'As an actor, I am very greedy. I feel my film should get good word of mouth, the critics must like it and it must get good box office collections.'
Kartik Aaryan is becoming one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood.
Most of his films have managed to steal the audiences's heart and propel his career in the right direction.
After winning raves for his last release, Dhamaka, which premiered on Netflix, the actor is now waiting for Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 to hit the screen.
Kartik, who has mostly been seen in romcoms, tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh why he chose a horror comedy. “It’s not like I am deliberately trying to break my image. It’s about the script. If I like the script or the makers, I want to work with them... Fans are not really attached to the genre; they are attached to the actor."
What was your first reaction when the makers approached you to star in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2?
It gave me the opportunity to explore the horror-comedy genre for the first time so I was really excited.
I listened to the story first and the title was revealed to me at a later stage. They had gone the other way round.
I was excited when I heard the story but when the title was revealed to me, I was even more excited.
It seemed like a great sequel to Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
The film has a new story and new characters but the world is similar.
I was really excited when I donned the costume of the baba.
It was black, so I felt like a superhero!
You are an engineering student. Science and the supernatural don’t go hand in hand. Didn’t you feel weird working on this film?
That was way before. I have forgotten everything (laughs).
I didn’t think much about it. I was just going with the flow and the film made sense to me.
Anees (Bazmee, Director) Sir has portrayed all the jokes and elements of the film, be it comical or horror, on a larger-than-life scale.
Automatically, you are sucked into that world.
Success and fame come packaged with criticism. How are you handling it?
I don’t care.
I was the same right from the start and I am the same even now.
I just keep trying to reduce my shortcomings.
I feel, if at all there is something to be changed on screen, I will do it.
If you have been seeing me since Pyaar Ka Punchnama; there are many things that have changed. So that process is continuous.
But things like the way I meet and all, how can I change that?
With the pandemic slowing down, things have been returning to normal and theatres are opening up. Do you have any particular box office collection that you want to achieve?
I think I have to cross Rs 100 crore.
I never keep numbers in mind but I always feel that my next film should earn more than my previous film and be a success.
I leave no stone unturned when it comes to promotions or songs or posters; they will all have an X factor associated with them.
Word of mouth is very important. It increases the box office collection.
As an actor, I am very greedy. I feel my film should get good word of mouth, the critics must like it and it must get good box office collections.
Does the comparison with Bhool Bhulaiyaa bother you?
It will happen.
But the day this film came to me, I looked at it as a new film.
More than the pressure, I feel that when people watch this film, they will realise, 'Oh! This is so nice and the title suits the film.'
What attracted you the most to this film?
The naughtiness; the character has a certain naughtiness that I associate with.
You will find that Rooh Baba or Roohaan is that kind of a character.
I can’t reveal much more actually.
What was working with Kiara Advani like?
She is a very talented actress.
We gelled really well.
We started working on this film more than two years ago.
We have spent a great time together and got to know each other.
I think we enjoyed each other’s company.
In your recent releases, you have been portraying versatile characters. But romcom is a genre you have always been associated with. How challenging has it been for you to break that image?
I am not here to break stereotypes.
It’s not like I am deliberately trying to break my image.
It’s about the script.
If I like the script or the makers, I want to work with them.
For example, if I get three back-to-back romcoms, I don’t think I would go searching for a thriller amidst all that.
If there are three good scripts, I will do all three.
It’s about the script.
The love I have been receiving after Dhamaka gives me a sense of validation as an actor.
Fans are not really attached to the genre; they are attached to the actor.
Were there any instances when you felt scared?
As a child, I was scared of the dark.
If I stay alone in a hotel or in large rooms, I don’t switch off the lights.
You start remembering weird stories.
Are you superstitious?
No. But I believe in God and energies.
Do you feel that you have found your ground or there are still miles to go?
There is a long way to go.
When I didn’t get my first film, getting one was my aim.
Your aim keeps changing.
After getting the first film, I was thinking how I would get the next one.
After that, it was about how I would get fame.
After I did Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, I felt it shouldn’t be my only blockbuster film to cross Rs 100 crore.
Then Lukka Chuppi happened, which was also a big opener.
So the aim keeps changing. As you progress, you want more and more.
There is no finish line.
You have many films in the pipeline and have been simultaneously shooting for them. How did you go about managing that?
It happened unintentionally.
I did not want to go from one set to another and then come back to the first set. Doing that is not enjoyable at all.
It just happened after the first and second waves of the pandemic.
The dates of the films started overlapping because of the long break and it turned out to be very hectic for me.
Only my team and I know how we did it (laughs).
You have wrapped up filming Freddy. What was that experience like?
It was very difficult.
The character of Freddy is entirely different.
I haven’t played such a character before.
Doing that and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, which is a mass entertainer, was actually more about managing time as I was shooting for both films simultaneously.
I was well-versed with the characters, so there was never any mix-up. It's just that 24 hours seemed too little.
When actors give two-three hit films, they build an aura of stardom around themselves. But you have always kept yourself simple and humble.
It’s not a conscious decision.
I feel that the on-screen aura is more important than the off-screen one.
For example, when I am dancing to a song, you should feel that when he dances, he has that swag. That is more important than coming for an interview and showing attitude.
After you become a star, you miss out on many things. What do you miss most?
I miss going out with my friends and family for dinners. I don’t get that privacy.
It’s not that I am not able to eat pani puri or something like that... that I manage to do somehow.
But when I go out for dinners with my friends, for example, people want a photograph.
They don’t understand that it’s not just them, the next person also wants the same and it continues.