It’s not often that a single monologue can propel you to the public eye. But that’s exactly what happened with Kartik Aaryan. His lengthy rant against women in what has become a cult classic, Pyaar Ka Punchnama, brought him in the spotlight a few years ago. Of course, being a trending topic alone is not exactly ‘stardom’ but in a deeply nepotistic industry, the newcomer stood out and was talked about. However, 2018 has changed all that. This year’s surprise hit Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety – his third film with director Luv Ranjan whose ‘helpless men in the trap of wicked women’ formula has paid rich dividends at the box office – has finally made Kartik a star. He is now papped regularly and recently even walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra. The young actor tells us how things changed for him.
Finally it has happened. Your film is a huge success. Has it been a long struggle?
Before entering the industry, a senior had once told me that it takes 7 to 8 years to make your identity in Mumbai. It may sound like a long time but trust me you won’t even realise how fast it goes. But I feel you need to go through your own journey of struggle. It teaches you a lot about life and makes you value things more. I used to travel from Navi Mumbai to Andheri for auditions by local train everyday. I used to get ready in railway stations’ washroom. But I had no option. But today I feel happy and proud when I look back at those days.
You say your mom is your best friend. But don’t you have anyone special?
Yes, mom is my best friend. I share every bit of my personal and professional life with her and she always gives me the best advice. I’m not single at all. I’m in a committed relationship with my fans. I will keep doing good work to make this relationship grow.
As an outsider, what is your advice to newcomers from small towns?
Your town can’t decide your dreams. Small cities have a different kind of driving force, they actually make you dream big. Being in Gwalior (MP), who would have thought that I would be here on the big screen? You just have to believe in yourself, have a little patience and work hard. Ziddi bano. Nothing is impossible to achieve.
How has your life changed now?
Oh yes, I have become far busier! I get scolded from my mom because I’m not able to sleep or eat on time. But I’m enjoying it. Every actor dreams for this day and finally, for me it’s here. I enjoy going to the theatres to see the audience reaction. I feel happy when they shout out my name. I’m enjoying the kind of love I’m getting from everyone, especially girls! My Instagram and FB is filled with marriage proposals. I love reading them all.
Strangely the films you’ve done outside Luv Ranjan’s domain have all been failures. How do you plan to change that?
Success and failure is not in anyone’s hand. It’s a by-product. Apart from the Pyaar Ka Punchnaama series and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, if you see, Luv sir and I did a film, Aakashvani together. That’s our favourite but it didn’t work. We all do a film if we like the script. And then we give our hundred percent to it. Some films do wonders at the box-office and some don’t. And there is no set formula.
Would you destroy your best friend’s marriage the way Sonu is shown to do in the film?
I wouldn’t say Sonu destroyed his friend’s marriage. I’d say he protected his best friend from a gold digger. And yes, I’d do the same, if push comes to shove. I don’t fear being judged as a misogynist. Because that’s my character Sonu they are judging, not me! Thankfully the audience is flocking to see the film without getting judgmental about the gender equations shown in it. Would I do a film like this again? I’d do it as many times as Luv Ranjan wants me to.
There is a lot of debate over nepotism in Bollywood these days. Do you think your journey would have been easier if you were the son of a producer?
It would have been easier to get the first film but at the end of the day in order to sustain in this industry, it’s your hardwork and talent that counts. It’s a business and in the long run, no one will put money on you just because you are someone’s son.
Luv Ranjan believed in you…
Luv Sir stood by me through all these years. It takes a lot of guts to stand by someone you believe in when he is not a big star. He very clearly told producers it’s me and Nushrat Bharucha and no one else. I wonder where I’d have been in this lonely city without someone to believe in my talent. Not that I would have ever given up. I believed in myself. You have to believe in yourself, only then can you expect others to believe in you.
What’s your one ambition this year?
To buy a bigger home so that my family can move in with me. Right now my best friend (Mom) has to keep shuttling between Mumbai and Gwalior because my father and sister are in Gwalior. I want all of us to stay together in Mumbai. It’s my one dream this year. It would be so nice to have my own family to come home to every day. Not that I am without friends in Mumbai. I have a very small group of friends. And my best friend lives in New Mumbai. You can say he is the real-life Titu in Sunny’s life.
Are you enjoying your stardom?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the attention. I’ve waited long for this. I now have an insane number of scripts to read. The offers are juicy and tempting. But I intend to move forward carefully. I don’t want to get carried away.