Just two films old, Arjun Kapoor is already considered among Bollywood’s top young talents. Here, he discusses his equation with co-star Ranveer Singh, their alleged tiff over actor Anushka Sharma and how his cousin, actor Sonam Kapoor (who happened to walk in half-way through this interview), is his possessive, mother-like sibling.
You used to be very reserved. Now, you seem more open. Is this Ranveer’s influence?
It’s not just about one person. I’ve now let my guard down because I’m getting respect from the audience, the media and the fraternity in general. But yes, Ranveer has had an impact on me as a person, in a good way. He’s a positive guy. Whatever the media disliked about him a few years ago is exactly what they like about him now.
Reportedly, your equation with him had soured over Anushka.
If we had a problem, we wouldn’t be doing a film together. We decided that we had each other’s phone numbers to clarify things, and not use newspapers. We met at a party and said, ‘You and I both keep the faith. Let’s not jeopardise our friendship over trivial issues.’ Now, I don’t want our friendship to be jinxed.
Do you get enough time to spend with your family?
I’m so busy with work that I barely get to meet my sister Anshula. I feel very bad. But Sonam checks on me like a mother now. She calls every week, asking if she should send something to eat, or if I need anything else. She has become this mother-father-brother-sister.
Does she give you advice too?
Professionally, we have a very non-interfering relationship. She is known for her own choices and in the same way, she wants me to create my own personality. Personally, yes, I have to take Sonam’s ‘aashirwad’ (blessings) before I settle with any girlfriend or even befriend a girl (laughs).
And you are okay with it?
Sonam is a possessive sister. During school, she would use me as an older brother as per her convenience. I will be aware of her opinion if someone steps into my life. I (will) need acceptance and validation. Sonam will say, ‘I have given my opinion, now you take a call.’
Your past two films were solo projects while Gunday is a two-hero movie. Do you feel the spotlight will be divided?
When you start thinking in terms of the hero or the heroine, your view becomes myopic. And it would be wrong to talk about insecurity since the film is about brotherhood and friendship. Ranveer and I knew each other before we became actors. And if Aditya Chopra and Ali Abbas Zafar have trusted us, it would be stupid to let insecurity and similar issues come in the way.
Your characters in Ishaqzaade (2012) and Gunday seem similar in terms of their looks — rugged and tough.
I worked very hard on my physique even during Ishaqzaade because I’m not that kind of a person in real life (rugged). Gunday was a bigger challenge. I started work to get into better shape way in advance for the role. There’s a certain attitude that reflects from your body language, if you have grown up on the streets.
How was the experience of working with Priyanka?
While working on Ishaqzaade, I would often joke with Parineeti (Chopra) to tell her sister to work with me. Also, during Salaam-E-Ishq (2007), when I was an assistant and Priyanka was acting in the film, I would go to her van and say, “Madam, shot ready hai” (Madam, the shot is ready). But she was a friend earlier, and now she’s an even closer friend.