Arjun Kapoor has just completed two years in the industry. His last film 2States is inching towards Rs100-crore mark. He is the first of young breed of actors to achieve this feat. He surprised the critics and the audiences with his last film in a character, few thought he could pull off. Everyone assumed he was best suited to play a scruffy bad boy with stubble. But Arjun bowled over everyone as the geek in Two States. And this talented lad has more surprises up his sleeve. Here, Arjun talks about his choices, his journey, and the people who helped him get here. Read on...
You have broken the mould successfully with 2 States. What if you had gotten slotted?
I would worked hard to break that. I think it's exhausting as an actor to do the same shit all over again. You need to reinvent yourself time to time because you want to go on the set of that film with the fear in the pit of your stomach not knowing how you are going to do today.
Five years from now what kind of roles do you see yourself doing?
I want to do performance-oriented films. Beyond a certain point I think that's what keeps you alive as an actor. Commercial cinema will always be around, anybody who has a notion that it's over, is wrong. Just the way it's treated, will keep changing. It will get little more sensible, cooler, younger, as time progresses but I would like to be somebody who strikes a balance between masala and sensible films. I would like to do darker roles, I would like to do more comedies, I would like to do an espionage thriller, a nice detective film like Sherlock Holmes, a murder mystery, the genres are unlimited... I feel that young actors are ready to do a Barfi and Vicky Donor, now the writers are also writing different kind of roles...
What's your biggest fear?
That I will fit into the prototype of the masala film hero. I have been told that by too many people, I have tried to ignore it very often, but I have been told that by intelligent, sensible people who understand the workings of this profession that I fit into all those trappings that the other boys don't. The other boys are more into the chocolate boy, younger space, I fit slightly more into brooding, intense but I guess to some extent Two States has, and Finding Fanny Fernandes will define for me whether I belong in those worlds. I would still persist, if a producer or director came to me giving me a chance to do something that is different and unique, I will grab it. Today if an Imtiaz Ali came with a rom-com, I would jump at it, because I wouldn't be like market kya dictate karti hai.
Any directors on your wish list?
There are too many. I have actually been working with so many new directors, I started off with Habib Faizal (Ishaaqzaade), Atul Sabharwal (Aurangzeb) was a new director, Abhishek Burman is a first time director (Two States). For Ali Abbas too, Gunday was his second film. Homi Adjania (Finding Fanny Fernandes) has done two films. I would love to interact and spend time with experienced directors. Like Aditya Chopra or Karan Johar, Rajkumar Hirani, Zoya and Farhan Akhtar. I mean Farhan is somebody who got me excited about cinema. When I saw Dil Chahta Hai, I thought this is what we need! I want to see Farhan acting and directing, I would love to interact with him. I want to work with Rohit Shetty, with Imtiaz Ali for sure, just the way he writes dialogues. I mean he makes it so real. Ranbir has always praised him. Alia told me such anecdotes about him that I really want to work with him. It is also a way to improve as a person by spending time with such people. Then there's Vishal Bharadwaj, the way he sets up those worlds, and he's an actor's director at the end of the day he will give you a character to play. There are so many the list is endless. But after five films, I want to wait for these directors to hopefully see value in me as an actor and take me in their films. That would excite me a lot.
Would you do a film if you wasn't convinced about it and Aditya Chopra was?
I would have read the script he wouldn't have, and he doesn't ever get into the process of sitting and reading scripts that we choose to do. He goes with our conviction first. So if am not convinced, he will ask me not to do a film. And there have been many examples of that. There were many scripts that made sense on paper, but after reading or hearing the script, I have gone back to him and said I am unsure. And he said 'Don't do it. Because you will never be able to get 100 per cent to it.' He's very fair. There's no pressure from him. He's like that voice you want to hear. If there is a doubt in your mind he will exactly underline the exact point that you need to hear when you need to make a final call. And it's the same thing with my dad, surprisingly even though he's not actively making the many films right now, like he used to, but he's instinctively a consumer, he understands the audience and he says things like: You must do this for this reason. They both have an equal understanding of the industry and the audience.
Are you in touch with Salman?
Any big decision I make, I tell him. Like signing Two States with Sajid Nadiadwala who is his friend. I went and told him first. He already knows what's happening in my life anyway. When my first trailer of Aurangzeb came, I went and showed it to him. Gunday promo I couldn't show him because he was in Romania... the day he landed, he went to Karjat.
He's the first one who saw the actor in you, right?
He's the only one who saw it in me. And he's the only one who nurtured me when nobody else believed in me. He's corrected me from walking to talking to everything. He would make me walk on Carter Road and Bandstand and say who would want to watch a film if you walk like this a sloppy human being. I am so glad that people are getting to see his real side now. He was so misconstrued for so many years. I knew him even back then and I used to wonder why people don't get what a great guy he is. Then Dus Ka Dum happened and it changed things. When people saw how he really is, and how he interacts with people, the impression changed. Everybody thinks things changed after Wanted, which I agree, my father made an action film with him after so many years. He enjoyed action and then it opened his mind towards doing commercial cinema again.
If you need to talk about something who would you go to?
I don't talk about things to anybody. I think and I think and I think. I solve it on my own.
So, no 4 am friend?
The serious stuff I keep it to myself. There have been situations where I have spoken to my friends, my family... but I don't pick up the phone and say I need to talk. If it happens in conversation, it happens. Otherwise I mostly handle it myself. My demons are created by myself at the end of the day I don't know how to take help to solve them. I will be in a better position once I find some balance in my personal and professional life.