'Had to break Arjun to find Parma'

In a free-wheeling chat Arjun Kapoor tells us about his journey from fat to fit and his debut film

In the air-conditioned rehearsal hall of Yash Raj Studios, the usually reticent son of Bonny and late Mona Kapoor is busy pulling his Ishaqzaade co-star Parineeti Chopra's leg during an interview. The budding actor has been all over the town, promoting his debut film whose fate will be decided on May 11th but for now he is happy with the media attention he is getting. For someone who started out with a dream to become a director, becoming an actor was a culmination of many processes- encouragement from a superstar, rigorous diet and workouts (Arjun was 140 kgs earlier)  and innumerable look test to finally become Parma. In a free-wheeling chat Arjun Kapoor tells us about his journey from fat to fit and his debut film.

How Arjun bagged Ishaqzaade

Excerpts from the interview:

You are being touted as an actor to watch out for. How has life changed for you?

Life hasn't changed much. I am still living in the vacuum of promoting my first film. So I am not out there yet meeting people. During media interactions, I have realized that there is a certain expectation this film carries which didn't exist when the first trailer came out on 15th of March. I now possess a nervous energy knowing about the excitement the film is generating.

Why didn't you opt for a starry launch in your home production?

People would have exactly said that it was a starry launch in my home production and I didn't want that. That is not the right way to find your foothold in the industry. This is a very unforgiving profession and if you don't get your first film right, it becomes increasingly difficult to prove yourself in the successive films. I wanted to get my first film correct. My father did speak to me and we were discussing the possibilities of doing a film but this opportunity came up and I auditioned for the film without thinking much and I got through. This is a dream debut because people look forward to working in a Yash Raj film and my first film is one, what better could I ask for.

Ishaqzaade: Behind the scenes

How did you get the rustic look of Parma right?

I hail from Mumbai and I have never been to a small town. Habib sir's script is very intelligently written and if you read into it and read enough number of times, you will understand what exactly he wants from you. My body language is very different from Parma and I had to work on that. I learnt Kalaripayattu, a martial art form from Kerala to open up my body. I did acting workshop just to get comfortable with the way I move around. We did lot of readings to understand why I am saying a particular dialogue in a scene and most importantly, going and living in Lucknow for so many months. Having references in front of you only made it easier for me.

What were the challenges you faced while doing this film?

I went with Habib sir for recce for three days when I met Avneesh Yadav, who turned out to be an interesting reference point for me in terms of the physicality of the character. When we started shooting, the weather changed drastically and it became really cold. The film is based during the summers so we had to pretend that it is very hot out there and that was very difficult to portray. Also, riding a Yezdi bike in Lucknow is very different from riding it in the studio compound. The kind of traffic the city has with hardly any traffic rules makes it difficult to shoot. So, riding in a real location with start and stop points and simultaneously saying the dialogues was quite a task.

Ishaqzaade: A passionate love story

Your dancing skills are being appreciated in the item number already, how comfortable are you with action?

Before shooting, I had no idea but now I know I am quite comfortable. I enjoyed the process and hope people feel that I am good for action roles also. Given an opportunity, I would love to do action roles.

Did Habib Faisal help you interpret the character or were you given a freehand in that?

Habib sir is very clear about what he wants and knew from day one what he expected out of me. He would let me be also so that I could learn on my own but he was clear about the fact that he would have to break Arjun to find Parma and he did that. He knew what he wanted and I just had to follow him.

Watch: Ishaqzaade trailer

Parma seems like a very brash and aggressive person. How different is he from Arjun Kapoor?

There is a stark contrast as in real life; I am calm, collected and pretty laidback. Parma on the other hand is very unpredictable and he himself doesn't know what he is going to do next. He doesn't think before doing anything and doesn't believe that he can be wrong ever. He thinks that he is big stud and hero but in reality he is a goofball. He is a typical young guy who wants to chill and faff around with his friends has no ambition in life apart from making his grandfather proud. I am very ambitious so there is hardly any similarity.

When you started out, you wanted to be a director. Is the dream still there?

Of course. I hope to pursue it in future but how and when, I have no clue about. I am enjoying this journey for now and haven't thought about it so far.

Watch Arjun and Parineeti's sizzling chemistry in the dialogue promo of this film:

For more on 'Ishaqzaade'