BizAsia talks to Arjun Kapoor about ‘Tevar’

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In the forthcoming film ‘Tevar’, Arjun Kapoor will be seen playing a Kabaddi champion. Although it is early on in his career, it seems the actor is experimenting somewhat with his roles. However, what makes ‘Tevar’ particularly special for him is that his father Boney Kapoor and uncle Sanjay Kapoor are producing the film.

BizAsia caught up with Kapoor a few weeks ahead of the film’s release.

Arjun Kapoor
Arjun Kapoor

‘Tevar’ is almost set for release, how do you feel?

Same as always I guess. It’s the same as every film at the pre-release stage – a bit of nervousness, a bit of excitement. I haven’t managed to see the film yet so it’s like there’s a blind spot and I don’t know what we’ve ended up making but I’m confident because I think we have a very good director. So, I think nervous and excited is the best way to describe what I’m feeling right now.

‘Tevar’ has been made in different languages previously, and originally in Telugu. How did you find inspiration to essay the role you play seeing as it’s been played by other actors previously?

‘Okkadu’ was released in 2003 and that was before I became an actor. I’ve only just seen it and I really liked the material at that point. I never revisited it at any point, I just saw it as a reference point for the material. The inspiration for me really came from the material that my director provided. He had rewritten it keeping the Indian audience in mind so it wasn’t so much about playing the hero. It’s not just a front-footed hero who’s there to save the damsel in distress. He is in a set of circumstances that he doesn’t expect and this makes him rise to the occasion rather than him already being a hero in that sense. He’s a regular guy who has an attitude, he has a point of view in life. He’s living his life and falls into this situation and it’s about how he deals with that. It’s an interesting part for me. I never looked at the original for anything beyond that.

You’re playing a Kabaddi champion. What is your personal interest in the sport?

I really didn’t know anything about Kabaddi before I started working on ‘Tevar’. We decided that we would carry on with Kabaddi as that was the sport in the original as well. I started practising with actual Kabaddi players. I spent around two and half weeks playing with them and I realised that it seems really easy when you’re watching them play but it’s actually a combination of strength and agility. It’s a difficult sport. You have to be able to stay on your feet and tackle people as well and be faster than them too. I learnt quite a lot about the sport because of the rules. The interesting thing that came up when I spent time with them is that they have this quirk that they’re always in track pants so that’s something that was incorporated into my character in ‘Tevar’. My character is always in track pants and sneakers. It’s like they even attend weddings wearing the same. They’re obsessed with practising all the time.

The producers of the film are your father and uncle. What was your experience working with them and did you get any special treatment?

I can’t remember ever getting any special treatment but I knew everybody since I was a kid through working in a home production – they’d seen me grow up. It was a little different when we were shooting it because at the end of the day the actor’s job is to go about and deliver the scene no matter what’s happening behind the scenes. There was an awareness here because it was my home production and I sometimes got involved in more than just acting. However, there wasn’t any special treatment provided to me. If anything, my father took more of my dates and got less out of them but that’s part and parcel of doing a home production.

You joined Twitter not long back and you’ve been active on there especially with ‘Tevar’ promos. How important have you found the medium in gauging reactions to the posters and trailers of the film?

I was very apprehensive initially about getting into social networking because I thought it takes away from your personal life but then I realised it’s totally your prerogative what you decide to post. I liked the idea of connecting with people who liked my work by showcasing more of my work. It’s been really nice. You can kill a lot of speculation, you can talk directly to people, and you can put out stuff which you wouldn’t be able to say on print and television – you can do it on Twitter. You can even put up things that are a little personal where your film is concerned. It’s been an eye-opener for me, I didn’t even know there are so many people who’ve seen my films across the world. I didn’t know of people in Russia, Peru, Turkey who have seen my film. I might never get to meet all these people but through Twitter at least I can be connected to them in one way or the other.

This is your third time working with a debutante director. What was your experience working with Amit Sharma in ‘Tevar’?

