I met Shraddha Kapoor at Ekta Kapoor’s Diwali party, and I noticed she was the only actress mingling with everyone in a warm and friendly manner (and not just as a formality). She was also the only one helping herself to the fish tikka platter that were going around. I have never seen an actress eating what I call ‘normal people food’ (as opposed to steamed broccoli), so I was impressed. I notice that although she is warm and friendly when we meet for an interview, her guard is up. At the onset, Shraddha tells me sternly that she won’t answer any ‘masala’ questions (read: her linkup to Farhan Akhtar and Aditya Roy Kapur). So, we begin chatting about films, friends, family and of course, Rock On!! 2. Read on for excerpts…
You’re known as a lucky mascot for giving almost back-to-back hits.
I don’t like to be known as a lucky mascot because I have worked really hard for this and to put it down all to luck is trivialising that. My life is only about work and acting. I don’t do anything else. My day begins and ends with work. If I go to a party, I will go for only an hour and leave. It’s only for courtesy. It’s nice to meet people you work with. I sleep and wake up early and watch films when I get the time. I think if my films have worked it’s because the films have been loved. I feel that a film has its own fate…. Tomorrow, I can be a part of a film which is not a hit or I have not done a good job with a film where it is a hit.
You don’t take fame or success for granted…
Once Priyanka Chopra told me: ‘You should wear your success like a T-shirt and you should always remember that.’ That advice stuck with me as I really admire her a lot. She works hard and has a fabulous body of work. The only people who know my efforts are the people I have worked with or am working with. There is all this love and appreciation that is coming and there’s obviously a reason it’s coming my way… I have to admit though that sometimes, I can give my parents a difficult time but that’s for other reasons. I am very spoilt by nature. But I also know that success does not last forever.
When you were offered Rock On!! 2, how did you react?
When I watched Rock On!! with my parents and brother, I went berserk. When the end credits were rolling, it was such a filmi moment! My family got up to leave and I was still sitting and gazing at the screen. I call my dad Baaps so I told him very confidently ‘Baaps, agar iss film ka sequel banayenge na, mein uss me rahoongi!’ And he was just like ‘Haan, okay..’ he said indulgently. And it actually happened! They say that when you ask something from the Universe, you get it, and I am a big believer of The Secret. I read it when I was going through a very low time before Aashiqui 2 happened. My first two films hadn’t done well and I was feeling pretty miserable when I read the book and the power of the Universe and what you ask for you get and I just put it out in the Universe that I will be in Rock On!! sequel and here I am! That’s why you also have to be careful about what you ask for and how much you really want it.
Tell us about your character.
My character’s name is Jiah Sharma and she’s a musician. She plays the keyboard and she sings. Jiah is a moody vagabond. I got mentally bruised while playing this role. It was a tough journey because it’s an intense film and an intense character. There were days when I just wanted to sit and weep because I was thinking about my character. There is something that had happened in her life which I kept thinking about as I found it disturbing.
There used to be times I couldn’t sleep for nights and there were days when I had to wake up and shoot and I would wake up thinking — shoot! I haven’t even slept and then we would shoot all day. I believe that every film changes you in a certain way. Also I think when you play a particular character that forces you to be in that space and triggers some things inside yourself that makes you think about your own life. I can say that Jiah is one of the most intense characters that I played till now — at least in some scenes. She’s also a pretty aloof character. It wasn’t easy for me to switch off from Jiah to myself. One day we were shooting an intense scene at night in Shillong and I couldn’t stop crying even after the director called cut. I went to the van and started crying again. While going back to the hotel in my car I was still crying… I was like: what is happening to me? Then I got into bed… I was alone in my room at night and awake and still crying. There have been some heavy days like that.
How else did you manage to understand your character?
My director told me to be alone as much as I could because Jiah is a loner. He said, ‘I don’t think you have ever experienced being alone and you have had a very protective upbringing. So you need to be alone, make your own food, be independent.’ He was right because I am constantly surrounded by my family at home. I don’t live alone. I live with my parents and brother. I told him I had lived in college alone with my roommate so he said I hadn’t stayed really alone in an apartment till now — as in college I had friends. I didn’t live alone as he wanted me to but I spent time in my room as much as I could. I put this DND sign outside my bedroom as that meant nobody could knock or come in. My family abided by it and gave me that space. Of course it’s very difficult to be alone like that! Playing such intense characters can be both emotionally draining as well as fulfilling.
You don’t make any statements on Twitter or have an opinion on things.
I enjoy Instagram. I don’t like saying much on Twitter, I am better with photos. It’s not that I am cautious about writing anything. I just feel that I don’t know anything much on the matter or about a person, so better not I don’t say anything. If you ask me anything about food or films or my dog I will talk (laughs).
Are you mummy’s (Shivangi) pet or daddy’s (Shakti) darling?
Both. Though sometimes my dad is like a baby and I mother him. But both have been strict with my brother and me for different reasons. Dad is strict when it comes to my food — like eat healthy, don’t eat this or that which he is right because I have no control over my food. My mom is strict about coming home on time etc. I still have a curfew and I need to come back home at a certain time. But I tell mom that if I sleep over at my friends homes then there can’t be any curfew, no? (laughs) So sleepovers happen but all my friends stay in the other end of town so then commuting becomes a bit of a pain. My friends don’t come to Juhu as they feel crossing the Sea Link is non-happening. Sobo people are snooty.
Your friends are not from Bollywood?
No they are not. They are my school friends, they watch all my movies and are my biggest critics. I always get messages from my friends passing comments about how I was in which film and how the film was. We are seven of us — one boy and the rest are girls. I don’t have very many friends. All six of them are my best friends. One of them is in Paris and another in Delhi.
How do your parents react to your linkups?
Whatever rumours are written, are written about everyone. Actors and actresses are linked to one another. My parents know better. Initially when I used to get linked to anyone, I would get more upset than them. I would ask why’s this happening to me?. I would get very affected but my parents would me sit down and explain that it was all part of the profession. They have been in this industry for years so they would ask me to calm down and say that they know its all rubbish.
You have been linked to two of your co-stars — Farhan Akhtar and Aditya Roy Kapoor…
(Laughs) What? I have been linked more than two to my co-stars! It’s not something that I appreciate. I will just say this: People should write about relevant stuff. I work hard on all my films and my life is only about my work. I am single and very happy at being single. And as clichéd as it may sound I am romancing my films. It’s true — I am only thinking of my films. So much so that my parents tell me, ‘Come on now, just take a break.’
Don’t your parents ask you about falling in love or getting married?
They know me and they understand that now is not the right time to ask these questions to me. But they do tell me to take a break, so I get to know what movies I would like to do. Once I switch off, I can then switch back in a rejuvenated way. I haven’t taken a holiday since last July and that was just one week with my family. Since then there hasn’t been a day when I have not been on the phone or not do anything related to my movies or meeting someone. I need to put my phone off for a week and just chill, read some books, watch some movies, be with nature.
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