She calls herself a “dreamer” and her cousin, Arjun Kapoor, feels she lives in her “own bubble”. But Sonam Kapoor can zap you with her strong and uninhibited views on not just acting and her career, but other worldly matters as well. As the actor celebrates her birthday on June 9, we get chatting with her about her career, life and other plans.
Which was a more special year – 2007 (she made her Bollywood debut) or 2016 (two big hits)?
It has to be 2016, as I believe in bettering my life with every passing year. With every film, I want to evolve. Next year, I will say it’s 2017. Every year, you have to learn from every opportunity, mistakes, success and failures. You get to learn and evolve as a human being and an artiste. Every year is my best year. Every year, I have become better and my life has become better and wider because that’s main purpose is to become better – as an actor, artiste, human being, daughter, sister and even friend. I hope I become better every year; so I hope every year is my best year. We have to keep evolving.
But hasn’t last year been path-breaking?
If you look at the start of my career, Delhi-6 (2009), Aisha (2010), Mausam (2011) and Raanjhanaa (2013) were my building blocks, as people started taking me seriously. Raanjhanaa turned things for me and then came Khoobsurat (2014). By then, you want people to trust you as an artiste; they spend money to watch your films. They need to constantly be gratified. With all this, Neerja happened. So, it was like a final stamp of approval that, “this girl can do a good job and it won’t be disappointing to spend money on her films.”
Have you become wiser over the years?
A wiser person, for sure. With wisdom, you can cultivate intelligence. So, it’s important to have an EQ (emotional quotient) and be wise as opposed to have an IQ (intelligence quotient) and not be wise. What will you do with the intelligence if you don’t have the wisdom to use it?
What do you want, commercial success or critical acclaim?
I want both. You make films for people and those same people (audiences) react to your films. Reviews matter, especially for the kind of films I do, like Neerja, as they aren’t the masala entertainers. And you want your movies to do well so that you get more work.
But do you feel you have come into your own now?
I feel there’s still a long way to go. I will never say that I know it all. It’s a wrong attitude.
What’s more important for you — fashion or acting?
Obviously acting. I turn out well because I don’t care about what people think. I only dress for myself. Once you have the confidence and you own whatever you wear, it will automatically look nice.
But you are more than just an actor…
Actor, activist and even entrepreneur. Eventually, people will see what they want to. I have never apologised for who I am. And people recognise that. I have never shied away from being who I am. I have never been embarrassed for the mistakes I have made. It’s all about being yourself. When you stand up for what is right and you have a certain world view, where you have the responsibility to be a certain person and you take your work seriously, people see that. I take my work very seriously, eventually that pays off.
You are never afraid to speak your mind. Are you never scared?
I don’t care. Lack of self-preservation and youth power (laughs). You feel no one can touch you. On a serious note, it’s about being responsible. I think it’s bad karma to not stand up for what’s right; to even sit on the fence is like taking side of the wrong person. I don’t trust such people. As they say, “Everyone’s friend is no one’s friend.” If anyone asks me for an opinion or to take a side, I will always do that. You have to always stand up for what you believe in. I have got a platform and it would be irresponsible of me to not do that.
What matters to you more — awards or appreciation?
Awards are always nice, but rewards and appreciation can give you a kick too (laughs). When I meet people and they tell me what they think of my work and how it has impacted them, that is way more important than an award. Awards are great cherries on top. I have been nominated, but I have never lobbied for them. I don’t think it’s as fixed as everyone thinks it’s. People are trying to be idealistic, but as Arjun says, ‘I live in my own bubble.’ But I am always happy and positive. I would rather see best in people and not be cynical about.
Is there ever a pressure of being Anil Kapoor’s daughter?
There’s a saying that not much grows under a banyan tree, but if sun shines bright enough, the shadow can grow. I will always be proud of my father’s daughter. He has worked very hard to give all of us a good life. I will never disrespect him by saying that there are pitfalls to being Anil Kapoor’s daughter. He’s the best dad, a great man and best artiste in the country. If I don’t work as hard as him to make him proud, then that will make me an irresponsible daughter. I revel in the pressure and I acknowledge it. And at the same time, there are no negatives to being his daughter. There are only positives.
Are you a dreamer or a practical person?
I am a dreamer. I am practical for other people, but I feel I think from heart and make decisions from my heart and soul; and not think too much. I have a lot of dreams, but the biggest one is to constantly work, never stop working, to be happily married.
Are you thinking of marriage?
I want to be in love. I want to find the love of my life and spend the rest of my life with him. I want to be responsible, find happiness and work till the day I die. I want to have kids. I want to save the world and work towards making my country a better place. My biggest dream is to make the world a better place. They are very simple dreams.
What are your yet-to-be-fulfilled aspirations?
I want to direct films. That might happen in a year or two. I will keep acting. I want to work with a lot of good actors whom I have met in the industry; and Swara (Bhaskar) is one of them. I can’t direct my father, but he can direct me, if he wants. Dad and I are very similar as people, so there’s always going to be a clash, I guess (smiles). And I am very aware to not use my father to prop myself up. I don’t want his persona as an actor to be affected due to my shortcomings.
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