An audition clipping of ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ clinched her the role in ‘Aaha Kalyanam’ and Vaani Kapoor hopes she can be convincing in the part of a Tamil Brahmin
Vaani Kapoor walked into the portals of Yash Raj Films and gave numerous auditions like any other aspiring actress. One among the audition videos was a scene from Band Baaja Baaraat, where Shruti (Anushka Sharma) confronts Bittoo (Ranveer Singh) post interval. That audition, Vaani learnt later, helped her clinch the role in the Tamil-Telugu remake. “I had to go through a number of auditions; Shuddh Desi Romance didn’t come to me easily. There was a scene from Jab We Met, two from Band Baaja…,” says the svelte actress, speaking to us while in town to promote Aaha Kalyanam, the remake of Band Baaja Baaraat.
While shooting for Shuddh Desi Romance, news was out that the production house was keen on remaking Band Baaja… in Tamil and Telugu. “During a meeting, Adi (Aditya Chopra) said he felt I’d be able to do the character of Shruti. But he insisted I learn the language,” says Vaani.
Vaani grew up in Delhi, worked in the hospitality industry in Jaipur before moving to Mumbai. Though she had Tamil and Telugu friends in her midst, acting in a regional film would be no cake walk. “I understood the importance of getting the lip sync right. It’s important that the audience is able to relate to what you’re saying,” she says.
Director Gokul Krishna and his team, she says, gave her the Tamil lines with English translation and helped her master the diction. “Gokul would teach me where to stress and coordinate that with the emotions. I would in turn translate these lines to Hindi to get the rhythm; I didn’t look at my dialogues as a string of words that I could memorise,” she says.
The one-film-old actress is a bundle of nerves and says with all earnestness, “I’ve worked hard for the film and hope I’ve been able to do justice to the part of Shruti Subramaniam, a Tamil Brahmin living in a cosmopolitan locality. I could relate to the character because like her, I am strong, independent, ambitious and yet sensitive.”
Vaani had watched Band Baaja… soon after the release and didn’t re-visit the film once she was signed for the remake. “I erased all memories of the film so that I could approach the role fresh. Anushka was brilliant; but we both have different demeanours. It would look fake if tried to copy her.”
Aaha Kalyanam is not part of her three-film contract with Yash Raj Films. “I’m on a contract like other newcomers with the production house but I don’t know the next two films I’m going to be part of. In the meantime, I’m free to take up other projects,” she says, adding that Aditya Chopra is her sounding board for new projects. “I am new to the industry and rely on his opinion.”
Ask her if she would choose projects gauging the longevity of the character offered to her or merely going by commercial viability and she quips, “I feel like a small fish in an ocean. I want to feel happy doing a good film and don’t want to look at cinema with a materialistic yardstick. If I were to sway in that direction, I hope my family puts me back on track.”
Cinema is a window through which she is looking to interact with the world. “I had a sheltered childhood. My internship with Oberoi hotels and later working with the ITC group in Jaipur helped me get a better exposure; I got to meet expatriates and get acquainted with people from different parts of the country,” she says, trying to take her mind off the pain emanating from her fractured toe. Walking with a slight limp, she discloses having injured her toe while working out. “I was clumsy and dropped a barbell on my feet. I hope I’ll be able to hit the gym again, soon,” she says.
The ‘other remake’
In the last few days, the cast and crew of Aaha Kalyanam has been quizzed about the prospects of the film considering that Nandini Reddy’s Jabardasth starring Siddharth and Samantha were on similar lines, though hinged on event management as opposed to wedding planners. Without taking the name of the film, actor Nani remarked in a lighter vein, “We have only five or six basic stories from which 100s and 1000s of films are being made. We cannot help it if the audience feels 100 per cent happy with the ‘other’ film. We’d suggest people watch this fun-filled remake afresh.”