He started his Bollywood journey with a bang, with hits like Ishaqzaade (2012), 2 States (2014) and Gunday (2014). But Arjun Kapoor admits that people started doubting his potential after the failure of Tevar (2015). As he bounces back with his latest release, Ki & Ka, the actor tells us more.
Was the period between Tevar and Ki & Ka tough?
In the past one year, a lot of people must have assumed that it is going to be very difficult for me to make it back [into the industry]. It is very unfair when you deliver just one flop, and people start saying things like, ‘His career is going to be in the doldrums.’ But that’s how fickle the industry and the media’s perceptions are. I just believed in myself.
Watch Ki & Ka trailer here:
Were you aware of what people were thinking about you?
Of course, I was. You can sense how people are looking at you or perceiving you. They were thinking, ‘He is on the borderline, if another one of his films doesn’t work, he’ll have to pack-up.’ But all this is just loose talk; they don’t mean any harm. Nonetheless, that’s the vibe I got. It happens to the biggest stars too. That’s when you have to fight back, and believe in yourself the most.
You have had setbacks in the past too…
In the past, too, I was told, ‘You can’t be an actor’. Then I did Ishaqzaade (2012). I was told, ‘You can’t do anything apart from action’. Then I did 2 States (2014). I was told, ‘You can’t host a TV show’. Then I did Khatron Ke Khiladi (he was the host). Then, I was told, ‘You won’t be able to deliver a hit on your own after Tevar’. But I have delivered Ki & Ka now. So, I have always been the underdog, and I like fighting against all odds. People will keep saying things. You just have to keep working.
Honestly speaking, do star kids have an edge over others?
Your success can’t be determined by your surname, but only by your work. For instance, actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan came out of nowhere, and have become superstars.
So, there are no advantages of belonging to a film family?
When you come from within the industry, you are better prepared for the industry. For example, you see your family deal with the nonsense that is written in the papers, or the highs and lows of a hit and a flop. Also, you have already been on a film set, so you are never scared of being on one. Yes, [for us] the door is open. But once we are part of the industry, we have to deliver, or else, we won’t make it. There are so many examples of industry kids who haven’t made it.
How confident were you about your latest film?
When films like these work, they validate you as an actor and a person. This movie was dependent on me a lot. So, to pull it off, I had to be sure that the audience wants to watch me. Sometimes, it is important for actors to take risky decisions.
Do you think people’s perception of you has changed again after Ki & Ka?
I haven’t met too many people since the release of Ki & Ka. But there are certain people who have always backed me, like my family and friends. A lot of people in the trade and in the media have also supported me; so, not everyone was against me. I think people are surprised that this film has done well as most of them believed that it won’t. It is nice to, sometimes, surprise and shock people.
Has the last one-and-a-half year put you on the back foot or on the front foot, when it comes to your career?
Definitely on the front foot, because I was like, ‘Okay, so I can handle this too’. For me, the emotional loss [of Tevar, which was a home production, not doing well] was much more than what anyone else must have experienced. But I fought through that, and landed on my feet. Very early in my career I saw the way people perceived me. But now, I am seeing another change.
Did it hurt when negative things were being said about you?
An actor is defined by the choices he or she makes. A lot of people will say a lot of things. Every month, you are offered one good film. But you choose to do only one film at a time. Then when that one movie does not work, a 100 people come and tell you, ‘See, I told you so’. But when a project does work, then you can say, ’I know what I am doing’. Even when no one else backs you, you have to back yourself.
Are you more cautious while choosing films now?
There is value in doing one film at a time. No matter how many movies I sign, I won’t shoot for two of them at the same time. I won’t say I am cautious, since I go by what appeals to me. So, I can’t be scared [of taking up movies]. It’s not analytical. I’m very impulsive and, sometimes, I’m moody when it comes to signing films.
Is there a genre that you consider your comfort zone, as an actor?
No actor should have a comfort zone. Every time you take up a film, you should discover new things about yourself, and so should the audience. I think the comfort zone is what kills actors, especially when they start repeating themselves. So, my upcoming movie, an adaptation of the book, Half Girlfriend, doesn’t fall under any comfort zone. I don’t ever want to be overconfident, and think, ‘Arre, yeh toh main sambhal lunga (I will easily be able to do this movie)’. You should always feel anxious when you step on the sets of your film.
Watch Tevar trailer here:
Have you ever analysed what went wrong with Tevar?
During Tevar, I felt a bit distracted because my father was the producer, so in a way, I also got involved in the production of the film. So, I feel I was operating at only 90% as an actor. I gave my 100% during my takes, but somewhere, my energies weren’t only invested in acting. Now, whenever I work with dad again, I will be a bit more detached from the production and direction side of things. That’s what I have learnt because that stress is unnecessary; acting anyway is a stressful job.