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Shraddha Kapoor: I accepted my audience’s rejection

Shraddha Kapoor: I accepted my audience’s rejection – I remember meeting Shraddha Kapoor for the first time right before Aashiqui 2 released. Her previous two films hadn’t worked, which had affected her a lot. “I had shut myself from everything and cried for days together in my room,” she had told me then. Five years have passed and Shraddha has matured. After a string of successes, the actress hit a rough patch again when her recent films failed to create magic at the box office. But this time, it hasn’t deterred her spirit. “I guess it all comes from experience,” she laughs as we begin our chat. The light-eyed beauty explains what drew her towards the horror-comedy, Stree, and how she has learnt not to take success or failure too seriously. Excerpts…

Stree is unique in terms of its genre and treatment. Was that the main reason you said ‘yes’ to it?

I gave my nod to it mainly because I was laughing my guts out all through the narration. I was like, ‘This is funny. I definitely want to be a part of it.’ I knew after the first narration that I was doing Stree. Everything else — whether it was teaming up with Rajkummar Rao or Pankaj Tripathi — was a bonus. In fact, Dinoo (producer Dinesh Vijan) had told me that he had something funny for me, but I had no idea it would be this good. When I heard the story, I fell in love with it.

Actors always look for screen time while signing a film. Was that ever a thought with Stree?

I can only speak for myself. For me, the first aspect is that I want to be a part of a memorable film. It’s the main thing I look for as that goes down in history more than anything. It has to touch the audience’s heart. Then comes the role. I’ve done a movie like Haseena Parkar in which I played the protagonist because I felt my character’s journey was fascinating. Whether it worked or not wasn’t in anybody’s hands.

l You saw failure right in the beginning of your career when your first two films didn’t fare well at the BO. Did that prepare you well to handle it now?

I cannot deny the fact that a few of my films haven’t done well at the box office. But no one can predict a movie’s success or failure. I have been through a lot of ups and downs in my life right at the beginning of my career, so it didn’t affect me much this time. I had already faced it, so in a way, I knew how to handle things (smiles).

l Also, unlike that time, you still have a number of films in the pipeline…

I’m happy about it. Again, that wasn’t in my hands. It was something that the audience decided. Somebody told me that it doesn’t matter how many hits or flops you have, what matters is how sincere you are to what you do. Success and failure are all part of life, but I don’t want to take either for granted. I want to make sure I give 100 per cent to everything that I do because that’s the way I would want it to be. I feel blessed because so many aspiring actors look up to us. I feel happy I’m still getting to do films. At the same time, I want to do different kind of cinema. I want to feel that I’m doing something fresh and new each time.

All your films were turning out to be hits post Aashiqui 2. Were you affected by the first flop post the string of successes?

I was because there’s so much that goes behind putting a film together. You put your heart and soul into it and you believe that this is something you want to do. You have to accept the fact that the audience might also reject you at times. So, I accepted their rejection, too. But you can’t dwell on that for long. I choose to keep my head down and work hard.

Did all this change your perception of success and failure?

No. As my first two films didn’t do well, I knew that it could happen again. I’m happy and grateful that those movies taught me not to get attached to success or failure. What you get attached to is how much hard work you can put in. I want to find new challenges and accept them myself.

Has there been a gradual change in your choices over the last couple of years?

Yes, there has. I consciously want to do content-oriented films. It’s a great time for cinema. Today, it doesn’t matter who’s in the film. Whether it’s a big star or a newcomer, people are only going to theatres to watch a good movie. Viewers don’t have the time to discount a film that has no content. They want to get entertained, which is wonderful because it opens up avenues for genuinely talented people as well. Now that there are no rules, everyone has a fair chance. Also, we are not in that zamaana where there are only two or three stars. There are so many actors and producers that the options are aplenty. Everything is so subjective — no one is the best or the worst anymore.

What was the most challenging aspect of working in Stree?

Working with such fine actors as Rajkummar, Pankaj ji (Tripathi) and Aparshakti (Khurana) was a challenge. I’m a huge fan of the kind of movies that Raj does. There’s so much to learn from them; they are so effortless and grounded. Stree is an innovation and introduces a new genre which is something that hasn’t happened before. The content is the hero, heroine and the star in Stree. To be a part of such content-driven films makes me happy.

There’s so much mystery about your character in the film. Where do you fit in?

That’s exactly where I fit in. Am I or am I not Stree? That was a tricky thing because it’s difficult to gauge how much we should or shouldn’t show. How much do we reveal my character in the promos? It’s a catch-22 situation because I can’t talk much about my character at this point. So, I have to be tightlipped. It’s even more challenging to maintain the mystery There’s a certain pitch to the performance and neither can I go overboard nor can I underplay it.

Do you like watching horror films?

No, I guess I was more daring as a child. I used to watch the Zee Horror Show. Then, I don’t know what happened and I chickened out (laughs).

So, would you be okay doing an out-and-out horror movie?

A horror-comedy is fine because there are fun elements in it. But I’m not sure if I would be okay with a complete horror film because I get scared. I had covered my face while watching Stree. Then, when the funny moments would come, I would just burst out laughing. It was hilarious (laughs).

Shraddha Kapoor: I accepted my audience’s rejection

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