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'I don't want to play chocolate boy roles'

Last updated on: May 14, 2013 10:28 IST

Arjun Kapoor: I don't want to play chocolate boy roles


Ankur Pathak in Mumbai

Only a film old, actor Arjun Kapoor who impressed everybody with his Ishaqzaade performance, is ready to take on the sinister land mafia of Gurgaon in his next film Aurangzeb.

At Yash Raj studios for the interview, the actor looks like a star who was born to be one.

Although he insists he hasn't got the charisma of Ranbir Kapoor, he's got an independent aura of his own.

In this interview with Ankur Pathak, he discusses the importance of making atmospheric films, and also reveals that he may owe his career to Salman Khan, but that doesn't mean he will consult the superstar at every step.

Read on.

You play double roles in Aurangzeb. How was your reaction when you were offered the part and what led to the decision of signing the film?

Actually, I jumped twice when I got to know that I have been offered a double role in Aurangzeb.

I got the film before Ishaqzaade released. These people saw the rushes of Ishaqzaade and signed me for the role.

It's the most interesting subject given to an actor who is doing only his second film. The very fact that a producer showed faith in me at a point when even my first film hadn't been released, it was very heartening to know.

I didn't have to think before coming on board.

Image: Arjun Kapoor


'Ishaqzaade was a very real film'

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What separates Aurangzeb from other run-of-the-mill crime sagas?

It's about the present-day land mafia set in Gurgaon, where land-grabbing is acute. This kind of subject hasn't been tackled in depth before despite all of us growing up as fans of crime films like Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, Infernal Affairs etc.

When I see a film, I want to get transported to the universe the film creates for me. I feel Aurangzeb is one such film.

What does it take to make such a film?

The script should be honest, relevant and real. Like Ishaqzaade was a very real film. Its characters were from a small town and hence their worldview was restricted.

Parma's biggest victory was slapping Zoya (Parineeti Chopra's character). He didn't think beyond that.

Right from the start, the film dragged you in its world, its people and its way of living. I think production designs and art-direction along with styling is becoming crucial in making our films look more authentic and rooted in reality.

Image: Sashaa Agha and Arjun Kapoor in Aurangzeb

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'Everybody has a dark side, which they are not willing to explore'

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If you had to convince somebody to watch your new film Aurangzeb, how would you sell it to him?

Aurangzeb is about the thirst for absolute power. It is about the extent people will go to attain power, and it says that the thirst for such kind of anarchy is universal.

Everybody has a dark side, which they are not willing to explore, but it doesn't change the fact that it exists.

In Aurangzeb, there's an all powerful mafia led by a man called Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff) who is into land-grabbing. I play his most trusted aide, Ajay, who is unapologetically ambitious, shamelessly crass and is very insensitive.

The cops want evidence against Yashwardhan, which they don't have. They spot a lookalike called Vishal in Nainital and send him into Yashwardhan's gang as a mole to extract information which can be used against him. It's an interesting thriller.

Dominic Cooper essayed a similar role in The Devil's Double, but obviously the dynamics were different. Did you see the film as a reference for your character?

I did see The Devil's Double. It is hard to draw a parallel with that film, as brilliant as it is, because there, Cooper's character comes face to face with the other guy (which is also him), almost all the time as his job is to protect him in case of an assassination.

On the contrary, I have to ensure that I don't come in front of Ajay till a very long time. We do have scenes together. It is like me against me, and it was great fun doing that.

Image: Arjun Kapoor and Sashaa Agha in Aurangzeb

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'My characters in Ishaqzaade and Aurangzeb are different from each other'

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You played a character with grey shades in Ishaqzaade. Aurangzeb again explores the dark side of your character. Gunday, again, doesn't sound like a film where you'd be playing a chocolate boy. Do you think you are getting typecast in certain roles because of your rugged looks?

All these characters are rooted in reality, and that is always my biggest concern before signing on a film. My characters in Ishaqzaade and Aurangzeb are different from each other. Parma's love was extreme and so was his hatred.

Here, the moral compass in on an altogether different level. It's complex and disturbing. I have double roles, which in terms of characters, are opposite to each other. So it isn't only the severity of Ajay that I get to enact but also the innocence of Vishal.

Gunday is a superbly fun film with rarely any dark sides.

Do you aspire to do chocolate-boy roles?

That's a myopic view to first say that I have been restricted because of my rugged looks. And second, I don't aspire to do chocolate boy roles because I don't want to be something that I am not.

People have accepted me for the role that I have played, and they loved me in it. Why would I want to be something else then?

I will be doing a romantic character (2 States) but it is with my own interpretation.

Image: Sashaa Agha and Arjun Kapoor in Aurangzeb

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'There have been star kids who have failed as well'

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Coming from a family of stalwart personalities belonging to the industry, whose opinion do you take before signing a film?

I speak to my father some times, but ultimately take my own decisions.

Since Salman Khan initiated you into acting, do you consult him?

No. He's done a lot for me but I don't want to run to him for everything that I do. It is probably not the right thing, and I am sure even he won't like it. I will only do films which I approve of.

Do you feel that star kids are victimised because they enjoy easy access in the industry?

I think that is changing and that notion is no longer relevant. They were victimised to a point, but now everybody with the talent is coming in. There have been star kids who have failed as well. At the end of it, it all boils down to your capabilities.

Today, there is an Ayushman Khurana, a Ranveer Singh and even a Saqib Saleem. Star kids do enjoy an easy access, but that liberty cannot be sustained throughout and cannot ensure stardom. At all.

Image: Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Prithviraj Sukumaran in Aurangzeb

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'My films are my personal life'

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Do you think at some level, your personal life is getting affected because of work pressures?

What is personal life really?

I quite literally don't have any. My films are my personal life. There is nobody else who I love as much as films. I am the happiest on a movie set. Each night I sleep thinking of the filming that is to be done the next day, and each morning I look forward to go on to the film shoot.

There were reports that Priyanka Chopra threw tantrums of her seniority while filming Gunday with you and Ranveer Singh?

Priyanka is a very senior actress and we all know that. It is stupid to even suggest that she will throw any airs to reinforce that. We had great fun shooting for Gunday, and everything was cordial between us.

I have known Priyanka ever since I was an assistant on the sets of Salaam-E-Ishq. She will never subscribe to such cheap gimmicks.

Image: Arjun Kapoor and Sashaa Agha in Aurangzeb

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