Arjun Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha went to school together. But ask if they were friends back then, and he reveals he was afraid to even speak to girls.As we meet at the Fever 104 FM office, they talk about working together on the upcoming film, Tevar; Arjun also talks about going the extra mile for a home production.
Do you feel added pressure as Tevar is produced by your family’s banner?
Arjun: I didn’t think of it when I was doing the film. It’s been a personal experience for me as I got into this profession only because I wanted to work with my father. For me, this film is an achievement as I can now stand on stage with my uncle (co-producer Sanjay Kapoor), and my father, and give the film that darja (status) that a home production deserves. I worked hard... Beyond that, the fate of the film is depends on the audience. In case of other films, I get detached after shooting, but for this one I’m working on it (promotional activities) every day.
Wouldn’t you do that for any other film?
Arjun: If a producer asks me to be part of the making of the trailer, provide inputs to the marketing team, I’d do it. I don’t do it usually because they don’t want me to be involved. With this one, I didn’t want my father to be burdened with all these things.
We heard that Tevar overshot its budget.
Arjun: My father is known for his larger-than-life films. We hadn’t set any budget, and there has to be a budget to go over it. The cost has been justified by the film; we’ve put our best foot forward. I don’t think we went over budget, primarily because we didn’t have to deal with the hero’s fee.
Why haven’t you signed any new films?
Arjun: The movies being offered to me aren’t exciting. I’ve been through so much in the last two years, pushing myself. Aurangzeb (2013) was a drama; Gunday (2014) was a commercial potboiler; 2 States (2014) a romantic film; and then Finding Fanny (2014) an ensemble English film. I’ve explored enough. Currently, I’ve liked some scripts and the discussions are on.
Sonakshi and you went to the same school. Did that help now?
Arjun: We were in the same school, but we weren’t friends. I knew her brothers (Luv and Kush) better than her. I used to be scared of myself (sic); how do you think I’d be friends with girls then? My first interaction with her was when I heard that she was doing Dabangg (2010).
What made you pick Tevar?
Arjun: I had seen Okkadu (2003; Telugu film that Tevar is a remake of) even before I became an actor. I liked the idea of an ordinary boy in an extraordinary situation, trying to save the girl not because of love, but because it’s the right thing to do. Incidentally, back then, Amitji’s (Amitabh Bachchan) production house was making a film called Ranveer with Amitji and Abhishek (Bachchan) and it was a similar script. At this point, I wasn’t aware that I’d be making my debut with Ishaqzaade (2012). So, we continued looking for a director for the film (Okkadu remake). I was clear that it should not be a frivolous masala film, so we worked on the script to make it believable. The trailer has been appreciated because it feels real.
Sonakshi: Arjun gave me the film’s DVD and I liked it. Arjun: She did the film because she wanted to work with me.
Wasn’t the title registered with Aditya Chopra?
Arjun: I loved the word when I heard it for the first time. Ishaqzaade was earlier titled Tevar; that was the title when I read the script. I requested Adi for the title and he handed it to me. Everyone has an attitude in this film; it is this attitude that gets my character into situations.
Both of you have faced weight issues in the past. Now, you both sport toned physiques. Did you exchange fitness tips on the sets?
Arjun: No. We were shooting at such places where food would be our last concern. We shot in the cold, fog, in extreme heat where people would fall unconscious. We shot for 105 days and it was gruesome. She had to do all the stunts with me.
Sonakshi: I used to eat his food. He used to bring really nice and tasty healthy food. With me, if my food is healthy, it wouldn’t taste good, and vice versa.
Sonakshi, when will you start work on director AR Murugadoss’s film?
Sonakshi: By mid-January…
You will be seen doing some action sequences in the film. Have you started practicing for them?
Sonakshi: No, not yet. I spoke to Murugadoss sir and he said he will speak to the action directors and probably fly down experts from Los Angeles, USA, to train me. I am really looking forward to it. It sounds so exciting.
In the past, you’ve had two films releasing around the same time (Bullett Raja and R…Rajkumar; both 2013). Last year, it happened again with Lingaa and Action Jackson…
Sonakshi: Unfortunately, I don’t have a say in the release dates of my films. Somehow, this ends up being a situation every year. I hope it doesn’t happen this year too. I guess I have been able to manage it pretty well so far. Films release every week, and every film has its own audience, so I believe that viewers can pick which film they want to watch based on whether they like the trailer.