I tend to trust peope very easily - Sonam Kapoor | Exclusive Interview

She is not your quintessential 'heroine', who likes to maintain a one hand distance while talking to the media. Nor is she a diplomatic actress, who will count her words before making anything public. Far from the clubs formed within this industry and mutual admiration societies, Sonam Kapoor is busy building her own empire. At 29, the actress has pretty much achieved everything that any other girl could only dream of. From making the paparazzi and fashion mavens from across the globe go gaga over her red carpet choices at the Cannes to becoming the first Indian Disney princess, Sonam has done it all. 

Sonam is one of the very few female actors who will always impress you with her sartorial choices. For someone who can tell her Prada from Gucci, the actress is always well turned out (she credits some of it to her sister Rhea). We meet her in between a long day of interviews at a suburban hotel and as always, the chic actress left us impressed with her outfit of the day; a Geisha Designs dress . But even before we could compliment her look, she exclaimed, "I love that shade of red lipstick on you. Is it the Pure Red collection by L'Oreal? (laughs) That colour perfectly compliments your skin tone and looks lovely on you." That, of course, came minutes before we congratulated her for looking gorgeous in the new L'Oreal Paris campaign. All we could do is grin and feel happy to get a flattering remark from the fashionista, who can make even the most boring days Mondays brighter with her presence and excellent responses. Yes, she is an absolute delight when it comes to interviews.

 With this week's release Dolly ki Doli, Sonam is all set to con her way into your hearts. The promos are already catching up, and so are the songs. She is pretty much the 'hero' of this film with a long list of Dulhas still waiting for Dolly to return and the actress confessed that she can't wait to see the final audience reaction this weekend. Excerpts from a 'cray cray' (if I am allowed to say so) conversation with fashion's own sweetheart - Sonam Kapoor.

During an earlier interview, you had mentioned that you always like to prepare for a role before getting down to filming it. Was it the same with Dolly ki Doli?
Yes, of course! So, I did some solo workshops, some sessions with the director and then, there were group workshops with my co-stars. As part of my research, I also saw a few films, read some stories and also went through some YouTube videos. But in order to get into the character, I would make occasional notes and try to understand Dolly's past. Like, how she would behave or react to a certain situation. The film only focuses on the period of 15-20 days in her life and the running time is just around 90 minutes or more. So, it was important for me to understand, what exactly made her the way she is.

What was it like to step into Dolly's shoes?
The thing about Dolly is that she is completely the opposite of me. She thinks a lot before speaking (laughs), which I am not known for. Dolly is extremely calculating and everything that she does is planned. She knowingly becomes what her target (the guy) needs. She cons a guy by becoming the dream woman of his life. So yeah, it was difficult, because being someone else is never easy.  
The thing about Dolly is that she is completely the opposite of me. She thinks a lot before speaking, which I am not known for

Since you con different people, will we see you sport different looks in the film?
Oh yes! So, she visits each of these guys in a different avatar. And when she is back to being Dolly, she has a completely disparate look. I think when you see the film, the audience will understand what I am talking about. I want you to see it for yourself and tell me how distinct each looks are (smiles). 

Did you expect the kind of reaction that your first look in Dolly ki Doli got from people across the globe?
Honestly, I know that every time a poster or still from my film is revealed, everybody comments on my look. It just goes hand-in-hand, you know. I can't help it now (laughs). Everyone was talking about the mismatched outfit and a glimpse of the sneakers in Khoobsurat's teaser poster. But the reactions that I got for Dolly ki Doli was ridiculously crazy. It was all over the place. I kept thinking, maine toh bas lehenga pehna hain yaar! But that was the whole idea, to show the audience a glimpse of my character. One bottle of daru in hand, aviators, sneakers paired with a lehenga-choli and a leather jacket. That helped building a connection.

Your character is on a conning spree. But personally, have you ever been conned?
(laughs) Well, I have been conned. Quite a few times, actually. The fact that I am so straight forward and honest makes me believe that everyone around me is like that. Also, I tend to trust people very easily and I am extremely gullible. I guess a lot of people take advantage of that. Ah! I don't know about conning, really, but a lot of people do take advantage of me. Eventually, I do find out about it, but as I said, I am just silly enough to fall into such traps sometimes.
I tend to trust people very easily and I am extremely gullible. I guess a lot of people take advantage of that

Do you think you are comfortable in a romantic or comedy space, when compared to any other genre?
I guess, people enjoy seeing me in comedy or in real girl roles. When it comes to any genre, I don't think I have mastered anything or made myself comfortable in any space as such, because I am still a novice at everything. Contrary to my images, the characters that I portray on screen are always different. I think, people have liked seeing me in roles like Bittu (Delhi 6) or Zoya (Raanjhanaa); so I guess this is what the audience wants me to be.

