INTERVIEW: Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor tells Subhash K. Jha that she doesn’t like repeating roles

Actors Fawad Khan and Sonam Kapoor during a promotional event of their upcoming film Khoobsurat at a private university in Jalandhar, on Sept. 18, 2014. (Photo: IANS)
Actors Fawad Khan and Sonam Kapoor during a promotional event of their upcoming film Khoobsurat at a private university in Jalandhar, on Sept. 18, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

A girl-next-door, a simpleton, a fashionista and a go-getter in different movies — Sonam Kapoor says she has tried to play myriad roles in her career because she doesn’t like to repeat characters.

For her latest Bollywood release “Khoobsurat”, she has shed her inhibitions and gone wild in the “Engine ki seeti” song. But she says: “That’s not me. That’s my character. I doubt you’d see me breaking into “Engine ki seeti” in real life. I like to play a different character each time.”

Talking further about it, she said: “I’ve never played someone like Mili (character in ‘Khoobsurat’) before, and I don’t know if I’ll play someone like her again. Just like Zoya, my character in ‘Raanjhanaa’. She was someone I had never played before. I don’t think I’ll play her again.”
Her future projects will also see her in roles different from her past portrayals on screen.
“The characters I play in “Dolly Ki Doli” and “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” are completely removed from what I’ve done so far. I don’t like repetition. I’m making a conscious effort to play characters who are different from one another,” said the actress, who will next be seen in Sooraj Barjatya’s “Ram Ratan Dhan Payo” with Salman Khan.
She admits working with the hit duo has been an amazing experience.
“There is so much positivity during the shooting. I can’t describe how peaceful I feel when I am on the sets of ‘Prem Ratan…’,” she said.
How different is Sooraj Barjatya from Sanjay Leela Bhansali, with whom she made her film debut in “Saawariya” in 2007?
“You know I am so blessed. In just seven years I’ve worked with the best directors from Sanjay Bhansali to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to Aanand L. Rai to Sooraj Barjatya. And Shashanka Ghosh (of ‘Khoobsurat’) is also an amazing director.
“That such a varied spectrum of terrific directors have so much faith in me is very reassuring feeling for me. Their approval is a great validation for me. I may come across as a very confident person, but when it comes to my performances I am extremely self-critical and unsure. I feel I have a long way to go,” said the 29-year-old daughter of veteran actor Anil Kapoor.
She believes each director she has worked with so far has helped her in her journey.
“Sanjay and I haven’t worked together after ‘Saawariya’, but we are connected constantly. Every time he sees something of mine on television, he messages me. Rakeysh Mehra is there for everything I do. Shashanka is so protective of me. If anyone says anything about me, he messages me. I am quite blessed with my directors and my co-stars.”
Sonam also feels that from “Saawariya” to “Khubsoorat”, she has got better with every film.
“If I started at 1.2, I’ve now gone to 1.7,” she said while rating her growth, and added: “I’m more excited by the journey than the Sonam Kapoor says her latest Bollywood release “Khoobsurat” is a tribute to the late iconic filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who had helmed the original 1980 film which was titled “Khubsoorat”.
Rapid Fire:

Q. How does it feel to be the hero of “Khoobsurat”?
A. I don’t feel I am the hero of the film. I think the producer, director and the writer are the heroes of every film. I can never take credit for a film’s success. Likewise, please don’t blame me if a film fails. A film is a team effort. All of us sink or swim together.

Q. Are you more protective of “Khoobsurat” because it’s a home production?
A. Not really. Since “Khoobsurat” is a smaller film, we decided to go all-out for it. If you are selling a product, you must let the consumer believe that you completely believe in the product. That is why we are doing aggressive marketing.

Q. Do you think if Hrishida were alive and he saw your “Khoobsurat”, he would be happy?
A. I’d be very nervous if Hrishida saw our “Khoobsurat”. It is an ode to him. It’s like writing a fan letter to someone whom you truly admire. We named the film after his film. We named my character Mili after another film of Hrishida. And my screen-mom Kirron Kher is named Manju after Rekha’s character in the original “Khubsoorat”.

Q. Why did you feel the need to remake a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film?
A. We essentially felt a lacuna in the entertainment being provided by our film. That space of innocent laughter that Hrishida’s film once occupied is now vacant. Where are those simple happy films like “Guddi” and “Jhooth Bole Kauva Kaate” that Hrishida made? We wanted to revive the cinema that makes you smile, makes you laugh, makes you love and makes you believe in all the good things in life.

Q. Do you believe that such a world still exists?
A. Of course it does! We hope to bring back the kind of positive energy that Hrishida brought to Indian cinema. Our “Khoobsurat” is dedicated to Hrishikesh Mukherjee, with love. Lots of it. It’s meant to make the audience happy.

Q. What is the immediate future plan?
A. I start shooting again for “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” from Sep 21, and my sister Rhea immediately starts another film.
destination. That’s the way I am. I am always looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me.”