Life after Ishaqzaade: Arjun Kapoor

"I don’t owe my success to anybody," says the Ishaqzaade star

Image Credit: PANKAJ SHARMA/Gulf News
Producer-Director-turned-actor Arjun Kapoor speaks to tabloid! in Dubai.
Gulf News

With just one movie under his belt, Bollywood’s rising star Arjun Kapoor has an aura of a seasoned star. As soon as he sits down on the couch at his suite at Dubai’s Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, his beefy hairdresser/make-up artist hovers around him to add a bit of bounce to his already wavy hair and to mattify his seemingly good skin with a powder brush.

A far cry from his act as Parmain Ishaqzaade. Kapoor, son of legendary producer Boney Kapoor, has got the acting chops since he sold the idea of a rakish small-town boy to us with aplomb in his debut film and he takes pride in the way he looks (he lost 50 kilograms before his acting debut).

“There was a time when it was upsetting to look your best. It’s a time consuming process because you often think you look a certain way but then you realise that you don’t when you look into the mirror”
-Bollywood’s rising star Arjun Kapoor
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“The baggage of weight loss has gone. Now my focus is to look fitter and be more active,” said Kapoor in an exclusive interview with tabloid! last week.

“There was a time when it was upsetting to look your best. It’s a time consuming process because you often think you look a certain way but then you realise that you don’t when you look into the mirror.” However, such fears are a thing of the past. Last week, he was presented with the PowerBrands Rising Star award in Dubai.

“Winning an award is a nice feeling because it means that your work is being validated so early in your life. Quite frankly, I never expected Ishaqzaade to put up such huge numbers and get so many accolades,” As far as Bollywood debuts go, he opted for the most unconventional beginnings. “Those days of conventional debuts are gone in Bollywood. Now it’s important to be the character in your film. The formulaic films where the hero gets four songs, two stunts and one romantic scene no longer exists. Ishaqzaade was not meant to announce my arrival.”

Not so long ago, producers’ sons were considered the privileged lot who were handed films that had scope to showcase their dancing and acting skills.

He credits this progress to his contemporary Ranveer Singh, who made his debut in the wedding-planner romance Band Baaja Baarat.

“I am a by-product of his film being successful. If he hadn’t pulled off what he did, then I don’t think I would have been here talking to you. It gave Yash Raj [Ishaqzaade producers] the confidence to take a chance again and to give somebody a break immediately,” said Kapoor. The gamble paid off as Kapoor, 27, got the thumbs up from critics and industry bigwigs, such as Salman Khan.

“He saw the film at a private screening organised by Aditya Chopra. He just said ‘well-done’. He needn’t say anything more than that because I was expecting him to come out and say ‘you messed up’ or that ‘you need to work harder’ but I was content when I heard those two words. That was the point when I felt I had done a good job.”

In an industry that runs on goodwill, a nod from Khan is considered the highest form of flattery. However, Kapoor doesn’t go to the extent of attributing his success to anybody. He says he owes his success to no one, but himself. In his debut act, his chemistry with the firebrand actress Parineeti Chopra and the play-off between the modern-day Romeo and Juliet was talked about long after the curtains came down.

“I don’t owe my success to anybody. Eventually it is you who has to make it. It’s like me telling you that you are sitting here interviewing me because of somebody else. It’s not possible because I am sure you worked your way up. It’s unfair to owe your success to somebody else,” said Kapoor.

He added that it wasn’t easy convincing Ishaqzaade director Habib Faisal to believe that a city-bred youngster, such as him, could play a gun-toting, potty-mouthed small-town role.

“I spent two months convincing him that I can be Parma. Imagine, there’s a film based in Dubai and I am convincing its maker to cast me as a local by proving that I belong here in Dubai. Nothing was easy.” But the struggle seems to be over now,he has gathered a strong fan following and some plum projects.

“Now that’s something I truly didn’t anticipate. I feel blessed that they like me despite my twisted dark ways. I am surprised that Parma did not p*** off the majority of the women out there.”

His next few films are also non-conformist. He has two projects, including Aurangzeb and Gunday, with newbie Ranveer Singh.

“It’s not your run-of-the-mill romance. I can’t speak about it much but it’s exciting times ahead and I am learning to go with the flow.”


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