He’s delivered two big hits this year and is among a young and versatile breed of actors. Aditya Roy Kapur talks to Soumita Sengupta about what success means to him and the genres he would like to experiment with
Has life changed after Aashiqui 2 became a superhit?
People are bound to change when they become successful. It’s only human. Now I have better opportunities, I am in a better position to choose projects and people are treating me differently. After you do a successful film, you start getting quality offers compared to earlier. Other than that, I still hang out with my school friends. But I have also become a recognisable face after Aashiqui 2 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and I have to be careful about what I do, where I go and how I act.
Have you changed your style of functioning, considering the projects you’re selecting now?
That’s an interesting question. Earlier, I used to go with my gut-feeling and with what I felt was right. Although I still do that, my mind plays tricks and I have begun to second-guess myself. All of a sudden, you’re in a place where you have something to lose but you can’t let that affect the way you accept projects. I think it’s very important to react to a story from the audience’s perspective.
After Aashiqui 2 and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, there are certain expectations from you. Have you started looking at only good directors and meaty roles?
I have always looked for good directors. For me, the director of a film is very important. It doesn’t matter whether you play the lead role or second lead. What matters more is whether the audience remembers your character or not. So I have always looked at directors because he is the captain of the ship; an actor is just an employee.
Are you getting a variety of roles and offers that are different from the usual ‘Friday films’?
This is a time when the films being made are very different from the run-of-the-mill stuff. People are making movies on different kinds of subjects and these films are also becoming commercially successful. If my films had become successful a few years ago, I would have probably been typecast. I believe it’s a very exciting time to be an actor because you’re not getting those typical roles. Every project has a different genre; it is set in a different era and different mood. There is a wide variety of stuff happening in our industry.
I started Yeh Jawaani… months before I shot for Aashiqui 2. But Aashiqui 2 released before Yeh Jawaani. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t change anything. It was a great film, I made some amazing friends on the sets and I had some great experiences. And I was working back-to-back so there was no time to think. Yeh Jawaani… was also a great project. So I was not in two minds at all.
Both your previous films were based on youngsters. Is there any particular genre you want to work with now?
Actually, I never actually debated whether I prefer romantic films or comedy but I have grown up watching action films. I have watched every Bruce Lee, Van Damme, Jackie Chan and Sylvester Stallone film and love watching them even today. I would love doing an action film; I would love to hold a shotgun and shoot the bad guys. It would be so much fun! I think I would also like to do comedy. It’s important not to restrict yourself.
You are currently shooting in Lucknow for Yash Raj Films’ Daawat-E-Ishq. For an actor, getting a YRF film is a big deal. Did that happen to you too?
(Laughs) Of course! Our generation has grown up watching Yash Raj films. This one is directed by Habib Faisal and I really like the space in which he operates. He is a creative man. And my character is very different from what I have done before. Faisal is very clear about what he wants from me and how he wants to shape the film. When he told me he had me in mind while he finished the script, I was very happy. He saw me in Yeh Jawaani… and Aashiqui 2 and he was happy with the expression of love, how one stands for his love and how he breaks down. I think he saw shades of his character in me.
I don’t really keep in touch with these things and I don’t think of these things on a daily basis. I have a lot of friends in the industry but I don’t let that consume my entire life. I don’t look at what others are doing and think, ‘Achcha, yeh aisa kar raha hai, mujhe waisa karna chahiye.’ And I want to be what I am; I want to do quality work but don’t want to stress myself.
To an extent, you do have some expectations of yourself, and this is important or you will become complacent. It is important to not keep listening to people. If you do, you will begin to feel insecure while others will make you climb chane ka jhaad whereas others will make you feel like you have something to lose. So it is important to stay away from that, be yourself and do what you want to do.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
That’s a very tough question. Five years ago, I had no clue that this would be happening to me today. So, I really don’t have an answer. I don’t even know where I hope to see myself. I would like to discover that once it happens. Right now, I am happy to be an actor and am interested in doing more films.
The buzz is that you landed Fitoor because of your brother Siddharth Roy Kapur.
No one notices you till you are a success, and once you are, everyone is willing to back you. If he had indeed helped me, he could have launched me in a big way.
Now, if a director asks him if I would act in a film, he will not say no but will talk to the director. In the last few years, no director has approached him for me but now they are. And Abhishek (Kapoor) is not a director you can influence, even in casting. He is very clear about what he wants. You can’t tell him, mere bhai ko le lo.
Frankly, I have read only 20-odd books to date. I have read Asterix comics and I used to read Archie comics too. But I think I should read some more because reading helps you grow. I am not sure I want to read Great Expectations because then you get stuck to the book. At the end of the day, the script is the Bible and I have to stick to it.
We have a new breed of actors and even big filmmakers are cashing in on them. What do you think about this change in the industry?
I think it happens in phases. It is inevitable that a new generation will arise. That’s just life. Sure, a bunch of new actors has sprung up in the last few years but it’s not about good looks; you should know how to act. It’s great to have a new breed of actors because everyone has their own space and there is enough work to go around. There is also a new interpretation of roles, which allows directors to experiment with screenplays and stories.
Ever since you delivered hits at the box office, have you been tracking films? Are you aware of the business?
No, not in a big way. I am not aware of the technicalities although I think it is important to be aware of them. In the end, filmmaking is a business, an artistic business. As an actor, the better you get, the better your chances of making the kind of movies you want to make. So it is important to know what business your films have done. If your film hasn’t made any money, there is a reason it didn’t and you need to understand why. The aim of every director should be to make money and be fair to their producers.