a personal capacity something like what Alia did, I would also love to do that. Ranveer (Singh) and I did a show along with AIB (All India Bhakchod) and they bajaoed us! (Laughs).



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