March 18, 2021 4:52:43 pm
Ahead of the release of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Arjun Kapoor talks to indianexpress.com about the process of Dibakar Banerjee’s film-making, calling it “difficult”, but a “personal milestone”, and the actor also frankly opens up about his career graph and how he has learnt to tackle and manage failure far better than before. He also shares his COVID-19 journey, and shares his fight with the deep fatigue that followed his diagnosis.
Excerpts from the interview:
How has it been post pandemic for you? Have you recovered well from the virus?
It has been interesting because the virus is real, the fatigue is real, the trauma is real. Not a lot of people realise that you need care for at least four to six weeks post recovery to feel emotionally, physically and mentally fit. The disease does take a toll on you. For anybody who has been through it, it is something that is very very real, and you’re allowed to go through the highs and lows of it. I feel I’ve recovered from the virus very well, but it did take me a while. I got it on September 5 and I finally felt okay by November 5, and that’s when I started filming for Bhoot Police. So, it took to me two whole months, and I feel very very blessed that I didn’t have to quarantine anywhere but my room. So, I could have the sanity of being home, and I had the infrastructure within the confines of my house, even in the midst of a strict lockdown, where I could recover. After recovery, I could even travel to Dharamshala and Dalhousie, where I could breathe fresh air, which was great for my lung recovery. It was a unique experience, it was an important moment in my life and I have come out feeling stronger and better.
With Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar, you have collaborated with Parineeti once again, the actor you debuted with. How do you see her growth as an actor, and an individual?
It is very subjective. I cannot quantify her growth as there are certain things you see behind the camera, which makes you feel like ‘she has grown’. When she came in, she was still fighting to figure out where she stands, what she wants to do and how she can pull it off. When we started out, there was a lot of uncertainty, however, she was always a great actor. I have seen her grow as somebody who has experimented and is still comfortable in her own skin.
Working with Dibakar Banerjee is like a dream come true for many actors. How was it being directed by him on Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar?
It was on my wish list for a long time. When I had signed my contract with Aditya Chopra, he had asked me to make a list of 10 directors I wish to work with. When I put his name on the list, I could not have imagined that Aditya would make a film with Dibakar and I would be a part of it. So, this is a personal milestone for me.
Being directed by him was an absolute pleasure. He is very very difficult to work with, in a sense that he pushes you and demands a lot from you. He also makes you aware of how much he is going to push you. His honesty is something that comes in handy, but you have to be prepared to deal with a man who is going to break you, destroy you mentally and physically to find his character. He is selfish, he will indulge beyond what you are capable of because he has all the time in the world. He will scar you and he will bruise you and he will use it to his advantage in front of the camera. I think he enjoys that process, without that process Dibakar would be a very very bored person and his films would become flat. He is aware of it and I respect him for that. I really enjoyed working with him.
Has the delay in the film’s release made you anxious or nervous in any way?
It does throw a spanner in the works because you build yourself for the film releasing and then the pandemic happens and you lose certainty about who, what, when, how and why. So, the film had gone on a backburner in my mind and now it is coming back and releasing again. But, I just feel happy that the film is coming in a theatre and people will return to watch it. The result does not scare me, the fate of the film will be decided on how good or bad the film is, I have lost that anxiety about how a film will fare, I am pretty calm about it now.
You’ve been around for nine years, while you’ve given some superhits, some films have not done as well as you might have expected them to. At this point, does it give you performance anxiety?
To be honest, I would be lying to you if I say that I don’t care about the result. We all care about it, but now I care a little less, because you slowly slowly realise that the fate of the film is not in your control. With Two States, Gunday and Ki and Kaa, Half Girlfriend and Mubaarakan, I have been able to give those numbers, but it is not that I got those numbers alone, it is the audience and the film eventually. And when the film has not transpired or pan out the way expected or wanted, you have to just accept that the film’s had certain failings and you as an actor picked up material that did not engage the audience.
The performance anxiety does settle down a bit because you realise that it is a part of it. You might have selected a good subject but the film doesn’t pan out the way you imagined. Some times you’re on a high as an actor, and your films are doing Even one of your slightly mediocre film ends up pulling through because your audience is behind you. In the same way, sometimes you actually select the right film and you are caught out.I feel a film like Aurangzeb, if it came today, would be a sure shot winner because of how unique it was, but it came back in the day, eight years back, and didn’t find as many takers. Yes, there have been films where I haven’t been at my best, but I’ve also done very good film, I have done very credible films from time to time. I am also an entertainer at the end of the day, so you have to also take the risk to allow failure to be a part that journey. The risk to reward ratio is very high but the risk to failure ratio is much higher.