I like reinventing myself with everything that I do - Sonam Kapoor | Exclusive Interview

It’s a breezy afternoon, and one can’t miss the flurry of activities at actor Anil Kapoor’s suburban office. Amid stylists arranging outfits for the next event and her team working on weekly schedules, we spot actress Sonam Kapoor, calmly seated on a comfortable lounger, giving media bytes. Dressed in a gorgeous Dolly J maxi and a pair of Louboutins, Sonam looked her stylish best as always. “It’s been a long day full of questions and answers,” stated the actress. But she doesn’t rush through the process and settles down for a chat while saying, “Shoot your questions. I am all ears.”

Be it creating the Dubsmash rage on social media and inspiring others to do the ‘thumka’ like her on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’s title track or portraying characters like the feisty Dolly (Dolly Ki Doli) and elegant Maithili (PRDP), Sonam has had a great 2015. The fact that she experiments with characters explains her fondness towards venturing into untested waters and accepting challenges as a way of learning new things. “I enjoy the process of doing something new with every film. If I don’t do that, I won’t be challenging myself. I can’t do the same kind of characters over and over again. That would just be plain boring, right? On the creative front, that would mean getting into a stagnant zone. I like reinventing myself with everything that I do.”

Image Credit: Sanskriti Media and Entertainment
Sticking to the promise of reinventing herself with every film, Sonam’s next is the intense biopic, Neerja. She will be seen essaying the role of Late Neerja Bhanot - India’s youngest recipient of the Ashoka Chakra (highest peacetime military award for bravery). It was Neerja who sacrificed her life and saved more than 300 passengers on the ill fated Pan Am flight 73, that was hijacked on September 5, 1986. As part of her preparation and research for the character, Sonam trained to become an in-flight attendant and learned everything about the job. “That was the basic preparation required for this role. I also met Neerja’s friends, family members to understand more about her life. Since she was also a model, I saw all her advertisements. In fact, Neerja’s family had a beautiful audio recording of her in-flight announcement rehearsals, which also helped,” stated Sonam. But according to her, the biggest preparation was to become Neerja and understand her personality. Sonam adds, “It was important for me to know what she believed in and what she didn’t. So, I tried to imbibe her likes, dislikes, and morals. Because at the end of the day, she wasn’t in front of me. So, the process for me to know who she was happened through understanding her beliefs, values and principles.”

It was important for me to know what she believed in and what she didn’t. So, I tried to imbibe her likes, dislikes, and morals. Because at the end of the day, she wasn’t in front of me.
The actress believes that playing a courageous character like Neerja has made her stronger. “In fact, when we were shooting in the plane, at the end of every day, I would just go, ‘Thank god, I am out of the plane.’ By the end of the schedule, it was tough for me to believe that I get to leave this plane, but Neerja couldn’t,” said Sonam, adding that the journey has left a deep, positive impact on her mind. So much, that after working on Neerja, her perspective towards in-flight attendants has changed a lot. She adds, “I didn’t realise that 70 per cent of an in-flight attendant’s job is to ensure the safety of their passengers, while 30 per cent is service. People’s usual perception of them being glorified waiters / waitresses is just ridiculous and wrong. The kind of hard work that goes into this, and how duty bound they are, is just amazing. So now, when a flight attendant tells me to wear my seat belt, I do that immediately (smiles). Whether it is putting the window pane up or switching off my phone, I follow all the instructions politely. I have always been that way, because that’s how I have been brought up.” 

But, she admits there were a few instances where she had forgotten to wear the seat belt or switch off her phone. “But now, there is no room for such things. I know that the flight attendants are responsible for my safety and I respect that! And, no matter how many pictures they want to take with me, I will never say no,” assures Sonam with a smile, as she gets ready to change into a gorgeous emerald green anarkali for her next meeting and signs off.

The Dancebee

This interview (a shorter version) was earlier published in the February issue of Air India's inflight magazine - Shubh Yatra.

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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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