MUMBAI—We meet virtually on the eve of release (that is, about 36 hours before we get to watch her film!) and so it does not make sense to write Sonam K. Ahuja’s a.k.a. Sonam Kapoor’s rapid-fire interview before watching the film and taking it out of context.
The film, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” has not exactly been endorsed at the box-office, though impressionable critics have given it great ratings. However, as we shall see, Ahuja is full-on passionate about the subject of the film – homosexuality – and how society views such people, especially, as in this film, a woman.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: How do you look at this aspect of a person’s life?
A: It is all about conforming to stereotypes. There is so much of this in this world, perpetuated not only by films but also by television, books, the media…we have fixed perceptions about communities and professions. A fashion model must be taking drugs; an actress must be sleeping around; a journalist must be writing lies. There are so many more: a diva must behave and live in a certain way; a film will do this much business; children should become doctors, lawyers, engineers…
What people should realize is that when a person needs a same-sex partner, it is the way that person has been made. It is not his or her choice. It is how they are born. It is not a disease, but they cannot help it. And it is cruel, even on the part of parents and families, to make them forcibly conform. On the other hand, love is always love, and we cannot choose with whom we fall in love. Everyone should be free to make choices they are destined to do so, whether it is a man wanting to live life as a woman, or anyone marrying within the same sex or outside their religion. There should not be labels or boxes.
Q: Are things changing, do you think?
A: They are. Fifty years ago, a divorcee would have been ostracized. Human beings are good, and Indians have a lot of love and understanding. So far as films are concerned, the audience is far smarter and progressive. The stereotyped perception was that my “Veere Di Wedding” would open in India, like “Neerja,” with four crore. We broke some stereotypes in that film as well, and the audience could see that in the trailer, but it opened at 11 crore!
Q: When is its sequel happening?
A: I am dying to make it!
Q: What does your husband think of your latest film?
A: He has loved the trailer and will watch the film as soon as he lands in Mumbai.
Q: Before the release of “Ek Ladki…,” why were the makers cagey about the angle of lesbianism?
A: They were not. We were not hiding anything! But why should we give away the plot? Would you ask me this if it was a normal film?
Q: No, why should we ask? But though we knew what the plot was about, the director said we should watch the film to know more.
A (Repeats): No, we were not hiding anything. But why label a film? Would you ask me this if the film was about normal relationships?
(We give up!)
Q: How was it working on sets with your dad Anil Kapoor?
Q: That one-word answer won’t do.
A: It was fun.
Q: Anil said in some interview that he was afraid of you?
A: Do I look scary? I think he was just afraid of upsetting me.
Q: What next?
A: “The Zoya Factor” is complete – it is a crazy romantic comedy of a messed-up girl, which is me. I like doing films that break stereotypes.
Q: You reversed your previous stand on #MeToo by supporting your “Sanju” director Rajkumar Hirani who has been accused by a unit member.
A: Honestly, I am a huge supporter of every woman and want to believe her. But I have also known Raju-sir for many, many years. I have huge respect for him, so I reserve judgment. The media too should be responsible – what is written can make or break a person’s life, so we must understanding what is actually happening. If this allegation turns out to be false, imagine how much it will derail the movement.