MUMBAI—They last did the 2013 super-hit “Aashiqui 2.” The lucky pair of Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor, however, point out that while they had a slew of offers together after that, they did not consider any worthy of even individual worth. This time, Shaad Ali’s conviction that they were perfect for their characters and the freshness of the subject convinced both of them that they should do “Ok Jaanu,” the Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam’s “OK Kanmani.”
“It was so different from ‘Aashiqui 2’ that we had to accept the film!” smiles Aditya Roy Kapur, and Kapoor nods. The two are in a fairly voluble mood at Mumbai’s distant Filmistan Studios, and we begin the chat.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview to India-West:
Q: Are you both hurt when a film does not do well? Your respective last two films, “Fitoor” and “Rock On2” were flops.
ARK: (Smiles) When that happens, I am in denial until Monday! (Laughs). And seriously, some films do pick up later! Sometimes, we never find the answer to why a film flopped even after introspection, for no film clicks or fails due to any one reason. Then you have to just tell yourself that you have done your best. You do not beat yourself because of that. This is a profession where you do not know when and where your next job will come from, as you have to be called by someone to be employed.
SK: You do go into a spiral of thoughts like ‘Am I making the right choices?’ Then you tell yourself that it’s okay, don’t give up hope, keep trying…actually my first two flops were the worst. I did not take the failures of “Teen Patti,” my debut, and “Luv Ka The End” well at all. But that experience has made me strong now.
Q: What was so different here for both of you? Especially you, Shraddha, after doing so many varied roles?
SK: Largely, the banter in “Ok Jaanu” is very real, and I can relate to that. So will everyone, and that kind of conversations and scenes are something new for me.
ARK: Yes, it’s a very different kind of love story. Everything was so natural.
Q: Any idea why Mani Ratnam did not direct the film himself?
ARK: Our director Shaad Ali and Mani-sir share an equation, but we can’t speak for them.
Q: When you do a remake, comparisons are inevitable.
SK: The original pair was really good. What I have done is my interpretation, and how Shaad molded me.
ARK: In the romantic genre, you have to get your own persona. That’s also tricky, as there will be hype and comparison. So it would be futile to try and re-create the original magic. We have to bring in our own sense of charm and create the camaraderie afresh but also retain their essence.
Q: Shraddha, did you not want to sing on the soundtrack as you had done in your last few films?
S: Yes, I did, but there was no scope. Like there was this classical song for which one had to be really trained to take it up.
Q: Aditya, you play the guitar too.
SK: He sings well too!
ARK: Yes, but A.R. Rahman is better for this film! (Laughs)
Q: Aditya, you have always been brilliant in your performances, as in “Action Replayy,” “Guzaarish” and “Daawat-E-Ishq.” Why do you think you are not in a more popular league?
ARK: It’s a big word to use – wisdom – but it’s important to know, and I do, that my time has not come yet. Besides that, the failures of all these films, that is, of course, a big reason. It’s tough, but you have to hang in there and have patience because you have to believe in yourself. I have had flops, then two big hits practically in the same month in “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” and “Aashiqui 2,” and then flops again.
SK: Can I say something? The biggest star we have, Amitabh Bachchan, had a string of flops earlier. But you recall them because of his performances. Hits and flops happen, but good work is remembered. You yourself said that Aditya is brilliant, and you are not the only one. Many others also think that Aditya is among our finest young actors, and so do I.
Q: How comfortable are you guys with the frenzied promotions nowadays?
ARK: I would rather be here doing them than sitting and mooning about whether I am doing something for my film or not. But yes, promotions have become like a template – boringly similar for every kind of film. That makes them monotonous for us and for all of you.
Q: What next?
SK: I am also doing “Half Girlfriend,” but I am really nervous about “Haseena,” which is my first gray role as Dawood Ibrahim’s sister.
ARK (Mock-Sternly): Have you learnt all your dialogues? (Laughs) Seriously, you will enjoy doing the film. It will be liberating.
As for me, I would like to do every kind of role. “OK Jaanu” was my first light-hearted romance. I would love to do an action film – I have grown up on them. I would love to shoot the baddies dead; I would love to do a negative role as well. I am a bit too choosy, I guess, though I am happiest being on a film set. I guess I should start jumping into films that I think are 60 percent there rather than 100 percent.
Q: Shraddha, do you regret doing “Rock On 2” as it flopped?
SK: No, I am proud of it and would do it even today. With me, it is always a feeling from the heart that it is the right movie, and this may not be logical. I should like the story enough to feel that I will be happy each morning for the next 40 to 100 days I have given to the film. It was the same with “Rock On2.” You have to do your best and leave the rest to those who go watch the movie.