Bollywood Kartik Aaryan hit a proverbial wall when his pet project ‘Shehzada’ ran into a financial crisis.
Normally, such a scenario would have led to a film being stalled or aborted entirely, but the self-made actor Kartik couldn’t imagine such a scenario and came up with a viable solution. He decided to turn producer for the first time in his career and resurrect ‘Shehzada’, out in UAE cinemas on February 17.
“I even let go of my fees and then the co-producers graciously asked me to become a co-producer of the film and that’s how it all started. But honestly, all the hard work were done by them. Today I am speaking to you as an actor alone,” said Aaryan in an interview with Gulf News.
“If something happens to my films, I will always be the first one to do my bit,” he added.
While his co-producers (Bhushan Kumar of T-Series, Allu Arvind and Aman Gill) did all the heavy lifting, Aryan was keen to use his celebrity to drum up buzz for his upcoming entertainer in India and beyond.
'Shehzada' is a Bollywood adaptation of Trivikram Srinivas’ Telugu-language action comedy drama 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo'.
As a part of his promotion drive in the UAE, Aaryan – who’s a big hit among tweens -- interacted with his fans in this region who had gathered to witness the film’s trailer light up the Burj Khalifa skyscraper.
Being mauled and groped by eager female fans is a constant occurrence for this actor and he truly believes that it’s their collective love that has bolstered him to this commanding position in Bollywood. Out of the two dozen-plus releases in his career which kickstarted in 2011, Aryan has largely managed to strike gold at the box office.
And if his latest drama ‘Shehzada’, directed by Rohit Dhawan, sets the box office on fire, then this young talent’s career trajectory will hit stratospheric heights. The makers even decided to postpone their film’s release since Shah Rukh Khan’s comeback action drama ‘Pathaan’ was enjoying a blistering run at the box office. The makers of ‘Shehzada’ delayed their film's release by two weeks to ensure that these films don’t eat each other’s ticket sales.
“‘Pathaan’ is a big, big success. All of us in the industry is so happy and I am such a big fan of Shah Rukh! ... And it just doesn’t make sense to release another film at that time,” said Aaryan.
Their collective decision to wait for 'Pathaan' fever to die down is likely to help them. And let’s not forget that Aaryan has always charmed his fans and the box office.
His last release ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, a wildly funny horror comedy, was a landmark moneyspinner last year and re-instated our faith that there’s still a robust cinema-going audience in the post COVID-19 era.
“‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ re-ignited the box-office business last year. We had ‘houseful’ boards outside the theatres after a long time and everybody was so happy at the way the movie performed because no other film was working at the box-office at that point. And personally, it has been a great year for me in terms of my success with my OTT release ‘Freddy’ and now ‘Shehzada’,” said Aryan.
In ‘Freddy’, Aryan played a wicked dentist and saw him take on a dark role with absolute conviction. He was compelling in that film. But ‘Shehzada’ is an ode to the ‘masala entertainers’ popularised by actors in the ‘70s and ‘90s.
“There’s a void of such masala films right now … As an audience and a fan of Bollywood, I missed it as a viewer and wanted to see such films. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to get his opportunity to play Bantu because I have a strong feeling that people are craving to watch such films,” said Aryan.
In ‘Shehzada’, Aryan plays a young man who realises that he’s the son of a business magnate and he inadvertently ends up having to save his biological father’s family. While he loved doing the larger-than-life action sequences, Aryan claims he reveled in doing the emotionally-charged sequences.
“I love to make people cry because it’s the most vulnerable emotion. I just feel like doing those scenes more … As an actor I want to do all kinds of scenes – comedy, stunts. But I have always found myself gravitating towards emotional scenes. Maybe because I am an emotional guy.” declared Aryan.
He also believes that ‘Shehzada’ could be that perfect Valentine’s Day date film.
“It will make for a great watch … And if you are single, ‘Shehzada’ is a complete package where there’s drama, action, emotional – all rolled into one,” said Aryan.
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‘Shehzada’ is out in UAE cinemas this Friday