Well, the thing with Amit is he’s not really like other debutante directors because he’s directed ads. He’s a very well-established ad filmmaker for 7-8 years and he directed the Google reunion commercial that won him a lot of accolades. He’s very good at what he does. He’s very clear, even though this was his first feature film. He’s a sucker for good performances and he keeps pushing you. Because he’s an ad filmmaker, aesthetically he’s very sound. He gives a kind of credibility and realism to a commercial film like ‘Tevar’. You can actually believe that this world in ‘Tevar’ exists. He’s created a very interesting world even though what he do is a bit dramatic. When I met him, I felt all of that instantly. He’s a very fun director and he’s going to be someone to look out for in the next few years.

Your co-star in the film is Sonakshi Sinha who you are going to be seen with for the first time on screen. She’s recently said you’ve known each other since you were young. What’s your experience been at this professional level in working with her?

Personally, yes, I’ve known her for many years because we went to school together but I’ve never really interacted with her beyond the social hi and hello. On the sets, I realised she’s naturally a very very talented actor. That’s an aspect to her which will come to the forefront as time goes on. There’s a certain kind of cinema that takes away from her ability as an actor. She’s always been a star but not known for her acting skills and I think that will slowly change. She’s also great fun because she’s from a filmi family but she’s actually quite a regular girl. It’s refreshing because she’s not filmi. She laughs at all my bad jokes so I think that is an extra additional brownie point.

Tevar

Is there anything you’d like to say about the fact that you’ve been romantically linked her recently?

Well, I keep saying it in all my interviews that I would be surprised if the media didn’t link us. It becomes part and parcel of every film release. I have been linked with all my co-stars I think now, including Ranveer, so that doesn’t change. It’s ok, it happens. After the film, people will forget and will move on.

Is there one thing that you will always remember about your journey for ‘Tevar’?

Well, being able to face the camera with my family members watching is something I’ve never experienced or encountered before.

In 2014 you had three releases, was that a conscious thing after having two years with one film each?

I think it happens organically once you’re working so much. I did three films back-to-back in 2013 and they all released in 2014. This year I’ve only shot for ‘Tevar’. As an actor, you kind of find it hard to be excited about every script that comes your way. I’ve explored many genres in the six films I’ve done so I would like to pick and choose the kind of cinema I do. I’m 29 so I think I can explore different opportunities and pace myself now. It was a conscious decision, I was being offered repetitive material so I thought I would wait and watch.

Recently, there’s been a lot said about your forthcoming films – Milan Luthria’s next being shelved, you being signed for the ‘Ram Lakhan’ remake by Rohit Shetty and also that you’re not signing any films while promoting ‘Tevar’ – would you like to clarify?

Well where Milan’s film is concerned, we sat on a couple of options but by the time things materialised, we realised that the story is similar to a film called ‘Fan’ starring Shah Rukh Khan. So it’d make no sense for us to pursue a script that already had similarities to another film. So that’s where Milan’s film is at right now. As for ‘Ram Lakhan’, you should ask Rohit Shetty because I have no idea about it. In terms of not signing anything, I won’t be able to start a film until the middle of February now and I’ll be promoting ‘Tevar’ until 9th January when it releases. Nothing exciting has really come my way to get my jumping out of my chair and say that I’ve got to shoot now. So I’m waiting and I’m sure something will appear sooner or later otherwise I’ll keep waiting.

What would appeal to the audiences about ‘Tevar’?

I think anyone who enjoys Hindi cinema will enjoy ‘Tevar’ because it has all the basic ingredients – action, romance, comedy, dance, entertainment, emotions. It’s obviousl packaged in a new format with younger actors. It’s got its heart in the right place – it has a genuine storyline. It’s not a masala film. There is a journey that happens in the film. When you start off, you’ll experience various emotions and I hope everyone enjoys the journey.

What would you say is your “tevar” when it comes to your life and your career?

You know I find it very boring to talk about myself and what my attitude is. You should ask people close to me what they feel my attitude is. However, fundamentally I am pragmatic – that’s my attitude towards life. When it comes to work, it’s always to put my best foot forward.

BizAsia thanks Kapoor for taking the time to talk to us about ‘Tevar’, which releases on 9th January.

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