'It has been a roller-coaster ride for me.'
'When I look back, there is only one word with which I can express my journey: Gratitude.'
It's a happy 31st birthday for Kartik Aaryan.
Not only is his latest film Dhamaka doing well, but he has quite a few projects lined up.
"Dhamaka was a new territory for me, a thriller genre I have never done before. Thanks to the masses, I feel I've passed with flying colours," he tells Subhash K Jha.
Dhamaka has been well received. Were you expecting that?
I feel that I have celebrated my birthday in advance, thanks to the response to Dhamaka.
The amount of love, warmth and praise I have received for my movie (is so much) that the birthdaywali-feeling and love-filled wishes have already done its work in advance.
Dhamaka was a new territory for me, a thriller genre I have never done before.
Thanks to the masses, I feel I've passed with flying colours.
I have always said that I am a fan-made star and their validation and praise gives me the confidence to pick more such roles filled with surprises.
What are your birthday plans? What are your earliest birthday memories?
This year, my birthday is going to be Dhamaka-filled. I will be celebrating it with my family and fans.
I have some surprises planned for my birthday and the celebration is going to be great.
Talking about my birthdays during my childhood, they were filled with joy, home-cooked delicacies and cakes.
Every birthday is special when one has one's family around and I'm lucky that, today, my family is with me.
You started with a hit, Pyaar Ka Punchnama. How do you see your journey so far?
It has been a roller-coaster ride for me.
When I look back, there is only one word with which I can express my journey: Gratitude.
I had come from Gwalior with no connections at all, travelled in local trains, changed at railway stations, shared a room with 12 other people, faced rejection at auditions day in and day out.
But the one thing that stayed with me was hope.
I was determined to prove that hard work is the ultimate virtue that pays off.
I have worked with some of the most talented directors and big banners.
You share a terrific vibe with your fans. Do you like reaching out to them? Doesn't the attention get too much at times?
To be honest, I love the attention. The attention my fans give me has become part of my basic essentials.
As actors, we work for the masses and their love. I am lucky that my fans have loved me and hailed my work.
This attention is what I call pure love. How can one ever complain about receiving too much love?
I call it 'Fanception'.
I love being amidst my fans, whether it's after a late night shoot or when I am returning home post gym. The sudden burst of love I receive and their small gestures touch my heart and make me happy.
I missed them during the pandemic but, thanks to social media, I was constantly in touch with them.
How difficult was it for you to make your presence as an outsider?
It was not easy to reach this stage.
Today, filmmakers trust me.
Masses hold certain expectations from my films.
If that's how you measure an A-lister, then I am glad I am here.
As an outsider, I had to be cautious with every film I picked and how I made every role relatable and loved by the masses.
This was important to make my presence felt and I worked really hard for it.
Even after having two hits with the Punchnama series, I had to audition.
People knew me as the 'monologue wala ladka' and there was still a gap to fill to become a household name.
So I gave my hundred percent to every film but it was Sonu (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) that changed the game for me.
With that success, I doubled my hard work and put in 200 percent with every film.
Today, people know me by my name and that makes me feel good.
But the journey continues, so does the hard work.
I want to be number one!
Tell us about your early days. Were you always a movie buff? Did your parents approve of your career choice?
My parents didn't know I was coming to Mumbai with the intention of becoming an actor. They thought I was going to the city to become an engineer.
Initially, I stayed in Navi Mumbai (North Mumbai) near my college, but made sure I went to every audition in Mumbai. I balanced auditions with my studies.
When my parents came to know I was trying to become an actor, they were clear that my studies had to be completed.
I have loved movies since childhood. It is this love for the movies that helps me pick the right script.
As a major star, do you think you have a social responsibility? How do you think you can help improve the world around you?
As an actor, yes, it is important to spread the right information and create awareness about certain things.
Today, a lot of people look up to me, so there is an accompanying social responsibility.
Last year, during the early stages of the pandemic, there was a lot of confusion about the pandemic.
Knowing my social media presence, I made sure I used the digital medium to spread the right word and erase myths.
My show Koki Poochega was my small initiative to bring change and improve conditions by changing mindsets.
What are your plans for the next year?
Dhamaka was my first attempt to bring a change but there will be more dhamakas in the coming months, as I have attempted different characters.
Now, you will see Kartik 2.0.
A lot of my films are coming up, and it will be worth the wait.
I have Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, my first every horror-comedy and we have shot it during the pandemic.
There is Freddy.
There is Shehzada, Captain India and my musical love story with Sameer Vidwan.
Yes, it's a wonderful birthday, a wonderful life.