There are only a few actresses in Bollywood, who get to play characters which are equally important and powerful as their male counterparts’. Shraddha Kapoor, daughter of iconic Hindi film actor Shakti Kapoor, is one of those actresses who has built a strong resume with some remarkable roles, and that too within less than a decade in the industry. Her next release is Stree, which is a horror-comedy movie, something which the actress has never attempted before. In this candid conversation with our Mumbai correspondent, Mohnish Singh, Shraddha Kapoor talks about the joy of getting to do a film like Stree, her experience working with Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi, and whether or not she believes in the supernatural. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation with the actress.
Could you please tell us something about your new movie Stree and your experience while shooting it?
Stree is a horror comedy. I am very excited about this film. It’s a purely content driven film. The story of the film is the king and I am grateful that I got the opportunity to be a part of it. When I got the narration of the film, I was so happy. I was going mad laughing. It was such a funny script. It was fantastic to work with Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurrana and Abhishek Banerjee and all. Not only did I get to work with such an amazing script but also, I got to work with such fabulous actors. I am a big fan of Pankaj Ji and Raj.
Was there any supernatural incident on the sets?
During shooting, some incidents happened which were weirder than supernatural. One sad thing that happened was that one of the light-men fell from a high level and when we asked him how he fell, he replied that he felt as if someone pushed him. We were very stunned and started thinking about what is happening. Some things are a big question mark.
Do you like horror films?
I am very scared of horror movies and pure darkness is terrifying for me. I sleep with my night lights on always. In Chanderi, it’s so quiet there that the quietness in itself scared me. With this film also, if it was just a horror movie, I wasn’t sure if I would have done it or not because I would be afraid. So, it’s one genre that I don’t even watch much because I am petrified of it, and that feeling stays even after the film is over. I won’t be able to sleep.
Do you personally believe in the supernatural?
I think there is no definite information about supernatural beings, but I also don’t believe it does not exist altogether, that everyone is making it up. I would not rule it out completely. You never know what powers, which powers are actually in this world. If there is, we should respect it.
How do you handle criticism?
Constructive criticism always helps. I always want to do better at what I do than what I have done before. So, I want to work harder and harder every time. But I also sometimes felt that after Aashiqui 2 (2013), suddenly all my films were doing so well that something that didn’t do as well, was panned even more. There was a comparison to extremes. Having said that, it’s entirely up to the audience. They are the ones with the power and I respect their taste. I try to not take the criticism to heart. I try to not take success or failure to heart because there are always ups and downs. So, I just want to keep my head down and work hard. That’s what I want to focus on.
What is the status of Saina Nehwal biopic?
The status is that the training is going on in full swing and from next month onwards, I will start shooting for the film. The badminton portions we will be shooting next year. I have to train more for that because it’s very challenging. It takes a lifetime for people to become a badminton champion. I have to try to play like one in a very short amount of time, so I am trying my best.
How is it working with Prabhas in the upcoming movie Saaho?
It’s amazing. It is so fabulous to work with him. I just feel so good about all the films that I am working on at the moment. There is a lot of hard work. This year is quite a physically challenging one, but it is a very exciting one as well.
There are a lot of ups and downs in an actor’s career, what do you do to learn from each film?
I think there is a lot to learn from success and failures, but where I think one can learn most and where I learned most from is actually from sets. Working with actors like Raj and Pankaj Ji also provides learning moments. Success and failure are something I choose not to take to my heart at all because I want to focus on doing some very memorable work and keep bettering myself each time.
What is your favourite part of filming a movie?
I like travelling a lot and one fantastic thing about being in the movies is that you get to travel with your films. I really like that very much. We were in Tehri for Batti Gul Meter Chalu shooting. What a beautiful place is Uttarakhand! I enjoy travelling to places where there is a lot of nature. Through nature, I feel you find a deeper connection within yourself.
What is your favourite destination?
Ladakh is my favourite. I was there for ten days with my friends a few years back. The place is filled with beauty, with their monasteries, valleys, the flowers and the people. All of that and again just getting in touch with nature.
What kind of a theme is Stree carrying?
The film is handled in a light-hearted manner. It’s a horror comedy. In the film, the roles are a little reversed. Normally, females are expected to stay alert while out and not to stay out late. In Stree, we reversed that, so the men need to be on alert now. It is all done in a comedic flavour and good spirit.