For those who came in late, “Aashiqui” (1990) was directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Mukesh Bhatt along with Gulshan Kumar of T-Series. It was a game-changer in the music scene and still remains the company’s biggest-selling soundtrack. T-Series loyalists recall how Kumar stopped counting the sales of the cassettes after they crossed 10 million!
Mahesh Bhatt is now presenting the latest Mukesh Bhatt collaboration with T-Series, “Aashiqui 2.” Unlike the first film, which launched Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal, this film stars three-film-old Aditya Roy Kapur and two films old Shraddha Kapoor.
Excerpts from an interview:
ADITYA ROY KAPUR
Q: This is your first solo lead.
A: Yes, it’s exciting. It’s an incredible role, just like in “Guzaarish” and “Action Replay,” but the problem is that it’s very tough to be objective about one’s own films. I have a tendency to fall in love with my characters. It’s been a long journey since I signed that brief role in “London Dreams” only because I, a VJ (video jockey), was getting to be in London for six weeks with big stars like Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn!
Q: So when did the seriousness come in?
A: While working on that film itself, I decided that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. Today, after being appreciated for each role, I am stubborn about what I want to do and not do and happy that I did not do some of the roles I was offered, even if a couple of the films did well.
Q: So you learnt on the job.
A: Yes, I was like a child on the first day of school in London. I learnt about shooting scenes and getting into character. More than anything else, it was about being careful not to mess up the scenes. I had never even gone on the sets of any UTV film where my brother Siddharth Roy Kapur was a producer.
Q: So how was this experience, with the responsibility of a brand attached?
A: It was amazing to work with the Bhatts. Mohit (Suri, the director) has such clear vision. I play Rahul Jaykar, a successful musician with something missing in his life. And I love the music, for each song brings back some memory.
Q: How will you select your roles now?
A: One cannot plan life or career. I can only see whether a director who offers me a film has a ‘vision’ from his heart. I have to explore my strengths and weaknesses.
Q: Were there any pros and cons of being a VJ-turned actor?
A: Other than being familiar with the camera, nothing. As a VJ, I was acting as myself and there are limitations to that. That was my only acting school! I was playing the fool often and having fun all the time. But then you learn so much on everything – VJ or film – that you do not realize you have learnt!
Q: In these few films, you have happened to work with four superstars – Salman, Ajay, Akshay Kumar in “Action Replayy” and Hrithik Roshan. Have they contributed to your learning?
A: Yes. Salman made me extra comfortable when the first shot I ever did was shouting at him – imagine, me shouting at him! Akshay Kumar is always on the dot for a shoot and there’s so much to learn from his disciplined lifestyle. And Hrithik is such a generous actor – he wants the scene and film to work in totality rather than shine alone. And he prepares so much for the sequence.
Q: Your name Roy Kapur. Why is there is a double name?
A: I do not know! As far as I know, it’s always been our surname.
Q: Just three films in four years. Why?
A: I can afford to be choosy and do just good films and good scripts. I think it is important to be a part of good films. And “Aashiqui 2” fitted the bill. Besides, I have adored Mohit’s “Who Lamhe…” and “Kalyug” and all his films and he was already on my wish list of directors!
Q: Who else is in this list?
A: (Laughs) Oh, there are many directors. Like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rajkumar Hirani.
Q: How did he zero in on you?
A: I met him for another film that never happened. I was in a geeky avatar with specs and my hair in a ‘jooda.’ “You met me but not like a heroine, which is what I found interesting,” he told me.
Q: How easy or difficult was this role?
A: I prepared a lot for this film. The emotional intensity was very high – this is a film straight from the heart and it is bound to connect with the people. It was a challenge to understand the emotions.
Q: “Aashiqui” as a brand is about new faces in the lead. But both Aditya and you have done films before.
A: I think that new faces have a certain relatable quality. But luckily, though I have won a newcomer award for “Luv Ka The End,” neither Aditya nor I have definite images. Here I play this sweet, simple Maharashtrian girl, Aarohi Keshav Shirke. In real life too, I am more of a Marathi ‘mulgi’ like my mother Shivangi, than a Punjabi like my dad Shakti Kapoor! Some of the film’s sequences, like the Ganpati festival, came very naturally to me.
Q: Did you know that Sameer, who wrote most of the songs of the first “Aashiqui” was a journalist before he turned lyricist and that the first interview he ever did was of your father?
A: That’s interesting!
Q: “Aashiqui” was a cult musical. What do you think about the music, as you sing too, and so do your mom and aunt?
A: I think it’s a great album with a different tempo from the normal commercial ones today. The songs make you remember someone you loved. Mohit is an emotional man and an emotionally driven director with a great sense of music. I have always loved his songs and his persona explains why.
Q: After “Aashiqui 2,” what? Your first film “Teen Patti” starred Amitabh Bachchan as the hero, your second was with Yash Raj Films, and this is a Bhatt-T-Series collaboration.
A: I want to do different roles. Between my aunt Padmini Kolhapure and my dad, I have learnt the importance of focus. I want to conduct myself in a comfortable, true-to-myself way, be who I am, do what I want and how I want.