Kiara Advani: As an actor, I just want my films to reach as many people as possible
Calling it her “first interview post Covid”, Kiara Advani sounds excited, and somewhat liberated that life is slowly getting back to normal, and people are finally stepping out and resuming work. “I took one day at a time in all these months, and it’s so funny that we adapt to any situation so fast,” she quips, adding that, she started going out when work resumed in the industry. “The new normal is quite different. Everyone is being cautious, and I feel you’ve to feel safe when you’re ready to go back to work. We need to move on now, in the safest manner possible,” she adds. Looking forward to her next, Laxmii, which is releasing on the web, Advani gets talking about the film, OTT boom, how the last seven months have been for her, restarting shoots and the way forward.
During this pandemic and lockdown, have there been any fresh learnings?
I took it one day at a time. For me, spending time with my family, watching great content, subscribing to a lot of master classes, and broadening my horizons, was all that mattered. I’ve also been indulging in a lot of food both eating and cooking healthy desserts. I tried yoga and meditation, too,. I quite started enjoying being with myself. Not that it was hard before, but I indulged in it more now because I had the time to. And now, everyone is ready to start again, and fresh.
Upon resuming work, did you shoot for any of your upcoming films?
I had three films lined up for release, but after the lockdown (in March), we had a little bit of work on all those, so I started with them first. I shot for a song for Indoo Ki Jawani, then the last scene of Laxmii was pending, besides dubbing work and a lot of brand shoots. So, all the films that are coming out, we’re getting them ready first. The first film shoot I’ll start this month, and then Bhool Bhoolaiya 2 in January 2021. I believe fear is worse than the virus, so we’ve to take precautions and be responsible during this time.
Now that cinemas are slowly opening, do you still wish for Laxmii to have a theatrical release?
I’m really happy that people will finally get to watch the film because it has been waiting for so long. Honestly, nobody knew seven months ago what was going to happen the way things were going, so that’s the producer’s call (to release it online). Naturally, the film is made for a theatrical release, so we’ll miss the community watching aspect, as a film like this in a theatre would have been extremely exciting, but it’ll also be beautiful in your home. As an actor, I just want my films to reach as many people as possible, and we’ve made Laxmii for the masses. Also, in all these months, we’ve been grateful because OTT platforms and TV have been our only sources of entertainment, and I’m sure once theatres reopen in Maharashtra, both can coexist like earlier.
With Lust Stories (2018) and Guilty earlier this year, you’ve already experienced the power of OTT. Does that restore your faith in the medium?
It’s all so interesting. When I did Guilty, creatively there was a lot of liberty given, and that’s why a film like that got me a lot of critical appreciation. It was really loved on the OTT and also reached a wider audience. So, web really opens the horizon because there are so many foreign films that people are watching in so many different languages that it pushes your boundaries — as artistes, as filmmakers, as writers, and content creators. There’s so much out there. Hence, everybody is charged up to put their best foot forward and bring something new to the table. Audience also — having consumed so much more on OTTs during the lockdown — wants fresh content. It’s like a challenge to continue entertaining them with new and exciting stuff on OTT.
After Kabir Singh (a remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy), Laxmii is again a remake of a south film, Kanchana. Does it get you excited or more nervous about the comparisons?
Clearly butterflies never end, and they’re there with every film. But as for doing a lot of South remakes, in this also, the director, Raghava (Lawrence) sir has directed the original (as was the case with Kabir Singh), and he’s so brilliant and he’ll literally show Akshay (Kumar) sir how to walk, the talk and the mannerisms. He does it so beautifully that it’s so effortless and nuanced.
After Good Newwz (2019), how was it collaborating with Akshay again, more so because this time you’re paired with him?
Working with Akshay sir is the best experience because you learn so much. It’s always fun and good energy with him on the set. When we were shooting Good Newwz, somehow we’d start early and pack up super early, so we never even had time to interact. But, during Laxmii’s shoot — since it’s a horror comedy and we’ll shoot lots of scenes in the evening and at night — so, Akshay sir had made a lounge room where all the principle cast, the director and producer would sit and have all our meals together. It just kept everyone’s energy up and the vibe is always happy and positive. Everyone came there excited to work. A lot of credit goes to Akshay sir because that’s something he brings to that set. He’s a team player who likes everybody to have fun. We also have kids in the film, so he’ll be doing tricks with them and joking. He’ll always be so full of life and energy, and that’s an amazing quality, very admirable and inspiring.
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