There’s a certain side to our Bollywood celebrities that we don’t get to witness or read about very often. Yes, we do know enough about their films and also some teeny-weeny details about their personal lives. But that’s pretty much it, right? In our attempt to change that gradually, we are starting a new series called Getting Real With where we will try to get to know some of our stars beyond the 70 mm by talking about life, love and all things ‘real’.
The first one to feature in this brand new section of ours is none other than B-town’s celebrated fashionista – Sonam Kapoor Ahuja. Her film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga released recently and won her a lot of praise from all quarters. Apart from her performance, the actress is also being lauded for her bold choice of script. By now, we know that she doesn’t shy away from taking up challenging roles. She also seldom refrains from speaking up and expressing her unabashed opinions on various topics. However, Sonam has now confessed to being a little more careful about her statements as she’s married.
However, I managed to catch her at her candid best during our freewheeling chat and got her to talk about a lot of things ranging from her wedding discussions with her father Anil Kapoor, the best part about being married to Anand Ahuja, losing out on multiple projects because of her film background and much more.
The tagline of your recent film ELKDTAL – ‘Set Love Free’ got us thinking. It’s a very powerful tagline. What does it mean to you?
For me, love is the only thing that can save the world. So, when you cast judgement on someone’s love – on who they decide to love and who they want to love – I think it comes from a place of insecurity or hate. Those negative emotions should not have any place in this world. That’s the whole idea of it, just to let love be.
You’ve garnered a lot of adulation for your role in the film…
Honestly, this film was important to me because I was very flattered that somebody thought of me to play that role. But at the same time, this was a very small step towards a realization and understanding that we, as a whole society, should understand what this film was about. So we’ve tried to do it in a very entertaining, sweet, funny and very non-complicated way. It’s straightforward, uncomplicated and it’s very easy on the eyes.
This was the first time you worked in a movie with your dad Anil Kapoor. How was the experience of attending all the promotional events with him?
Oh, even during those, he’s performing. Because I’m used to him at home, I’m like what has happened to my father?
So how is he at home?
He is the opposite in the house. At work and outside, he has this unending energy. At home also he has this energy but he is like a calm sea. He has never yelled at me, never lost his temper, he is on an even keel.
If you had to pick out one thing about him that you love the most, what would that be?
The best thing about my father is that he is a liberal, he’s progressive and he has brought me up to have an opinion and he has immense belief in his children. That has given me immense self-belief. He is not at all conservative in his thinking. For me, that has been the most liberating thing as a child, artist and a woman. All my learnings and teachings about life, about what my inclinations and opinions should be, I get that from my mom and dad.
Previously, you’ve mentioned that it was on the sets of ELKDTAL that you started having wedding discussions with him. Tell us more…
The thing is, most people take a lot of time off before their wedding. I was literally shooting a week before mine and as soon as my wedding was done, I left for work. So that was the only time. I truly believe that a marriage is more important than a wedding. What happens in your marriage is more important for sure. It’s a party at the end of the day. For me, it was really important to continue my life and continue working because I believe I was already married to Anand, the wedding was just like a formality and a party. I was like let’s just plan it. It was like planning a Diwali or Christmas party. People want to celebrate us, amazing. So it wasn’t stressful. My dad and I were together on set, thank God. So I could spend all this time with him and be like these are the lists and stuff like that. We missed out a few people. I think during most weddings, you sometimes forget, and I feel really bad about it. But at the same time, it was a lot of fun because sometimes mom (Sunit Kapoor) and Rhea (Kapoor, her sister) used to come on the sets. Usually, they don’t visit us on set as much. So it was nice. Even though Anand hasn’t been on sets much, he used to come too. So these visits were very nice. To plan all of this in between shots was great.
Your photos with Anand on social media and the comments that you leave on each other’s posts are just too adorable. Marriage clearly suits you! What’s the best part about being married?
The best part about being married is having a best friend. And having someone who unconditionally loves you, no matter what you are going through. Even on the tough days, you know you have someone to go back to. There is, sort of, an innate thehrav (stability) in your life because no matter how bad it is, or how good it is, you have someone to anchor you down.
How did your family react when you told them about Anand?
They loveeee him. My mom and dad love him. When they met him, he was kind and sweet and everybody loved him.
Last year, all your releases (Veere Di Wedding, Pad Man or Sanju) won critical acclaim and also did exceptional business at the box-office. Was 2018 a game-changing year for you?
I want my films to be profitable, but I’m not looking at the tag of being the biggest superstar of the country. For me, that is completely secondary, and if there is, it should only be the byproduct of the kind of work I want to do. My only concentration was to do good films. Now they happened to have done well, whether it was Veere Di Wedding, Pad Man or Sanju, they did really well, they were critically acclaimed, for me that was more important. It’s just gratifying to know that people are loving my films and accepting it. I never do a film thinking what my opening day is going to be like. When I do a film, I hope that my producers recover the money and make a little money on it so that I can keep getting work. And I hope the critics and the audience like it. For me, that’s the most important thing.
Actresses are being approached to play very strong roles and some great scripts have been coming your way…
I think with content taking such a front-row seat with the way films are being made, more and more such films will be made because women are more complex than men. With their lives and the way they think and the way they are – because of that, I feel there will be more movies which will be written about women. And the perception about women is also changing.
What is the best and the worst part about being an actress?
The best part about being an actor is to have the power to be a part of art that can effect change in some way, positively. The worst part about it is that sometimes you have the responsibility of always being answerable. I take it because I chose to be an actor and chose to have this exposure and fame. So I don’t regret it at all, but sometimes, you tend to be answerable for a lot of things. And sometimes, I want to make mistakes. Sometimes, I feel like it’s okay to make mistakes but there are a lot of people who look up to you. So you are constantly responsible and that can kind of curbs you. There are so many actresses who don’t say much or say anything because they feel there is a responsibility to be a certain way. So that is something I kind of wish I didn’t have. I wish I could say whatever and do whatever.
Everyone has always spoken about the privilege star kids have. But nobody ever addresses the pressure and difficulties they have to face. Have you ever lost out on any project just because you had a family with a film background?
For me, the perks completely outweigh the negatives. But there are a lot of times where somebody has some beef with my father, or there are so many times where something has happened with maybe my cousin brother, aunt or uncle, and they pass judgment on me and be like ‘why should I work with this girl?’. So sometimes, that’s there. Or sometimes even people think that she has everything, we should give somebody else a chance instead, which is fine. Water finds its balance, right? So sometimes the balance is needed.
You’ve always been pretty vocal about your thoughts and opinions. At times, you’ve also been trolled for it. Do you now go through a mental filter before making a statement because of the consequences?
If the consequence is some trolls, then I don’t hold my opinions back. But I don’t want there to be any collateral damage. If I have an opinion about XYZ and they have a family and especially, if I know the family, I feel that I have to be more sensitive towards them. I do hold my opinions back, especially now, because I have a family. And I know that if my friend, even if it was an opinion, spoke about it publicly, I would feel hurt. So if something is really wrong, I will speak about it. I just don’t feel I should have an opinion on everything.
I would also like to give a special shoutout to Sonam. She didn’t just give us a glimpse of her true self and thoughts behind all the glitz, glamour and camera lights but she was also kind enough to share a special video message for one of my teammates who is a huge fan of the actress. Here’s hoping we get to see her in more amazing films like Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.