I wanted to look like I belong in the kitchen – Arjun Kapoor
Arjun Kapoor is not an actor who shies away from experimenting and his upcoming release is proof of that. The young actor will soon be seen R Balki’s Ki and Ka in which he plays a homemaker. In a candid chat, the Ka talks about his role, his take on relationships and society and how this film can break gender-based stereotypes.
What made you take up Ki and Ka?
When I met Balki (R.Balki, Director) sir, he narrated two ideas to me. The first one was a simple romantic film and I reacted in a vaguely positive manner. He said that he had another idea but was not sure if he wanted to make it at that time. But he still narrated it to me. He told me just two lines – Every boy grows up wanting to be like his father. What if a boy grew up wanting to be like his mother? I got very intrigued by these lines and wanted to know more. And the only way to know more was to get him to write the film. So he wrote the film and came back to me and it worked. He wrote it in a sensible way rather than making the character a laidback slacker who doesn’t want to work. The guy has an ideology as to why he doesn’t want to be like his father. He’s an IIM graduate but wants to be a homemaker because he believes that even that is a job.
He gives housewives their due of working from morning to night. Housewives actually work longer than all of us put together. But we never give them their due. So the film deals with a relevant concept. Hopefully this film will make you stop for a second and appreciate all those women who become homemakers, either by choice or without a choice, and are doing an amazing job.
How was the experience of working on this film?
We made the film in just 40 days. It’s always fun to do a contemporary urban romantic film because you relate to it. When I did Ishaqzaade, I didn’t have a reference point to such a guy. With 2 States you understand the romance a bit more because you might also react in a similar way. But there’s no similarity between Kabir (His character in Ki and Ka) and me, yet I enjoyed doing it because it’s fresh. I enjoyed working with Kareena (Kapoor, Actor) & Balki.
If I’m unable to convince the ladies that I enjoy cooking then the film won’t work
What preparations did you do this for this role?
I learnt to cook, learnt to do jhaado-pocha (Cleaning) and also learnt to wash the vessels. The main preparation was cooking. I could have done the role without learning to cook but I wanted to learn because I wanted to look comfortable in the kitchen. If I’m unable to convince the ladies that I enjoy cooking then the film won’t work. And it’s not easy to cook, wash vessels, cut and chop, clean – everything! There are a lot of variables. I wanted to be comfortable because that’s my office in the movie. I wanted to look like I belong in the kitchen.
Have you changed as a person post the film?
I did the film because I’m a certain way. It’s not that I realised a lot after doing the film. I do respect women for being homemakers. As a human, even I have taken them for granted sometimes. In a country like ours we rely so much on the women but we take them for granted. I genuinely have a lot of respect for women and I think that this film has taken it forward. I also feel that men should be allowed to be the way they are. If they’re not ambitious then why should they have to forcefully work or do a 9-5 job? Let them live their own choices. This film deals predominantly with a husband and wife who respect each other’s choices but baaki duniya ko bohot farak padta hai (it irks the society they live in). But why do people have to interfere in other people’s lives? So I realised that you should not care so much about what people feel because they will always have something or the other to say.
How was it working with a senior actor like Swaroop Sampat who plays your mother-in-law in the film?
She was more like my mother. I have more scenes with her than Kareena (Kapoor Khan, actor) because I spend more time with her in the house. It didn’t feel like we were acting. It’s an intimate film with small sets and few people.
Do you think that the attitude towards women will change after watching this film?
I don’t think that one film can bring such a major change. It can start conversations. But whoever sees the movie will at least have some kind of a newfound respect for women. I don’t think that films can bring revolutions because they actually reflect society. Films can’t the change the society, if that were the case then the society would have already been an amazing place. Rang De Basanti would’ve brought the biggest change in the history of India. But films reflect what is actually happening. Today, many more women are getting ambitious. They want to express themselves. And I don’t think that men are afraid to accept that. Certain sections have just been brought up in conditions where women are not supposed to work. And we just have to change that. This film is all about choices. As long as you can balance your life with the choices you make, it should be okay. If your partner is understanding enough it can be the most amazing relation because then nothing else matters.
Such a sensitive topic needs an R.Balki to present it in a sensible way, in a slice of life manner rather than being melodramatic or caricaturish
What is it that draws you to a film – the script or the director?
I would always lean towards the material first. Because if the material is average even a good director can’t uplift it beyond a point. But an average director with a good script can make a bearable film. But even good directors may go wrong sometimes. Good material is rare to find. In some cases you feel that an experienced director should come on board to be able to bring out that role. Then it’s an amalgamation of the material and the director. Ki and Ka is a film that is makeable by all directors. But because it’s such a sensitive topic it needs an R.Balki to present it in a sensible way, in a slice of life manner rather than being melodramatic or caricaturish. So I think that it’s a balance of both.
Do you think that your Television stint with Khatron ke Khiladi will help you garner a larger audience base?
I hope so or it will be a waste of time. Television has a very spontaneous connect with the audience. The TRPs and feedback (of the show) have been good. People have appreciated the texture of my hosting which is unique in comparison with other actors. People are getting to discover more about Arjun Kapoor. I’m new so it’s always good to put your personality out there in different forms. I thought that an actor’s job is only acting but now you realise that there’s more. And slowly you start enjoying it. I love doing Television and I think that I’ve got the coolest show.
This film deals with marriage in a fresh way, where it’s not bound by society or family
What is the status of your next film, Half Girlfriend?
It will start in May depending on my schedule. After that we shoot continuously till September. But I have a lot of preparation to do for it.
After watching the trailer of Ki and Ka, all your male fans are excited to watch the movie. What would you like to tell them?
I believe in this story which is why I’m doing it. It’s a sensitive topic. And I’m glad that the men are excited. This film shows that marriage can be cool. The biggest problem is that people say that life is over after marriage. But I feel that if you have a great partner, a marriage can be the start of something amazing. This film deals with marriage in a fresh way, where it’s not bound by society or family.
Transcribed by Kiran Dave