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'Kartik Threw Vanity Out Of The Window'

Last updated on: June 13, 2024 17:55 IST
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'He just completely surrendered to his character and my film.'

IMAGE: Kartik Aaryan as Murlikant Petkar in Chandu Champion. Photographs: Kind courtesy NadiadwalaGrandson/YouTube

Kabir Khan's Chandu Champion is Kartik Aaryan's most important film to date.

Kabir, who has earlier worked John Abraham, Salman Khan and Ranveer Singh, has his own reasons for selecting Kartik for this one.

"I needed somebody who can look like a boy.

"I needed somebody who was 18 when he makes a statement, like in the trailer he says about Olympics, you feel like, 'What a stupid boy! Why is he talking like this?'

"I needed that boyishness, you know.

"I think the most important reason why I signed Kartik was his ability to be physically versatile, and then everything began.

"I needed.... when you see the film you realise that he achieved what is on paper.

"His greatest achievement is that he could make the transition from age 18 to 35.

"That naivete also. Yes, yes, the boyish naivete.

"Also, somebody who can look endearing, even when his conduct is questionable.

"So, that was a very important quality for me.

"And then when you see him and, you know, with the sort of coming of age for the character, with the whole body transformation, because he really, in the film, has also lived two lives.

"If you see him in parts of the film, he's all chubby and he's like the way a village boy should be. That is the starting point of the film."

IMAGE: Kartik Aaryan as a young Murlikant Petkar in Chandu Champion.

Kabir reveals Kartik bulked himself up for the role.

"He actually put on all that weight. He wanted to put on some weight for Freddy, but I think he couldn't stop eating and went on putting on weight. And when I went to him, he was that weighty.

"So, you know, what is funny is, what I really found amusing, is when we put out the first poster, half the world started saying, this is AI generated.

"Then when the trailer came out, they realised, oh, he actually has a body, because in trailer you can't do that amount of weight. You can't fudge to that extent.

"I'm really happy about this. He has gone the extra mile. And whenever an actor goes that extra mile, you know, I really wish that he gets recognised and applauded for it."

IMAGE: Kartik in Chandu Champion

I remind Kabir that Salman Khan went that extra mile for Kabir in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

"He did, and I'm glad he got applauded for that. He's still applauded for that.

"Whatever the outcome of this film, Kartik is a winner. I'm so happy. He deserves it.

"Yeah, and also, you know, I enjoyed working with him. For me, as you know, for me, the journey is very important. It's very important."

IMAGE: Kartik in Chandu Champion

Although lately Kartik has acquired a reputation for being meddlesome Kabir gives the star-actor a clean chit.

"I honestly really enjoyed working with him. You know, there were a lot of these little, you know, how people start saying, 'Oh, Kartik is a little finicky', or 'Kartik does this', or 'Kartik has to do that'.

"He just completely surrendered to his character and my film. He just went with the flow.

"He threw vanity out of the window. He never once came and saw, 'How's my hair, how's my...' Because anyway, I cut his hair off.

"There was nothing to check. I gave him these loose chaddi banyans to wear.

"So, it was so refreshing to see an actor at the stage where he is, you know, where he's a young guy.

"He's known for his fine comedy. He is this superstar. He has never done something like this, even remotely something like this."

IMAGE: Kartik in Chandu Champion.

Kabir promises a total transformation of Kartik.

"Yup, it's a total changeover. But, you know, I realise now, and -- not that I do it with a design in mind -- but I realise that every time I've take an actor and in some way put him or her into a space which is really not theirs, people have really loved it.

"You know, it happened with me with John and Katrina in New York. Or, you know, Bajrangi, you know, Salman was pushed into that role and people really initially, everybody said, 'Why are you doing it with Salman?'

"And then when they saw the film, they really enjoyed it.

"In this case, I'm very happy with what Kartik has done, with the kind of effort he's put in.

"Like I said to somebody, the boy was known for his monologue. His silences in this film will speak louder than the monologue.

"Kartik used to tell me that a lot of people used to not remember his name and used to say, he's that guy with the monologue. He crossed that bridge long back.

"It's very different from what he's done so far. And I think he's enjoyed it because it's also the first time he's had to go through a process where he has to prepare for something. He'd never done it.

"Sometimes when you put actors through processes and they don't enjoy it, they get, you know, like irritated with the unnecessary... And also until you put an actor through the test, through the test of fire, how do we know whether they're capable or not?

"So, it's actually you providing him an opportunity to prove himself and he rising to the occasion. He did. He truly did."

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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