By Asjad Nazir
In demand actress Shraddha Kapoor will continue her remarkable run of high profile Bollywood releases with two contrasting films releasing back to back.
She has gone through an amazing transformation to play the title role in gangster biopic Haseena: Queen of Mumbai, which has its release next month.
The talented actress also plays a lead role in romantic drama Half Girlfriend, which is based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel of the same name.
She stars opposite Arjun Kapoor in the story of a guy from India’s rural heartlands who is hopelessly in love with a wealthy big city girl and will go to any lengths to win her over.
The musical romance also sees her teaming up with director Mohit Suri, who gave her star-making blockbusters Aashiqui 2 (2013) and Ek Villain (2014). Eastern Eye caught up with the actress to discuss Half Girlfriend, romance, inspiration and more.
You have been amazingly busy in the last five years, have you had a chance to enjoy the stardom and all the success?
You are absolutely right Asjad, I have been working back to back and had very little time off. I have only managed to take two holidays in that time and feel like I need to take a few more. But I do cherish the success I have had every single day and am very grateful for it. I am so very thankful for all the support!
It seems as if you are choosing different projects with each passing film?
I am getting very interesting work. I am doing two biopics now and am really excited about both because they are so different from each other. Both are of course based on real people. So there is no such conscious decision that I want to move in a particular direction or anything.
It’s just about what is offered to me and if I find it exciting, I am thrilled to take it on.
What did you like about Half Girlfriend?
The funny thing is with (director) Mohit Suri, he never really needs to narrate anything to me because the moment he asks me if I would like to be in his film I just say yes. So with him the narration is always secondary. When I heard the project what I really liked about it was how Arjun’s character Madhav is so ridiculously and selflessly in love with (my character) Riya. I really loved that emotion in the story.
Did the dynamic of working with Mohit Suri change now because you are a bigger star?
No, in fact I feel like our working relationship gets more comfortable because he is like family now. We complete each other’s sentences and I get what he is trying to say without him even having to explain it. So I think that is a very special bond to have.
Had you read the novel the movie is based on beforehand?
No, I actually hadn’t read the book. I started to read it, but Mohit said not to and told me to connect more with the script instead. So I did just that.
Half Girlfriend is a big screen adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel. How much does he get involved in production?
He gets involved in the sense that he comes on set and will only provide his input when he feels like it is needed. He is a great energy to have around on set, for sure.
Could you relate to your character Riya because you must have so many hopelessly in love men chasing after you?
(Laughs) No there hasn’t been some crazy amount of people chasing after me or anything like that, but of course there is a lot of love from fans. There is a tremendous amount of love, yes.
What I can relate to about my character is that what truly makes her happy is the simpler things in life. She comes from an affluent family – on the outside everything is very rosy and seems perfect. She is the most popular girl in school, wears the best clothes, travels in the most expensive cars etc. But deep down the simple things in life give her joy. So that is something I connected with very strongly.
For those who haven’t read the book, what is a half girlfriend?
A half girlfriend is basically someone who wants to fall in love and be in a relationship, but because of certain circumstances she can’t entirely commit herself to the relationship.
Are you much of a romantic in real life or are you too busy for love?
I am very busy and have very little time. Right now I am romancing my movies very happily though, but I would like to believe that I am a romantic in real life. I love that whole idea of a fairytale romance.
Do you have a favourite moment in Half Girlfriend?
You know there are so many endearing scenes between Madhav and his friends. I really love those moments in the movie.
You always generate great chemistry with your leading men. What is the secret?
Thank you! I don’t know. I think the credit of that goes entirely to my directors actually. In terms of acting I don’t have a specific approach that I have to make sure our chemistry has to be great.
“I have to make sure that I am being true to the character I am portraying.”
Of course, I have to make sure that I am being true to the character I am portraying. I just feel like the films I have been lucky enough to be part of just fall together really well. I feel very lucky in that sense. Mohit Suri’s films are known to have great music.
What is your favourite song in Half Girlfriend?
There are a lot of great songs, but my favourite has to be “Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga”.
Did you pressurise Mohit into letting you sing in the film?
I will leave that question of yours incomplete.
Great. I’ll assume you have sung in the movie.
Do you get nervous before the release of a movie. You have two coming out back to back with Half Girlfriend followed by Haseena: Queen of Mumbai?
I feel very nervous, you put so much into every film. I really hope people will go watch and enjoy both the movies.
A lot of guys love you, but you have a huge fan base with young girls. What does that mean to you?
That means the world to me. I really do feel all the love that I get from everyone. I cherish every single bit of it. Without that love I am nothing. So it means a lot.
Your transformation in your next film Haseena: Queen of Mumbai is remarkable. What was that experience like?
It was very interesting. I mean, it was the first time I have played a grey shaded character to begin with. The teaser will be out very soon and I hope everyone likes it.
What is the Shraddha Kapoor master plan?
Right now I am following that little voice in my heart (laughs). This voice right now is telling me you have been working hard and doing movies back to back. You need to take it easy a little bit and need to do some travelling. You also need to do some introspection so make some time for that.
Apart from travelling, what are your big passions away from work?
I love reading, watching movies and spending time with my family, and friends. I love doing nothing and also love writing. I enjoy faffing around on my keyboard.
You are becoming a style icon. Will you do something in the fashion space?
I really don’t think I am a style icon at all. Really I don’t because I feel like I don’t know much about fashion and the latest trends. If anybody feels that I am well dressed or likes what I wear and stuff the entire credit of that goes to my stylists Tanya Ghavri and Allia Al Rufai, who I work with a lot. So I give them a lot of the credit for that. They are so talented and have such a wonderful vision.
Today what most inspires you?
What inspires me today is making people forget about their worries, coming into theatres and getting immersed into my films.
Why should we go watch Half Girlfriend?
I feel people should go watch it because it is a Mohit Suri directed film, which is a beautiful, intense, romantic love story.
Thanks for your time and carry on being awesome?
And thank you Asjad for your good energy.
Half Girlfriend is in cinemas now.