I have my father’s nose,” says Shraddha Kapoor. But we can’t agree entirely with that, as her father’s nose has always led him into trouble, while hers, she keeps strictly out of anything that might require even mild clarification. Her being a Yash Raj Films talent surely has something to do with it. But then she’s a movie-and-a-half-old, and can be forgiven for wanting to toe the line. Even if it feels a tad too straight and narrow for a 23-year-old.
After playing a small part in the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Teen Patti, Shraddha made her debut with this year’s Luv Ka The End, a teen revenge comedy on the lines of John Tucker Must Die. Not taking into account the plot of the film, which is an exaggerated payback drama, we ask if anything else about the ‘youth’ film rings true in her life. “Well, like my character Rhea, I’m not a giggly ‘pink’ girl. I’m a bit of a tomboy. I do have a group of very close friends since childhood.” But on the question of romantic intrigue in her life, she hems and haws long enough to vie for her own share in the Bollywood piechart of political correctness.
One thing Shraddha doesn’t lack, though, is playfulness with the camera. She twirls for the pictures, strikes a pose, pouts, bats her eyelashes and smiles with the purposefulness of a pinch-hitter. She might still be green behind the ears, but there is no doubt that she belongs to the ‘entitlement generation’ who believe fame and success is only theirs for the plucking. “Acting has been a childhood passion. I was always acting in school plays. When I went to study in Boston, I played the role of Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest and that of Sandy in Grease in college plays.” After watching herself on the big screen, she says she cringed a little, but has learnt to do more homework for her future roles.
While industry propriety demands she be a good girl, there are sparks of youthful brashness. She is forbidden to talk about her link-ups in the press, first with Prateik Babbar and then with a childhood sweetheart, but her eyes twinkle at the mention of their names. She cites Martha O’Connor’s The Bitch Goddess Notebook as being the last book she read, before insisting on talking about how much she loved the Harry Potter series.
However, bring up the subject of her dad Shakti Kapoor, the Bollywood baddie who holds a world record for his extensive filmography and is currently on the reality TV show Bigg Boss, cooped up in a house with 13 women, and Shraddha can’t hold back a smirk, quite like any of us. “He always enjoys being controversial,” she says, adding that he isn’t even half as entertaining on screen as he is at home. “Kids at school used to be very curious about him and ask me how he was in person. So I’d bring them home and my dad would joke around with them and become an instant hit. There should actually be a reality TV crew in my house so people know how funny he really is. I’m Crime Master Gogo’s daughter. How cool is that!”
For Luv Ka The End, Shraddha jokes about the advice she got from her dad on how to portray a vengeful 18-year-old, “He said you just need to be on camera the quarrelsome person that you are at home with me, and you’re set.” But she admits to being inspired by her father’s relentless consistency and perseverance in his career. “Through the years, he’s hardly taken a breather, and whenever he did, it was with his family. He still works out on the treadmill two hours every morning. He tells me he hasn’t had it easy and that he wants me to understand that no matter whose son or daughter you are, there is no substitute for hard work.”
With a Yash Raj Films contract and announcements of future films, Shraddha is busy honing her other talents – dancing and singing. “I think I’m a good singer, like my mother, and I’d love to get a chance to sing. I wish I could’ve sung Tonight for Luv Ka The End. And I love to dance – street jazz, Odissi or even ballet.” In the meantime, she has acquired an Advanced Scuba Diver certificate after performing about 20 dives in a week in Maldives.
But what she’s waiting for, she says, is to do her growing up on the job.