ADITYA ROY KAPUR ON HIS CHARACTER IN KALANK, WORKING WITH CO-STARS AND UPCOMING PROJECTS

by MOHNISH SINGH

Talented actor Aditya Roy Kapur began his career as a VJ on Channel V but rose to cinematic stardom with his breakout performance in musical hit Aashiqui 2.

After the humongous success of the Mohit Suri-directed drama, Aditya added to his big screen resume with films like Daawat-E-Ishq, Fitoor and Ok Jaanu, but these films failed to live up to audience expectations and didn’t do the expected business at the box-office.

After staying away from the silver screen for more than two years, Aditya made a return with mega-budget blockbuster Kalank, which is a period drama with a strong star cast and being touted as one of the biggest Bollywood releases of 2019.

Eastern Eye caught up with the dashing star to speak about his interesting character in Kalank, the kind of roles he wants to do in future, about working on a web series and upcoming projects among other things.

Your character in Kalank seems to have a lot of shades. Was it a challenging part to play?
Yes, it was indeed challenging, because this is the first time I’m doing a period film in my career. So it was pivotal for me to know how people were at that time. As we know, the 1940s was a very important and tension-filled period of our history. My character is shown quite connected to several events at that time. So it was important for me to understand the political situation and atmosphere of that period. I read a lot of books to understand what all happened in that era and had to go into details to prepare for my role.

What other preparations did you do?
I watched a lot of Dilip (Kumar) saab’s films. I was blown away after watching some of his performances. People used to speak a chaste language; their accent and mannerisms were different. Dilip saab’s films helped me to understand that well. It was also a challenging role because there are so many characters; all of them are interconnected and each one is an important player. As an actor, it was scary but at the same time, it was also a driving force.

Some of your last films did not fare well at the box office. Did that make you feel nervous ahead of Kalank releasing?
Filmmaking is a business. It is extremely important that the film you are doing as an actor should turn out to be profitable for each and everyone involved. If that happens, it leads to more opportunities for the actor. It takes a lot of money to make a film, so it’s important that the movie does well for everyone. As I said, I have worked really hard to play this part as brilliantly as possible. Besides reading books and watching movies, I also had diction classes, because diction plays an important role when you are doing a period film.

How do you describe your character Dev Chaudhry?
He’s a very subtle person. He is a confident, educated and passionate man. Dev is very principled and opinionated.

You share a relationship with both Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha in the movie. Who were you most comfortable working with?
(Laughs). It was with Varun Dhawan. We enjoyed working with each other. We also went outdoors for a 15-20 days long schedule. It’s a good thing if you get along well with your co-star while working on such a huge film. So, yeah, I really enjoyed working with him. He is a positive person and is very serious about his work. He wants to connect with his fans and enjoys his work. And, of course, I enjoyed working with Alia and Sonakshi too.
You will work again with Alia on Sadak 2. Do you think this experience will help you there?
Yes, after Kalank, we are doing Sadak 2 together. I think our experience working together on Kalank has been good. We could understand each other as actors. I have understood her better. I believe she has also got a sense of me. Now we are very excited to go and work under (Mahesh) Bhatt saab to see how he directs us.

How was it to work with veteran actors Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit?
When they were on the sets, there used to be an atmosphere of a very different kind of schooling because they are senior and experienced actors. You get to learn a lot from them when they share their experiences. When Sanjay (Dutt) sir used to come on the sets, the entire energy and temperature would change. He carries an aura. Having said that, you should never get intimidated because if that happens, you won’t be able to perform. He also makes sure that you are not uncomfortable around him. It was he who broke the ice by inviting me to his van for lunch. He realises that his aura can make some people uncomfortable. So he made sure that I was comfortable when we started shooting.

We heard that the director of the film, Abhishek Verman, was a hard taskmaster…
Yes, he was. But he did not trouble me, (smiles). You know, it helps you a lot as an actor when your director spends so much time with the subject. Abhishek has worked on the script for three to four years. He knows Kalank inside out. He has answers to every question. It is amazing to see the thought of clarity he has tackled this subject with. As an actor, what do you want from your director? First is clarity and the second is flexibility. At times, what happens is that, the director knows his subject so well that he does not give any room to his actors to bring something of their own. But Abhishek is not like that; he is clear about what he wants and he also allows the actors to bring their own ideas to a film, which is a beautiful balance.

When will we see the entire Kapur family working on one film?
Actually, we don’t talk about that. But it may happen someday. I think someone else, not anyone from our family, should come up with a good script and approach us.

What type of roles do you want to do in future?
I want to explore all kinds of roles. Though I have been working in the industry for the past 10 years now, I still feel that I am at an early stage of my career. There is a lot I need to do as an actor. If I start thinking that I fit in a particular zone and shy away from attempting other kinds of characters, then I will be replicating myself. It is a trap and I do not want to get trapped. I want to explore.

Are you open to working on a web series?
So far, I have not been offered anything interesting from the web. But, I feel, it is a great medium for our industry. It does not burden you with that Friday tension. Directors do not need to curb their creativity. You are free to make whatever subject you want to and there is an audience too. For creative people, it is a beautiful area. In films, you have only two hours to explore a character. In a web series, you have as many as 14 hours. At times, there are two seasons and you can live with one character for two or three years. That, I feel, is a great thing for an actor.

Do biopics attract you?
I have not thought about working in biopics. Actually, I need someone else to see that person in me, not that I should see someone else in me.

What are your upcoming projects?
I am doing Anurag Basu’s next film, which is not given a title yet. We have completed the first schedule of it, which is also an ensemble film. Then I am doing Malang with Mohit Suri. The first schedule of that film is wrapped up too. Another project I’m working on is Sadak 2.

Kalank is in cinemas now