Shraddha Kapoor: The good girl


Shraddha Kapoor: The good girl

Kapoor is the quiet contender, the languid overachiever and the next megastar in the making

By Cheryl-Ann Couto  July 21st, 2019

You know, I just can’t tell with Shraddha Kapoor. Is she bored by the volley of star-kid-specific assumptions — carrying on the family baton, balancing stardom with craft and such? Is she just the chillest ever? Or then a master of that elusive, possibly ancient Japanese, art of being thoroughly likeable while revealing nothing at all? When I’m connected to her over a conference line by her rep who is keeping time, she listens attentively to each of my questions, appears to turn them over and then, more than once, comes back with an affirmation that begins as an answer and ends as a question: “Yaa-aa?” Vexing, as her interviewer, but as a matter of philosophy, I feel her. Can we really ever be sure of anything? Do convictions fetter or free us? Does anything matter ever? She says she thinks so.

She wants, for example, to be known as a versatile actor and is actively laying the groundwork for it. At 25, she’s already played a wronged ex-girlfriend baying for blood (Luv Ka The End, 2011), a music protégé in a volatile relationship with her mentor (Aashiqui 2, 2013), a terminally-ill victim of a serial killer (Ek Villain) and a journalist in love with a madman (this month’s Haider). Right now, she’s en route to the set of the dance film ABCD 2, which releases next year. “I’ve turned down some really good films because my role in them was the same old thing,” she says.

These are brave decisions for a young star in an industry that runs on goodwill and being beholden as much as anything else. Kapoor famously removed herself from Yash Raj Films’ three-film package for newcomers, that has by now become the opening gambit of any present-day superstar (Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Anushka Sharma), to take on Mahesh Bhatt’s much-debated sequel to his 1990 blockbuster Aashiqui. Risky as hell, and, as it turned out, bang on. The film, directed by Mohit Suri, was declared a worldwide hit, made stars of both its leads (Aditya Roy Kapur graduated from inoffensive sidekick to smouldering protagonist instantaneously) and brought them love, too, say the papers (“I’m single,” Kapoor corrects, her voice a degree cold). Aurangzeb, the YRF film she was meant to do, bombed. She understandably doesn’t want to put too fine a point on it — never close your CV to possibilities, especially YRF possibilities — but says, “I knew I had to be in Aashiqui at any cost.”

Suri was party to another milestone for Kapoor — her playback singing debut in his 2014 thriller Ek Villain, upon his insistence. “I have never been so frightened as I was entering the studio to record ‘Galliyan’,” she says. She managed swimmingly, though, and has become known for the gently vulnerable ballad as much as for any of her films. We’ll hear her sing the Kashmiri folk ‘Roshe Valle’ in Haider. Also, and most importantly perhaps, Kapoor says she’ll embrace that good fear now on — “you discover things you didn’t know about yourself; it’s the best way to cultivate instinct, I think.”

Kapoor may not have burst through the ‘great face, better talent’ door like contemporaries Alia Bhatt and Parineeti Chopra, but she’s priming for a quiet, confident rise. I ask her if the two of them make her nervy and territorial, even as I feel it just doesn’t fit the girl with the easy laugh, who only has wide-eyed praise for the work of others. “Yaa-aa? There is a sense of competition with Pari, Alia, but not enough to get mean about it. More like ‘Damn, I have to get better.’” 

 

I can’t wait much longer — she must tell me about being Crime Master Gogo’s daughter, seeking career counsel from Nandu-Sabka-Bandu, and whether she jumps every time she hears “Aaoo!” Her father Shakti Kapoor, Bollywood’s most recognisable on-screen (and quite often, off-screen) villain and goof, is still one of the more interesting things about her (and I expect, her brother, actor Siddhanth Kapoor’s) life. All but exiled by the film industry after his infamous 2005 ‘casting couch’ controversy, the veteran actor has remained mostly in the shadows since. “He is fairly disconnected from this whole world now,” Kapoor says. You’ll get just that much and then blanket adoration: “Unlike me, my father wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth — he had to work very hard to make it and I couldn’t ever be as dedicated as him,” she says. “Our journeys have been very different, but I really like to take his advice and he always tells me what he thinks.”

Family means everything to Kapoor. Ask her what’s the most fun she’s had recently and it isn’t shopping for Jimmy Choos (which she is obsessed with — “I’ve lost count of my collection”); or tending to her “magical” window garden full of “anthurium, dracaena, raat rani and aloe” (“[I get] beautiful purple caterpillars, squirrels, little birds with bright yellow beaks visiting me”); or the American road trip she took with friends recently. It was Ganpati, at her granny’s house, with the whole family. “It was like an asylum basically. I loved it. Best thing ever.”

Her rep interrupts to say time’s up — I’d forgotten she was on the line the whole while. Kapoor has reached the set and must go into make-up. “Is there a plan?” I ask, kicking myself for getting caught up in her casual friendliness and not grilling her more. “No, I am not organised at all,” she says. “There is no system in the way I approach things. I just want to stay open-minded. That can be the biggest challenge.” Thirty minutes and do I feel like I know Shraddha Kapoor any better? Yaa-aa?

