Behind the always glamorous, no crease in sight, not a single hair strand fraying diva, who actually is Vaani Kapoor? The seven-film-old actress is a thorough homebody, a voyager and a sentimental girl at heart. She doesn’t let setbacks serve as a deterrence but looks at them as stepping stones that aid her in evolving holistically. I catch up with her for a freewheeling chat and discuss all things film, food and our shared fanaticism for the rom-com, The Holiday.
When asked about the surprising pivot from her undergrad in tourism studies to navigating the rough waters of the modelling and acting industry, she replies, “I think I’ve always had a love for cinema, even as a part of the audience. Naturally, for me, it didn’t feel like the most realistic dream, given my non-film background. But there was always this yearning at a subliminal level, and thus began my tryst with modelling, which later manifested into existence as I got to audition and sign with one of the finest production houses of the industry.”
Having essayed a multitude of memorable characters – be it Maanvi from Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui or Tara from Shuddh Desi Romance, she gushes about being the closest to Shyra from Befikre, especially in the second half of the movie. “For the first half, I struggled a bit since I’m not as flamboyant or extroverted as her. But courtesy of her transformation post the intermission, that part sure did resonate with me, and my introverted side could relate with her more,” she adds.
With the heated debate of privilege dominating most discussions in the industry currently, I felt a pressing need to ask whether there was a silver lining to beginning with a clean slate. “You always feel like the grass is greener on the other side. But because I haven’t been an industry kid, I wouldn’t know their hurdles. That being said, everyone’s on their journey, which is laced with thorns regardless. But yes, not knowing people and not having the right mentor or the right contacts feel like a massive disadvantage.”
In an industry where your image and personal brand are the prime markers of stardom, she was surprisingly candid about her reluctance to network ruthlessly. “Sometimes I feel a little out of place at parties or a film meeting as I’m not very good at selling myself as a product. And the industry being the way it is, it prefers assessing you via your commercial value and background, which kind of plays into factor.”
A self-professed glutton, Kapoor is a street food enthusiast and doesn’t mind a hearty indulgence of Maggie. ‘Us moment’, we reckon? Harbouring a love for both fancy eateries tucked in quaint little European cities, and the Indo-Chinese food trucks queued up in the lanes of Delhi, she drops a hot take by saying, “I love burgers. Burgers over pizza.” I slyly manage to conceal the plenty of offence I’ve taken over the statement and move on to talking about her favourite movie. “The Holiday. I love it. I’d love to star in an Indian remake of the same, but somewhere deep down, I feel that it should be left as is. Classics aren’t meant to be fiddled with.” This one we can collectively agree on.
Whether it’s Shuddh Desi Romance and War or Shamshera, she’s dabbled in every genre there is. But when it boils down to her arena of choice, she’s quick to admit that romance occupies the biggest chunk of her heart. “Even as an audience member, when I’m in my lowest mood, a romantic flick is the ultimate quick fix. I have this insatiable liking for soulful love stories.”
Having delivered both commercially sound releases alongside some films which couldn’t work their magic at the box office, I quiz her on her grieving process as an artist and her coping mechanisms to snap back. She pauses, collecting her thoughts and wisely responds, “When you’re very attached to something, and it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, it’s hard. I find it hard to detach myself from the thing I’ve poured my soul into, and of course, it’s a mammoth challenge. Albeit excruciatingly difficult, you must pick yourself up and let go of the notion of wanting to give up. I allow myself to grieve, only to come back stronger.”
Kapoor’s ease and her girl-next-door charm sweep me off my feet. Apart from my clammy hands, which were successfully hidden since the conversation took place on Zoom, I now realise how easy-going some celebrities can be. She makes it easy.
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