Walk into our office when we’re closer to an ELLE cover shoot, and you’ll feel the intense buzz. Our fashion team is running around carrying heavy couture and putting together the outfits for each look; another teammate is glued to her phone, coordinating with the celebrity team to ensure everything goes as planned. And on the day of the shoot, we can merely pray for things to go smoothly. At this point, stress levels have hit way above the roof.
When the fashion team returned from the shoot with Shraddha Kapoor, they were chirpier than usual (a great sign), and I was intrigued. When asked what it was like working on set with the celebrity, they simply said, “She’s a breath of fresh air.”
Nothing is conventional about Kapoor, not even her debut film. Despite hailing from a family of renowned actors and singers, her entry into the industry wasn’t through a glamorous role. “A lot of people think that Aashiqui 2 was my first film, but it was Teen Patti, followed by Luv Ka The End,” she shares. “I was studying in Boston and was back home for my holidays when Ambika Hinduja saw my Facebook account (I’m assuming through a mutual friend) and asked me to audition. I was not planning on telling my family until I finished my studies that I wanted to become an actor, but after getting this role, it was the perfect opportunity to break the news.”
Despite two releases, it was only when she bagged the female lead in Aashiqui 2 opposite Aditya Roy Kapur that she catapulted to fame. Kapoor gained recognition not only as an actor but also as a singer, having sung one of the film’s hit tracks, Tum Hi Ho. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Family: Inspiration & Dynamics
Growing up in a family with a powerhouse of talent is daunting to many, but Kapoor sees it as an inspiration. “It’s like my entire childhood was meant to prime me in the best way for the rest of my life. My mom sings like a dream and is almost always singing at home. My nana was a renowned classical singer and musician, so there was a lot of music around me while growing up, and it brought the family together, especially during Ganpati every year. My masis act and sing as well. And seeing my dad and aunts being actors only made me want to do the same. I’ve realised that there can be nothing better than to be in an environment of creative people where the discussions are about art,” she shares.
Does this mean that’s all they talk about at home? Absolutely not. While being amidst so many actors and singers made her want to walk the same career path, Shraddha’s personal relationship with her family is similar to that of most of us. “I like to see my life as a Pixar movie or a Sooraj Barjatya film (laughs). I feel so blessed that I’m close to my extended family and cousins and that the entire family meets so often. While we have the same simple tiffs, we also support each other, and I love that. It’s tough to describe my relationship because how do you put in words the family dynamics of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or The Incredibles?” she shares with a laugh.
Keeping It Real
Kapoor likes to keep it authentic, even on social media. Whether it is the images of her no-makeup looks or a video of her enjoying an auto rickshaw ride, we can all relate to her Instagram content, which is why her 77 million Instagram followers don’t come as a surprise. “Previously, when social media didn’t exist, it wasn’t just the stars but also your cousins and friends living in different cities that you did not know anything about. Now with communication so hyper, it’s only natural for people to want to know what their favourite actor is doing. To deny this, in a romance of yesteryears, would be a disservice to the fans. Moreover, in a world where social media takes up five hours of your day looking at the best highlights of everyone’s lives, maybe, authenticity is the new aspiration.”
Yet To Come
Throughout her career spanning 12 years, the actor has experimented with various genres–from romantic dramas Half Girlfriend and OK Jaanu, and dance-centric movies ABCD: Any Body Can Dance and ABCD 2 to the biopic on Haseena Parkar and horror comedy Stree. Talking about which genre she’d like to explore next, she says, “I would like to try anything and everything. I think of the bigger picture and how much my character adds to it. My favourite films range from Avatar to Andaz Apna Apna, so the genres don’t pull me. It’s always the content.”
Kapoor’s next, Luv Ranjan’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (TJMM) is set to release on March 8, two years after Baaghi 3. Shraddha is sharing screen space with Ranbir Kapoor for the first time in the upcoming film, making it one of the much-anticipated films in 2023. Besides TJMM, the star is also working on Stree 2. But she admits that you may see her in comparatively fewer films than earlier. “I’ve grown so much as an actor and a creative professional that I now choose my roles extremely carefully. I’m finding that sweet spot where I can be a part of a highly entertaining film that simultaneously pushes my limits as an actor. You could say I’m going the Aamir Khan way in thinking very long term, and I hope that everything I am a part of entertains the audiences thoroughly on a deeper level,” she concludes.
ELLE India Editor: Ainee Nizami Ahmedi; Photographer: Shivamm Paathak; Jr. Fashion Editor: Shaeroy A Chinoy; Words: Isha Mayer; Hair & Makeup: Florian Hurel (L’atelier Artist Management ); Production: Balanced Xposure; Editorial Assistant: Riya Suresh; Assisted by: Komal Shetty_, Kawya Gharat (styling); Hair and Make Up: Bhakti Lakhani; Brand Coordinator: Aangi Nahta; Artist’s PR & agency: Spice Social, Collective Artists Network; Location Courtesy: Raffles Udaipur