Arjun Kapoor unperturbed about comparison with Ranveer Singh in Panipat: ‘I was ready for it’
You are in for a delightful conversation, peppered with some wisdom if you happen to catch actor Arjun Kapoor in a good mood. Though sneezing constantly due to the Delhi weather while we are chatting, he says, “I am from Mumbai, but my heart beats for Delhi all the time.”
Bagging his first period film, Panipat
Is Panipat, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the first period film that he was offered, or there have been offers previously too? “First,” says Arjun. “You have to earn these films, they are not available to you when you start your career, primarily because of the personalities you have to portray. You have to fill yourself out emotionally and mentally, to be able to perform. I remember I was shocked when I had the narration for Panipat, that such a patriotic story had not been told, about the Maratha valour against outsiders, which got lost in history.”
What further shocked Arjun was his arch nemesis in Panipat. “I asked Ashu sir ‘who are you thinking for Ahmad Shah Abdali’s role?’, he said he’s signed Sanjay Dutt. I was paranoid to stand in front of him, which is a big, daunting task. I couldn’t be a boy, I had to become a man. If you stand like a boy, he will use you like a teddy bear and throw you aside!,” laughs the 34-year old.
‘Failure teaches you even more’
Arjun admits that his last two releases — Namaste England and India’s Most Wanted (IMW) didn’t meet commercial expectations. Also, his offbeat films such as Finding Fanny (2014) and Aurangzeb (2013) didn’t work at the box office. “I wear my films on my sleeve, they are all mine. I thrive on commercial success like any other mainstream commercial hero because that’s a responsibility I have taken up by choosing to be the main face of a poster. But I don’t tom-tom when my films do well, or disown them when they don’t. They are a result of team effort. My 2 States (2014) is incomplete without the rest of the team, and for IMW, I am as responsible as anyone else involved in the film,” he says.
He adds, “Success teaches a lot, but failure teaches even more. It can’t dishearten me as I love being part of films, but we are prepared to face flops. It hurts and bothers you that somebody is losing money because your film didn’t do well. It matters, because my dad’s [Boney Kapoor] a producer. Until Mubarakan (2017), I was proud of the fact that nobody had lost money on my films. But my last two films have been financial failures.”
Comparisons with Ranveer Singh
Ever since the trailer of Panipat came out, people have been comparing Arjun’s look to Ranveer Singh’s from Bajirao Mastani (2015), and the tone of the film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epics. But Arjun is unperturbed. “I was ready for it, because authenticity breeds comparisons. Bhansali sir is authentic, and so is Ashutosh sir. They would not shy away from showing exactly what may have transpired. If I had not gone bald, just to protect myself from the comparisons with Ranveer, I would be dishonest to the film, era, and hurt more people’s sentiments. I will take the comparisons on my chin, because that means we have got it right. Thus, the overlap visually and in tonality,” he says.
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