“Aurangzeb” might not have found a rousing welcome at the box office, but Arjun Kapoor has taken another step as the new age Kapoor.
“Let the actor converse with the camera. Don’t save him by fast-paced editing because today’s audience can see through the stylish gimmicks.” No, this is not a seasoned actor giving tips to the new crop of filmmakers. It is two-film-old Arjun Kapoor sharing his idea of a performance. If Ishaqzaade announced his arrival as a young actor from a film family who is ready to take a rather ‘unromantic’ route, past week’s release Aurangzeb confirmed that this boy will not try the trusted. “I am enjoying it because I am asked to play characters which exist in a zone to which I don’t belong. My idea of acting is to play what I am not.”
Family feud and planting a look-alike mole in rival’s family is nothing new for Bollywood potboilers. “That is only the first 20 minutes of the film,” counters Arjun. “The rest is about how the relationships pan out and you must realise my generation of audience have not seen such stories. This is a new zone for my generation of audience but those who have grown up watching Hindi cinema of 70s and 80s will feel it is a tribute.”
Arjun feels in the last few years the element of emotion is diminishing in our films. “We are emphasising a lot on glamour and glitz. Our audience is known to connect emotionally with cinema but we seem to be forgetting it. The confrontation works when there is an emotional build up.” The film, says Arjun, asks a relevant question. “Do you see your family as strength or a handicap in your pursuit for power?”
Dialogues play a key role in Aurangzeb. Arjun says that they are not claptrap. He gives a sample. “Ladaiyan sasti nahin hoti, agar hoti to har koi nahin lad leta. It describes the crux.” Arjun says director Atul Sabharwal has grown up in Gurgaon and knows the subject really well. “It helps, and when he said that he will shoot in Gurgaon I was very happy. When you have a real estate firm’s logo showing from a skyscraper, you don’t have to act as much,” he quips.
Arjun seems to love winding the audience up against him through his characters. “It is a facet that I bring out convincingly but I sign a film keeping in mind the entire journey of the character. He might be the worst person when the film begins but by the end he should be able to leave an impact. I like to explore characters which are little different from normal people.” Of course twins are not easy to delineate. “I worked on the walk, eye contact, and manner of speaking to make Ajay different from Vishal. I hope people catch it,” he muses.
After Aurangzeb, Arjun will have his first brush with onscreen romance (opposite Alia Bhatt) with the adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel 2 States. “I won’t be a chocolate boy. I will be an ice cream boy!” he assures. “It is about a geek. A girl starts liking him because he is different and the way the boy tries to convince her parents and his parents, it becomes a twisted romantic story.”
But before that, he adds, Gunday also has a romantic track. Of course, how can we forget it? The film has Priyanka Chopra, his senior, cast opposite him. He was an assistant director on Salaam-e-Ishq where Priyanka Chopra was the heroine opposite Salman Khan, who is a mentor of sorts for Arjun. “Nothing has changed for me. At that time I used to say madam, shot ready hai. I still say the same sentence just add hamarey saath. Credit goes to her that she looks at me in the same way. She was my friend then and she is my friend now.”
If Gunday is a period film shot in Kolkata, Aurangzeb, he says, is a story of today’s India, but an India which Bollywood generally doesn’t focus on, often. “Audience want to know what is happening in the lanes and by lanes of India. They have enough of shining packages. And I like that industry is giving chances to new voices. Recently, we shot in Ahmedabad for 2 States. Some years back a producer would have cheated it in a university in Canada.”
By December, Arjun will come to the family fold as father Boney Kapoor will launch the remake of Telugu hit Okkadu. And of course there is a sequel of Mr. India in the pipeline. “There is nothing concrete to share but my father is at it. I want to give one year to the film provided I am selected,” he signs off.