Dressed in a traditional blue-white Gaurang Shah outfit, adorned with jhumkas, Sonam Kapoor stands true to her diva image. Down- to-earth, spunky she defies conventions, and while most actors are worried about their image and about being politically correct, she believes in calling a spade-a spade, even if it means ruffling a few feathers. Curling her feet up, and making herself comfortable, the actor passionately talks about her films, her career choices and more
What was the reason for doing a slice-of-life film like Bewakoofiyaan, post something as off-beat as Raanjhanaa?
Honestly, I needed this respite. When I started shooting for Raanjhanaa, the first half of the film was nice and fun. But, as the story progressed, my character Zoya, became complicated and darker. When I had finished shooting a portion of the second half of Raanjhanaa, Adi (Aditya Chopra) called and told me, that he has a script that is written by Habib Faisal. I thought it would be something rustic like Ishaqzaade or a slice-of-life film like Do Dooni Chaar. But, when I read the script of Bewakoofiyaan, I thought it was very urban and real. I needed to do a light-hearted film post Raanjhanaa, before doing other films like Khoobsurat or Dolly Ki Doli. Although, it was a lot of hard work, it still felt like a paid holiday, as I was working with my friends like Nupur Asthana. Besides, most of the crew consisted of women, and I also wanted to work with a wonderful production house like YRF.
Bewakoofiyaan got a mixed response. When a film doesn’t live up to expectations, does it depress you in any way?
I’d like to believe that the media has helped me a lot, in the sense that even if a film of mine hasn’t done well, the articles or reviews about me have always been positive. A lot of actors don’t read reviews, but I read them, and they have actually given me strength. I feel, I’ve had a good journey so far in a lot of ways because of the media. My journey has always been difficult at various points, which is always the case when you take a road less travelled upon. I’ve made difficult choices, but when a film like Raanjhanaa does well, it is a bigger victory for me, than a film with a big production house or a big co-star doing well.
What are the parameters that you consider while selecting a role?
My biggest ambition and focus has been to not get typecast. I’ve consciously decided to never do the same thing again, because then you don’t have a long career. People tire of you easily when they watch you doing stereotypical characters. I don’t look at acting as a stepping stone in my life, I look at it as my bloody job! I’m consciously trying to climb the ladder slowly, so that I reach a point where I can do the kind of work I want.
I don’t see myself following the routine of acting till the age of 32, getting married to a rich industrialist and have children. I want to act for the rest of my life. I’m never going to stop acting or making films, or I’m never going to stop being creative. So, if I have to look at it, as a long career, then I need to make the right choices that will hold me in stead for a long time. I call this the heroine’s speech — ‘We have ten years, we need to rake it in, do the best films, and work with all the Khans, and Kapoors!’ But I don’t think like that. My wishlist is to work with the best film-makers of this country. Obviously, I’d love to work with all the amazing actors we have, provided I have something worthwhile to do in the film.
When it comes to making difficult choices, does having a father like Anil Kapoor who’s been in the business for years now, help?
Definitely! He is someone who has always taken risks in his life, even at the beginning of his career when he did films like Mashaal, Eeshwar and many more. When his contemporaries were doing the quintessential action films of the ’80s, he played this guy with a harmonium who called himself ullu ka pattha in Woh 7 Din. So, I think, as a father, and as an actor, he gives me strength to make choices that are difficult and to do films that are difficult to say yes to, as it’s scary to do things which are not conventional.
Talking of being different and making unique choices, you’ve always been considered different ever since you entered this industry. While most prefer to be politically correct, you don’t mind calling a spade a spade…
But that’s the easiest thing to do! It’s the easiest to be yourself. Like they say, ‘ek jooth bolne par sau jhooth bolne padte hai,’ so you might as well tell the truth. At least then, people will judge me for who I am. I’m not scared of being judged. What would scare me is lying so much that it becomes my truth. When I joined the industry, people commented, ‘how does this girl dress, and how does she talk!’ I don’t want to change who I am, because if I do then I’ll be a fake. Sometimes, I feel, don’t these people get exhausted for not saying what they feel like? I would be bloody exhausted if I couldn’t be myself. If you’re an actor, act on-screen, why do it off-screen too?
Is this the reason why you don’t think twice before expressing your opinion on almost everything?
Earlier, I thought, may be I shouldn’t be moofat, but it’s important to be expressive. A few years ago, I was one of the most influential Indians on social media, and people who follow me, liked me for being opinionated. If you’re someone whose opinions can influence people, then, you have the leeway to express what’s right or wrong; it’s important that you speak your mind. It’s important to have an idea about what’s going on in the world. In the film industry, we live in a self-made bubble, and you don’t know what’s going outside. For me, it’s really interesting to know about several topics like politics and what’s going on in our country.
You have an interesting line-up of projects, like Dolly Ki Doli, Khoobsurat remake, and Sooraj Barjatya’s film with Salman Khan. Tell us about them.
I’m just happy because each role is different from the other. I’ve finished shooting for Khoobsurat. We will begin shooting for Dolly Ki Doli from March 31. The pre-production work has already begun, in terms of workshops, costumes and sets. The story is set in a small town. We will shoot outdoors, but most of the shooting will be done in Mumbai. I just cannot wait to become a Dolly in a Doli.