It has been nine years since Sonam Kapoor made her Bollywood debut with Saawariya (2007). Ever since, the actor has steadily created a niche for herself in the industry. In a telephonic interview from Los Angeles, USA, Sonam shares with HT Café her thoughts on completing nine years in B-Town.
You complete nine years in Bollywood on November 9. How has the journey been?
It has been a pretty interesting journey. I know it’s a generic thing to say, but I have learnt a lot. Isn’t that the whole point of growing up? To learn with every step that you take? It’s been a satisfying and fulfilling journey. As a human being, I feel evolution is the most important thing.
You are being looked at as a hot contender for all the awards next year, thanks to your performance in Neerja.
I don’t know how it will work out. I feel a movie is much more precious than any award. It’s something (awards) that I am not yet thinking about. When you think about the fruits of labour, they never come to you.
So, it’s best to enjoy the process. The appreciation [you get for a movie] is as rewarding as the process [of making one], but it’s also like a cherry on top, or an added benefit. Playing Neerja and working with Ram (Madhvani; director) and all the actors, besides meeting the Bhanot family, is a reward in itself.
All along, you have been called ‘too bold’, ‘forthright’, ‘outspoken’ and even ‘tactless’ for your honest opinions.
Out of 100 journalists, only one or two people will say that about me, and that’s an opinion. I can’t grudge them for having an opinion. I don’t take anything personally. Honestly, some people are very judgmental, but I am not at all judgmental. It’s a reflection of who they are, and they are sexist.
If a man says the same thing, it’s cool. But [coming] from a woman, it sounds ‘tactless’. Recently, I had gone to a charity gala, and one or two people wrote that I was dressed like Kate Middleton for a charity gala. But I was dressed like Sonam Kapoor, and how I dress has got nothing to do with what I am trying to do for people.
It’s something I am passionate about. So, as a journalist, you are being very judgmental, and that’s a reflection of the person’s narrow-mindedness and preconceived notions! How can I be upset about that? I feel sorry for [the journalist], as it has got nothing to do with me.
Even after the success of Neerja and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015), you don’t seem to be in a rush to sign films?
I have never been in a rush. I do one or two films in a year. For me, it’s important to be passionate about what I do. I need to wake up in the morning and feel strongly about going to work. If I were in the rat race, I would have been in an entirely different position (smiles).
I feel doing films such as Neerja and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo have made my career satisfying because I have done these movies on my own terms and without playing any game. But, I am still a contender.
I have been reading a lot of scripts, and I have got several offers. But I need to be passionate about what I do. I want to go to work and be like, “Oh my God, this is something that I am dying to do.”
Your personal life seems to be back in the news…
My personal life is never in the news, unless people want to make speculations. I will never discuss it because there is a lot of sanctity to it. I give my personal life a lot of respect, and discussing it takes that away. When the time is right, I might be open about it.
I am open about my life with the people I love and care about. I will never hide anything from them. But, I won’t discuss it with the media. My personal life is nobody’s business, but my own.
You have also been doing a lot of charity work. Is it a good idea for celebs to use their influence for social causes?
I have been doing it for many years, but it’s getting a lot of media coverage now. I am happy about helping out a certain foundation or a charitable organisation. Sometimes, you lose hope and feel, “What is all this (fame and money) for?”
Since you have taken so much [from society], you want to give back, and that’s what I have been trying to do. I am sensitive towards people and towards the world. I don’t ever want to be desensitised [towards society]. So, not just me, but everyone should give back in whatever capacity they can.
You said in an interview that Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t want to work with you.
No, I didn’t say it like that (smiles).
Apparently, you also said that male stars take the casting calls in a film, which Shraddha Kapoor has refuted in an interview.
I have known Shraddha since we were kids. She is my age and we have grown up together. So I think she is reacting to a statement that has been misquoted.
So, what did you really say?
Somebody asked me if I would like to work with SRK, and I said, “Of course, I would love to work with him when he wants to.” I have just not had the opportunity. He is in a unique position, where he takes the calls [about the actresses he wants to work with].
Yes, a lot of calls are taken by directors and I only work with those directors who take that call. So, all I said was that I will work with him when he wants to, and whenever there’s a role and an opportunity. But whatever I said was misinterpreted.
Even Mr Khan called me up and asked if the statement was true. And I said, “No, it’s not. I didn’t say it like that. You have known me for many years and it (the statement) is not what [the reports say] it is.’ Since film-making is a collaborative effort, I will work with him when the director, actor, the rest of the cast and everyone else is in consensus about working with me. Till now, I have not had that chance. That’s all I said.
Is it true that you have been auditioning for work in Hollywood?
If there is something that excites me, and if there is a good opportunity, then why not? I am in Los Angeles, to gauge at the possibilities. I am not going to hide it (trying to bag a film in the West) from anybody, and then suddenly announce that I have signed a [Hollywood] film.
I am trying my best to sign good films. I am doing the same in Mumbai as well. But I have to see what I enjoy doing, and who I can work with or what I can work on.