She may play a half girlfriend but she’s a complete actress. Shraddha Kapoor has seen the u.s.and downs in her career early. Hence no amount of box-office drama can distract her from her goal. She enchanted audiences with Aashiqui 2 but quickly found her feet in more gritty fare like Haider. She even broke the mould of the girl-next-door by kicking up a martial arts storm with Tiger Shroff in Baaghi. Of late, her films Rock On 2 and Ok Jaanu haven’t quite set the marquee on fire, but her recent release, Half Girlfriend has been in the buzz since its launch in 2016. Shraddha’s the veritable contemporary movie star. She’s got a league of fans and a no-nonsense approach to her career. Not the party animal, not the glossy babe, this young girl is happy writing poetry and dabbling with the paintbrush when away from the arclights. While romantic link-u.s.continue to add mystique to her child woman persona, a spate of challenging roles lined up only endorse that she’s an actor in progress…
What makes Half Girlfriend a special outing?
It’s the first time I’m playing the title role. It’s an intense love story. It’s not the usual girl-next-door role. I’m playing the rich Riya Somani. She wears branded clothes, moves in luxury cars and attends college with blow-dried hair. People assume she’s the happiest girl in the world as she has everything. But it’s not like that. She finds joy in simple things. Like she loves getting drenched in the first showers. That’s why she falls in love with Madhav (Arjun Kapoor). He can’t converse in English but she loves his simplicity.
What’s the equation you share with Arjun Kapoor?
Very good. I’m fortunate to have had some great co-stars who eventually have become family. The same is the case with Arjun. He will win much appreciation for this role. He’s given his heart and soul to it. Also, one thing I love about him is that he’s a nice guy. I like his wit and sense of humour. I love the way he speaks in both English and Hindi.
Coming from film families, did you know each other?
I’ve known him through my growing years. He’s my elder brother Siddhanth’s (Kapoor) friend. I’ve known all of them Varun (Dhawan), Tiger (Shroff). Varun is my childhood friend. Ours is a special connect. Tiger Shroff used to be my junior in school. So when we did Baaghi together, it was like OMG we’re opposite each other! Tiger’s extremely dedicated. Then Aditya Roy Kapoor and I became good friends. We did two films – Aashiqui 2 and Ok Jaanu. I love working with him. He’s an involved actor. Shahid Kapoor (Haider) is also professional.
This is your third film with Mohit Suri. What’s special about him?
He makes films from the heart. He understands the emotional quotient of the Indian audience. The way he directs and presents the scenes, it connects with the audiences. That’s why his films do so well.
You’re also doing Apoorva Lakhia’s Haseena. Was it difficult to play the real-life character?
Yes, it’s difficult and challenging. I met Haseena’s (alleged don Dawood Ibrahim’s late sister) family, spent time with them and tried to understand her. I had to put on some weight as well. I also did some reading with the cast.
How was it sharing a frame with your brother Siddhant Kapoor who plays Dawood Ibrahim on reel?
I was nervous because we were sharing screen space but Apoorva sir would be like, ‘Yaar jo bhi tumhari real life chemistry hai wohi onscreen dikhao, don’t get anxious’.
Do you equate happiness with success?
Success is not the main reason for my happiness. My happiness lies in the fact that I’m living life on my terms. I’m doing what I love to do.
Is there something that you like or dislike about the industry?
I love that it gives you opportunities to live different lives as characters. I hate the fact that sometimes it can take you to such a high that you can forget who you are.
Being a celebrity do you miss doing the regular things?
Sometimes I miss going out like a normal person. I enjoy walking on the streets. Earlier I’d walk down to Juhu market. I miss stepping into an auto and moving around freely in the city. I miss eating roadside paani puri. But these are very small things. We actors are blessed and should have no reason to be unhappy. I have a beautiful house, I have a career and people want to cast me. I’m living my childhood dream.
What do you have to say about the rumours linking you with Farhan Akhtar?
What I can’t control, I ignore. Because there’s no truth in it. And my focus is films. I don’t focus on rubbish stories that people write about me. As actors we work hard to deliver a good performance. Reporters should be responsible when they write about us. Link-up rumours are not fair. It affects my family also. But now I have learnt to ignore it.
So what’s your relationship status?
(Smiles) I am single.
Does being single help you focus more on work?
Yes. Right now, I’m happy being single and focussing on my work. Agar boyfriend hota toh main distract ho jaati. Right now I don’t feel it’s necessary.
Is it difficult to balance a relationship with your career especially in showbiz?
Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to give time to a relationship. But I don’t believe it’s impossible. If you want to have a relationship, you will manage to balance it with work.
Between stardom and relationships, which is difficult to maintain?
Both. But my family and friends keep me grounded. They give me a reality check. I am not talking about romantic relationships here. I’m talking about relationships with friends and family. They remind you that you need to spend time with them as well. And then you do that.
How much can a star boyfriend help in an actress’ life?
I don’t think anyone can help an actress – except her work and talent. The same applies to an actor. I don’t believe that dating someone famous will help you professionally.
They say a woman’s heart is like a deep ocean and one never knows what’s inside…
(Smiles) It’s important to understand a man too. It’s both ways. A girl’s heartbreak is talked about. But even boys go through heartbreak. It’s a misconception that girls are more emotional. Because boys are as emotional.
What are you looking for in a man?
Earlier, I was like my man should have a good sense of humour, a sense of adventure… But now I realise that love can happen with anyone, anytime, anywhere. And when it happens, I won’t be checking for those qualities in him. Because when you connect with someone, that’s all that matters.
How has your definition of love changed through the years?
My definition and understanding of love keeps evolving. My current understanding of love is that when it happens you cannot deny it; you can’t help it, no matter what you do.
Do you view love as an inspiration or as a distraction?
I view love as a necessity. Pyar har insaan ki zindagi me bahut zaroori hai.
Are you a possessive girlfriend?
Yes, I have been one. But I don’t want to be a possessive girlfriend anymore. I want to give space to that person. Allow them to do what they want.
What if the other person is possessive?
I like it and dislike this trait as well.
Are you obsessive when in love?
Yes, I used to be.
Once your dad Shakti Kapoor mentioned in an interview that Shraddha doesn’t know how to handle money?
That’s true. I’m a spendthrift. I used to spend money on bags, shoes, clothes. I was addicted to shopping. But now I like to spend money on travel.
So what’s on your travel list?
Recently, I visited Berlin and Prague on my birthday. I wish I could travel across India by train. I want to visit Uttarakhand.
What is the real Shraddha like?
I am shy. I’m not a people’s person. When I attend film parties, I don’t know what to do, what to say. Half the time I don’t know if I should even attend those parties. I feel comfortable with my close friends from school and college. I can talk to them non-stop as with my family. I am an extrovert with people I know well. Also, I’m basically a sentimental person.
Do you get angry easily?
Not actually. But if I get angry toh main ghar sar pe uthha leti hoon. Chillam chilli karti hoon (I scream and shout) but I only do that with my close people, those who know me. After that I say sorry 20 times. I cool down quickly.
What makes you angry?
Disrespect of any kind makes me angry.
What have you learnt from your parents?
The biggest thing I’ve learnt from my father (Shakti Kapoor) is being grateful for what you have in life and to value all the good that has come your way. The best thing I’ve learnt from my mom (Shivangi) is not to do anything that doesn’t make you happy.
What have you discovered about yourself over the years?
I’ve discovered that I am moody. That I am lazy sometimes, I get bored easily. That I am mad about food. I love sweets. I love watching old movies. I love music, dancing, singing and being in front of the camera.
What do you enjoy doing besides acting?
I like gardening, reading, watching movies, spending time with my little cousin. I love writing. I’ve been writing poems and songs since a young age. I like maintaining a personal diary. I love sketching and painting. I have done some doodles. Someday I’d want to share my art with the world. Maybe, I’d sell them for charity. I would like to publish a book of my poems. (Smiles) That’s why you don’t see me out anywhere!
Your first date…
In school, we went to the canteen together to eat some chips.
Actually, nobody has broken up with me. Rather, I’ve broken up with them!
Because I didn’t know what I want in life.
Are you clear now?
No. I’m not clear about long-term commitment.
Would infidelity be a deal breaker?
100 per cent.
What turns you on in a guy?
When he is himself.
What turns you off in a guy?
When he’s not himself.
Misconception people have about you
That I’m girly. Actually, I’m a tomboy.
Relationship advice for girls?
Be understanding and patient and be yourself.
One habit you want to change about yourself?
Your biggest fear at this point?
Losing or disappointing my loved ones.
Something that leaves you emotional…
A starving person.
Five favourite movies…Pyaasa, Andaz Apna Apna, The Note Book, Inception, ChaalBaaz.
What do you like and dislike in a man?
I dislike dishonesty. He should just be himself.
Idea of a perfect date?
Watching movies at home and eating ghar ka khana.
And a perfect relationship?
Loving each other and each other’s imperfections also.