Shraddha Kapoor basking in the glowing review of Haider speaks to Subhash K Jha.
Do you see Haider as new phase in your career?
Oh yes, absolutely. Being a part of Haider is going to be something I'll cherish for many years to come. Every detail of the film and how we shot it, etched in my memory forever. The experience of shooting in Kashmir. And working with technicians like Vishar Sir, Dolly M'aam (Ahluwalia, the costume designer) and Pankaj Kumar (the cinematographer)…just to be in Team Haider has been a life-changing experience. And it was so much fun. All the intensity you saw was only for the camera.
I noticed your nose looked very very red in Haider. Were you nervous or cold?
(Laughs) That's the Kashmir effect. It was so cold. Eveyone's cheeks and noses were going red.
Vishal also made you do a cute mispronunciation in your English?
The Kashmiris have an endearing way of speaking. They do pronounce English words in a particular way. Vishal Sir being the master of authenticity was unwilling to leave any stone unturned to depict Kashmir as realistically as possible. By the way, my favourite scene is the one where Haider makes fun of my pronunciation. I simply love that moment. Come to think of it, there are so many moments that I love in the film.
You also got to sing again in the film?
Yes (laughs). I guess I'm lucky. But the Kashmiri folk song in Haider is more a mourning than singing. It's a lament. I sat down and understood the meaning of the song, so I could connect with it.
Aapko gaane ka chaska lag gaya hai?
(Laughs) Agar mera bass chale main har film mein gaa doon. After all I'm related to the Goddess Of All Melodious Things Lataji. Mere khoon mein hai gana. Bahot mazaa aata hai gaane waqt. If I had my way I'd love to sing in every film of mine. It's all about opportunities.
Your film has garnered immense praise. Is that a high?
Oh yes absolutely. People are calling it one of the best films of all times! Just to have the opportunity to work with Vishal Sir (Bhardwaj) was enough reason to do Haider. Of course Shahid Kapoor had the title role and Tabu M'aam had an author-backed role. But just to be part of a film so beautiful and so relevant so early in my career is a blessing for me. For Vishal Sir to see me as Ophelia and Horatio combined is by itself an opportunity a lifetime.
Did you familiarize yourself with Shakespeare's play before getting into Haider?
I had read the play in school. Vishal Sir didn't set down a pre-condition that we should read Hamlet. Toh humne phir se padha nahin. Our Haider has crossed boundaries.
Your journey actually began with Aashiqui 2. How do you see that journey?
Extremely blessed to be a part of these films. And when directors like Mohit Suri and Vishal Sir show so much faith in you, see you in those wonderful characters, your confidence in your acting abilities increases. It just opens up your personality. It's like watching my childhood dream pan out.
What was your childhood dream?
To act, always. I wake up every single morning to feel how blessed him. When I was a child my parents knew I was going to be an actor when I grew up. They'd put hidden cameras and watch me dance in front of the mirror. My happiness knows no bounds when I see the sparkle in their eyes. At the end of the day I just wanted to make them proud of me. They've seen me make my way to where I am. They know what I've gone through. They never made me feel I was struggling. They were like, 'Shraddha, go for it.' Their positivity has fuelled my dreams. To see them happy about the lovely things that are happening to my career is sheer bliss.
Today you're in a position to pick and choose your roles.
I don't know if I can pick and choose. But I have been very lucky. I just hope my journey continues.
Are you looking at doing a lighter film now?
It's not as if I go out and look for serious dark films about suffering heroes .I've to make the best of the opportunities that come my way. By God's grace I'm getting the kind of roles I want to do. And yes, by chance my next film ABCD2 would be a lighter film. And it came to me in an interesting way.
One day my friend Varun Dhawan was talking to me. He told me about ABCD2. And he felt I'd suit the role as I love to dance. Then I met Remo Sir (D'Souza). So yes, this is a happy film and completely in contrast to the films I've done so far. I play a hair-stylist who loves to dance. I feel I am actually living my dream. I genuinely feel a crazy amount of happiness when I dance. I just hope by the end of this film I'm a really good dancer
Yes, so much so that I actually had a partial muscle tear. The leg-tear is still tender. However I've finished shooting one song. I don't know how I managed. But I had a blast shooting it. The last thing I was thinking of was my injury.
Was it tough keeping up with Varun?
Of course, Varun has had so much practice. He had a lot of dancing to do in all his films so far. My films didn't have the same opportunity. But I feel lucky that these films are coming way. I just don't want to get repetitive.