Do you love experimenting and prefer variety, quality over quantity?
Absolutely! Every film or character that I have taken up is different from the other and have never done flower pot roles. Be it Aayat (Mausam - a role that is extremely close to Sonam's heart) or  Bittu (Delhi 6), I always hope that my characters are remembered, whether in good or evil way. Like post Raanjhanaa, my Twitter mentions were flooded with hate messages. Stuff like, "You bitch! Kundan ko aise kaise chod diya," was something that I got to see everyday. So, I opt for unique projects on purpose and don't believe in repeating what I have portrayed once on screen. Every morning, I want to look forward to work and trying something different each day on the set. I want to put myself in situations that are alien to me, because that's the only way you can grow, not just as an artist, but also as a person. It gives me an opportunity to hone my craft, meet new people and learn from them as well. Monotony is a turn off, trust me!  

As an actor, how difficult or easy is it to move from one project to another, especially when you are dealing with an emotionally packed character or film?
Oh, I remember how after Raanjhanaa, I was a wreck. I had lost almost 6kgs by the end of the film. We shot the film chronologically and when you see it, you will notice a distinct wear and tear. Especially during the second half of the film. I have cried without using glycerin. It took me at least four-five months to get out of that and felt literally empty. But after Raanjhanaa, it was a delight to work on a beautiful film like Khoobsurat, which was extremely positive, all things pretty and happy moments. So, working on Khoobsurat was like a rejuvenation. I needed films like Khoobsurat and Dolly ki Doli, before moving on to any project that is gonna be tougher on my psyche.

I want to put myself in situations that are alien to me, because that's the only way you can grow, not just as an artist, but also as a person
Photo credit: Errikos Andreou for Harpers Bazaar India (Aug 2014)

Which film in your journey so far do you treasure the most?
I would say Aisha. While working on this film, my sister was 21 and I was 23, totally stupid and young. In fact, had the film released maybe two-three years later, I think we could have done a much better job. When we started out, there was zero support. Dad was shooting in LA and we were literally going pillar to post, in order to get someone to make this film. And well, we used our father's name to get funding. "We are Anil Kapoor's daughters. Could you please make this film?" (laughs). Dad had no idea about this and we used his name like how! People were actually believing that we are rich, spoilt brats. But, they don't realize that we really worked hard on it. We got all our friends to help us, be it Pernia (Qureshi), Kunal (Rawal) or even the cinematographer; they are my friends. We tried to do the best we could with the budget that we had and used our own clothes. A lot of people thought it was a bunch of rich kids making a film about rich brats. But, it was Emma, after all. She wasn't like the characters in other Jane Austen novels, with ideals or deep thoughts. She was a spoilt brat who wanted to get married and Aisha was just that. A fun, happy chick flick! Also, this film made me realize that Rhea is my true partner. We had the best time making this film.

Your cousin, Arjun Kapoor, has always showered praises on you. What do you have to say about him?
He is like my jaan ka tukda. Arjun is like a teddy bear; extremely soft hearted and huggable. Very few youngsters in today's generation have this innate goodness. He is a good guy and a great brother to me, Rhea and Anshula. We have all been very close since childhood. He has gone through a lot and come out it beautifully. Also, I think he is extremely talented. Like, one on hand, he can do a 2 States and then leave you speechless with a Gunday as well.

My brother (Harshvardhan) is ridiculously hard working. I have been working for seven years and have never seen anyone work as hard as him

Image Credit: Femina May 2014
And then, your brother Harshvardhan is making his debut as well.
Yeah! Well, he is a couple years younger than me and is a really good looking guy. You know, I have always believed that hard work is the only thing that can get you anywhere in life. But in this industry, hard work and luck need to go hand-in-hand. My brother is ridiculously hard working. I have been working for seven years and have never seen anyone work as hard as him. He likes to take things to another level and I think he is very lucky to be doing a film with Rakeysh Mehra sir. He met Rakeysh on the sets on Delhi 6 and worked out everything on his own. Hopefully, he will be lucky as well (smiles). I think, if he has good luck with him, then he will be the biggest star in this country. And yeah, I do have a little bias too (laughs).

What do you think is a sure-shot success formula for a film in today's day and age?
If your film is a damn good film, then I think it will work and will build a connect with the audience. Unless, you have a Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan (smiles). Then, that's like a phenomena. Every film starring Salman has smashed the box office records. He is someone who is in the league of say, Michael Jackson, Rajinikanth sir, Rajesh Khanna; a phenomena that just comes once in a lifetime. I think, even my dad had that thing in between. Yeh log jo bhi karte hain, log jaake dekhte aur pasand karte hain. For mortals like us, the film needs to pack a punch. And that's where the audience loyalty also comes in. Like, a lot of people have watched Khoobsurat and now, they wanna watch Dolly ki Doli. But otherwise, I just feel the trailer itself creates an impact and gives you the vibe of whether a film is going to be liked or not.

So, how's Prem Dhan Ratan Payo shaping up?
Very well. I have worked with Salman Khan in Saawariya and here, its like a re-hash of it. He is a kind hearted person with tons of talent. God! When he walks in, you know a star has arrived. We all feel like ordinary mortals. He is extremely hot!

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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