In a candid chat with Anupama Chopra, Arjun Kapoor opens up about his journey so far in the film industry, his biggest takeaways, and how important it is to create respectful boundaries in personal relationships. Excerpts:
On completing nine years in the Hindi film industry:
It is a remarkable achievement in the sense that I have not quite studied films, but I grew up on film sets. I have worked hard to try and understand the inner workings of it without taking it for granted. I did my acting class, went to auditions, did whatever best I could to my capacity, and I think somewhere I got that opportunity. The door opened for me, which gave me a chance to showcase something that I have that makes me good in front of the camera. And I really enjoyed just getting accepted, because it was the first big acceptance of my life.
On Ishaqzaade, and his journey so far:
For a guy who has not really achieved too much, except for being an actor, that was the first go-to, otherwise I would have been in a very bad situation. I wouldn't have had anything to fall back on. So when Ishaqzaade did well, it allowed me to have a life, a career. It allowed me to bring in money, to be self-sufficient.
I had lost my mother 45 days before my film released. I would not have been able to take care of myself so easily if the film had not done well. So I pat myself on the back as I took a chance, went on an audition, got a role and got accepted. And then I have just been working after that. Like I said, I was grateful to have work. Yeh nahi socha tha number one, number two, number three… (I never thought about the numbers game). That was never the idea. The idea was to just work. The good and bad became the next thought. I look back and dwell on it and say, "I have evolved quite a bit."
On his relationship with Malaika Arora:
I don't try and be overtly talkative about my personal life because I feel you should respect your partner and there is a past there. I've been in that situation where I've seen things pan out publicly, and it's not always very, very nice, because there are kids affected. So I try and keep a respectful boundary. I do what she's comfortable with, and I think my career should not get hinged upon the fact that my relationship is this. That's my personal life. You have to create boundaries. I talk about it today because there is a certain respect and regard given to the relationship, because we have given it time. I've tried to give it a certain amount of dignity by giving it space and not letting it be in your face, and make it as authentic and real as possible, because it is that.
On exchanging acting notes with his family:
I think we should all try and be unique. At the end of the day, it is aspirational to want Anil Kapoor's career but we should work toward that independently, for that matter. I think if we exchanged over too many notes, we will only be skeptical about this industry because everybody has their own experiences that they want to protect the next one coming in. But the next one has to make their mistakes to learn from it. So it becomes a slightly parental thing to give advice to a sibling, or to a close friend. Eventually they have to go through their own journey.
On being brutally honest:
I am still figuring myself out nine years down the line. I am, in my head, still sussing. Mai hamesha yahi bolta hu ki meri experience se jao, toh mere joh pichle do teen saalo mai joh hashar hua hai, toh meri toh baat na hi suno toh better hai (I always say that if you go by my experience, then looking at the condition I have been in since the last 3-4 years, then it's best if you don't listen to me). I am quite honest about it — whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. But this is how I am.