Starry Eyed

Acting in films is not all that actor Arjun Kapoor has his plate full with. 

Acting in films is not all that actor Arjun Kapoor has his plate full with. 

We would be lying if we said that we weren’t surprised when actor Arjun Kapoor was announced as one of the collaborators of Studio B. Not because he is any less stylish than others of his ilk, but because he has been one actor who has proved that it is fine not to succumb to the pressure of looking a certain way or dressing up like others. But, come to think of it, this could be excatly why he was chosen to be onboard when the rules of fashion, art and music is being rewritten. Excerpts from an interview with Arjun where he talks about style and silverscreen.

What is your personal style? Is there something that you avoid wearing?

I am not comfortable in the clothes I am wearing, it’s not going to look stylish. I should feel a sense of belongingness with that piece of garment. I avoid wearing skinny jeans and very tight clothes.

What is your look for the most happening party of the season?

A black suit paired with a white shirt. You can never go wrong with that. Coupled with sharp shoes, a nice haircut, trimmed beard go a long way in making you look good. Having said that, you can choose to wear a coloured suit too, just be comfortable in it. Just have fun.

Why do you think there is so much body shaming still?

It takes time for people to change the way they think. The first impulse is to go by certain visual appeal that we’ve been surrounded with for years. The change is inevitable and it’s slightly easier for us to be ourselves, and unapologetically so. And, who are we to judge what the other person should look like or wear or how  they should live. To each their own, as long as a certain decorum is maintained.

Do you think the narrative is changing and fashion is becoming inclusive?

Fashion has also evolved, in our country too, becoming more accepting and open-minded. The intent might have been there even 15 years back, but it takes time to change philosophy. Philosophies don’t change overnight, especially in India, where we are obsessed with the way we look.

It’s ironic that we don’t come across as the most well-dressed more often than not, but, there is a clear obsession. We tend to get it wrong more often than getting it right. Just because everybody is wearing jeans, doesn’t mean you have to wear it even if you don’t like wearing it. You can rock salwaar kamiz too. We are living in an inclusive global community now. Workplaces are changing. A pair of sneakers are cooler than formal lace shoes. 

Do you like to exercise or would rather wish for a magic potion that keeps you fit no matter what you eat?

I like exercising, but I would still want the magic potion, especially for the day when I’m feeling lazy.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

I can’t wait to go to Australia and the Scandinavian countries. 

What can we find in your travel bag?

You would find my iPad, which I rarely use these days because the phone is more than enough. I always have an autobiography which I scarcely read again and again. You can also find wallet, chewing gum, sunglasses, and of course a cap these days, since I am bald for my character in a film.

What are your upcoming film projects?

I am doing Panipat directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar. The film is based on the third battle of Panipat. I have just completed shooting for India’s Most Wanted, a film based on a true story about how the IB officers captured one of the most dreaded terrorists. And then there is Sandeep Aur Pinky Farrar, directed by Dibakar Banerjee, a director who has been on my wishlist. There is another film where I am playing a jatt from Gurgaon. The charater is literally poles apart from what I am in real life.

Hindi cinema is undergoing a transformation. There are complex characters, unheard of plots and a new filmmaking wave. Your take.

What we are observing today has been set in motion a few years back. Much like we do not see what’s happening untill a seed beocmes a plant, Indian cinema is expereincing a chain reaction of sorts. I have been a part of this journey too. My first film, Ishaqzaade, I play a man who molests a girl and gets away with it. A decade ago, no one would have imagined a quintessential Bollywood hero to debut in a film like this. I think evolution has been constant since Dil Chahta Hai. For me, a cycle has come to an end with Kapoor & Sons, a film about a gay man was loved and revered by audience. It shows how far India, our directors and storytellers have come. Different is the new normal.

What is your kind of film? Do you think mostly entertainment films are offered to you?

When you will watch India’s Most Wanted, you will know that it is entertaining but is not a mindless masala entertainment.Personally, I believe that I should be a part f films where people get their money’s worth. But, today the audience wants to be triggered. Films, including my upcoming ones, lean towards being new age entertainment rather than being a time pass.

What does luxury means to you?

It’s difficult to put it in one word or one sentence. What might seem luxurious to some can seem normal to others. Until it is not a necessity, it’s a luxury. Earlier cars or mobile phones were luxurious not necessity. Today they a necessity. Evolution is constant where luxury is concerned. I would like to believe that what you worked hard for, what you pay for a bit of indulgence is luxury.When you push a little beyond your means to feel happy.

What was your first reaction when you were approached for Studio B project? What do you bring to the table?

I was excited because amalgamations and collaborations are always something an artist looks forward to. There is exchange of ideas, ideologies, philosophies. I’m a collaborative person as a film producer’s son, grown up in an environment that always promotes collaborations.

Studio B by Belvedere is trying to achieve with consistency, offering best of fashion, art and music. I have collaborated with fashion designer Kunal Rawal, chef Prateek Sadhu and contemporary artist, Shilo Shiv Suleiman.