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Photographs: Farrokh Chothia; Styling: Nidhi Jacob; Creative Director: Prashish More; Make-up and Hair: Subhash Vagal; Production: Parul Menezes; Assisted by: Neha Salvi, Aparna Phogat; Model: Jason/Toabh Management

You know, I just can’t tell with Shraddha Kapoor. Is she bored by the volley of star-kid-specific assumptions — carrying on the family baton, balancing stardom with craft and such? Is she just the chillest ever? Or then a master of that elusive, possibly ancient Japanese, art of being thoroughly likeable while revealing nothing at all? When I’m connected to her over a conference line by her rep who is keeping time, she listens attentively to each of my questions, appears to turn them over and then, more than once, comes back with an affirmation that begins as an answer and ends as a question: “Yaa-aa?” Vexing, as her interviewer, but as a matter of philosophy, I feel her. Can we really ever be sure of anything? Do convictions fetter or free us? Does anything matter ever? She says she thinks so.

She wants, for example, to be known as a versatile actor and is actively laying the groundwork for it. At 25, she’s already played a wronged ex-girlfriend baying for blood (Luv Ka The End, 2011), a music protégé in a volatile relationship with her mentor (Aashiqui 2, 2013), a terminally-ill victim of a serial killer (Ek Villain) and a journalist in love with a madman (this month’s Haider). Right now, she’s en route to the set of the dance film ABCD 2, which releases next year. “I’ve turned down some really good films because my role in them was the same old thing,” she says.

These are brave decisions for a young star in an industry that runs on goodwill and being beholden as much as anything else. Kapoor famously removed herself from Yash Raj Films’ three-film package for newcomers, that has by now become the opening gambit of any present-day superstar (Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Anushka Sharma), to take on Mahesh Bhatt’s much-debated sequel to his 1990 blockbuster Aashiqui. Risky as hell, and, as it turned out, bang on. The film, directed by Mohit Suri, was declared a worldwide hit, made stars of both its leads (Aditya Roy Kapur graduated from inoffensive sidekick to smouldering protagonist instantaneously) and brought them love, too, say the papers (“I’m single,” Kapoor corrects, her voice a degree cold). Aurangzeb, the YRF film she was meant to do, bombed. She understandably doesn’t want to put too fine a point on it — never close your CV to possibilities, especially YRF possibilities — but says, “I knew I had to be in Aashiqui at any cost.”

Suri was party to another milestone for Kapoor — her playback singing debut in his 2014 thriller Ek Villain, upon his insistence. “I have never been so frightened as I was entering the studio to record ‘Galliyan’,” she says. She managed swimmingly, though, and has become known for the gently vulnerable ballad as much as for any of her films. We’ll hear her sing the Kashmiri folk ‘Roshe Valle’ in Haider. Also, and most importantly perhaps, Kapoor says she’ll embrace that good fear now on — “you discover things you didn’t know about yourself; it’s the best way to cultivate instinct, I think.”

Kapoor may not have burst through the ‘great face, better talent’ door like contemporaries Alia Bhatt and Parineeti Chopra, but she’s priming for a quiet, confident rise. I ask her if the two of them make her nervy and territorial, even as I feel it just doesn’t fit the girl with the easy laugh, who only has wide-eyed praise for the work of others. “Yaa-aa? There is a sense of competition with Pari, Alia, but not enough to get mean about it. More like ‘Damn, I have to get better.’” 

 

I can’t wait much longer — she must tell me about being Crime Master Gogo’s daughter, seeking career counsel from Nandu-Sabka-Bandu, and whether she jumps every time she hears “Aaoo!” Her father Shakti Kapoor, Bollywood’s most recognisable on-screen (and quite often, off-screen) villain and goof, is still one of the more interesting things about her (and I expect, her brother, actor Siddhanth Kapoor’s) life. All but exiled by the film industry after his infamous 2005 ‘casting couch’ controversy, the veteran actor has remained mostly in the shadows since. “He is fairly disconnected from this whole world now,” Kapoor says. You’ll get just that much and then blanket adoration: “Unlike me, my father wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth — he had to work very hard to make it and I couldn’t ever be as dedicated as him,” she says. “Our journeys have been very different, but I really like to take his advice and he always tells me what he thinks.”

Family means everything to Kapoor. Ask her what’s the most fun she’s had recently and it isn’t shopping for Jimmy Choos (which she is obsessed with — “I’ve lost count of my collection”); or tending to her “magical” window garden full of “anthurium, dracaena, raat rani and aloe” (“[I get] beautiful purple caterpillars, squirrels, little birds with bright yellow beaks visiting me”); or the American road trip she took with friends recently. It was Ganpati, at her granny’s house, with the whole family. “It was like an asylum basically. I loved it. Best thing ever.”

Her rep interrupts to say time’s up — I’d forgotten she was on the line the whole while. Kapoor has reached the set and must go into make-up. “Is there a plan?” I ask, kicking myself for getting caught up in her casual friendliness and not grilling her more. “No, I am not organised at all,” she says. “There is no system in the way I approach things. I just want to stay open-minded. That can be the biggest challenge.” Thirty minutes and do I feel like I know Shraddha Kapoor any better? Yaa-aa?

Click here to subscribe to the magazine and the digital version

Photographs: Farrokh Chothia; Styling: Nidhi Jacob; Creative Director: Prashish More; Make-up and Hair: Subhash Vagal; Production: Parul Menezes; Assisted by: Neha Salvi, Aparna Phogat; Model: Jason/Toabh Management