Vaani Kapoor is feeling a “sense of relief” that her film BellBottom is finally releasing at the theatres. BellBottom, starring Akshay Kumar in the lead role, marks Vaani’s first film in the last two years. She was last seen opposite Hrithik Roshan in War (2019), which was a blockbuster. But in these two years, did she not feel the need to explore OTT world? “You can’t just do something for the heck of it. You have a very mindful audience there who is exposed to global cinema. Only the great content is working. Average or less than average will never work, no matter what the platform is. So, I feel like it’s all about getting the right film or the right show at the right time.”
BellBottom also marks Vaani’s first with Akshay. So, was that a tick in her checklist? “I could say that,” she chuckled, adding, “He’s a megastar with a massive audience who loves watching his films. Even I love watching his films. I think he has aced practically every genre. It’s just great to be associated with people who have so much experience and a sense of understanding in terms of what the audience wants. So, it’s a good part and it’s a great sense of learning for me as well.”
But while the trailer shows Akshay Kumar prominently, Vaani is seen in a blink-and-miss appearance. When asked about the same, she defended the film and her choice. “The makers have kept it a certain way. See, the film is being led by Akshay Kumar’s character. The story is about a plane that gets hijacked. It’s based on these two events that happened in the late 70s and early 80s during Indira Gandhi’s time as the Prime Minister of India. Keeping it very crisp, my part is of this girl who is married to Akshay’s character. She is sweet, refreshing, very lovely. She is also the backbone of his life. As a personality, she is someone who is very level-headed and centered. There is a lot to explore in her character, which one can talk about after the film releases,” Vaani answered.
She added, “Having said that, yes, it’s not the most difficult part for me to play. It was well defined on paper for me to understand what she is or who she is. And it didn’t take a lot of research for me to crack her.”
She explained how it is not easy for a female actor to get a juicy part as most of it goes to an already popular and successful actresses. “It’s very hard to break into the industry with the right people, the right film and the right production. And on top of that, to get a perfect and well-written part for a female actor, it’s not easy. Yes, there is an emergence of women-driven parts but it’s not that easy. The best ones do go to the bigger, credible actors who’ve already achieved a certain amount of stardom. So, it doesn’t come that easy. Having said that, one’s aim is to reach that (stardom/popularity), which is helped by working with actors like Akshay Kumar who has a massive audience. His loyal fans and his loyal audience comes to watch his films. He has a very big reach, and no one can deny that. So, I think sometimes what happens is you do a certain film for several reasons including the reach. Tomorrow, maybe someone would want to take that chance on a person but they would usually end up going to a person who’s relatively credible, visible and of course, has done a decent job in his/her previous film,” the 32-year-old explained.
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Coming back to BellBottom, Vaani said that her role in the film is not of a ‘trophy wife’. “She is also a woman of substance. The storyline of the film is a very respectable and content-driven. So, I believe in seeing the bigger picture. I believe that you could be a small part of a very important film and do well or you could be a big part of a film that isn’t well written or well made. So, I think sometimes you have to take these decisions.”
She adds, “I’ve always been part of the kind of films that I feel has given me a little bit of satisfaction in some way. Of course, there are films that I want to be part of where my character leads the film or is made on a big scale or films where I have more to showcase. But having said that, I’m not going to just focus on my screen time. It’s about what I do with the screen time that has been offered to me.”
She hopes BellBottom gets her better roles. “I believe your work gets you more work. In Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, Gattu (Abhishek Kapoor) has given me a beautiful part, and I’m very genuinely looking forward for that film to come out. And there’s this Shamshera with which I am again playing a very different and wonderful part. Even Bellbottom was a no brainer for several other reasons,” she said.
BellBottom is Vaani’s fourth release. She has earlier shared screen space with Sushant Singh Rajput, Hrithik Roshan and others. And now, she features with Akshay. So, is there a plus of featuring in films that is lead by A-listers? “I see them as great actors who have achieved so much to be loved by the masses and the audiences. I being one of the audiences have huge regard and respect for them, for their acting skills. I feel on many subliminal levels, you learn a lot (from costars). Even if it’s not a conscious observation, you’re incorporating so much from your surroundings. When you have the right influences, you only grasp the best, and they are honestly the best in the industry. So, I’m grateful and blessed that I’ve had the opportunity to share the screen space with them,” Vaani quipped.
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Talking about Akshay Kumar, Vaani said he is a “very fun person to work with, very approachable and very supportive.” While she had previously met him for a brief time, her favourite moment with him is when Akshay met her father. “I generally don’t put up a lot of things from my private life on social media. I remember my manager asking me to ‘just put it out’. It was such a beautiful moment my father shared with Akshay. I think the whole moment was so lovely. He met my parents with so much warmth and humility. He just felt like one of our family members because he was sitting, chilling, talking, joking and even pulling my leg with my family. So, it was a wonderful time that we all spent. My father genuinely loves watching his films. If you’d see his search engine on the phone, you’d see Akshay Kumar films as the first topic. So, it was a genuinely happy moment for my dad,” Vaani recalled.
On a concluding note, we asked Vaani if she is “satisfied” with the journey so far. “There’s no end to my wishes and wants but for me to fulfil those, the directors and producers need to see that in me. I’m just really trying to make the most of whatever opportunities are coming. There was a lull between Befikre and War. It wasn’t that I didn’t have offers but I waited and was patient about the next project. I am very happy with the decisions I’ve made because they were based on my guts and my instincts. So, there’s nobody to blame or there’s nothing to be sad about.”
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Talking about her upcoming projects, she said, “I am very much looking forward to both my films. Shamshera and Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui are set in two different periods. Shamshera is a period drama while Ayushmann Khurrana film is based on a very unique and refreshing topic. It will be a very refreshing film to watch. It is the kind of cinema, which has never been done before, especially the way Gattu has envisioned and created it. I have seen both my films and as an actor, I am content, satisfied and happy. I hope people will like it.”