February 14 is Valentine’s Day when all things love is celebrated (commercially or otherwise!). Aside from the cakes, balloons, declarations of love on social media and fancy parties, the young and romantic at heart can look forward to another thing – a Kartik Aaryan release at a theatre near you!
The last two years have seen fun, romantic films starring Bollywood’s heart throb hit the cinemas on the day of love. And both of them have been hits, endearing him to the ladies and establishing him as one of the hottest young actors of Bollywood. This year seems to be a hat trick with Love Aaj Kal 2 – co-starring (real life??) heroine Sara Ali Khan. Now, this is a pair that fans have been waiting to watch on the big screen ever since reports linking them up hit the headlines.
We will know soon if the chemistry reflects on screen but Kartik is upbeat about life, love and films, and why not? He has had a string of hits, has an exciting bouquet of films coming up (Dostana 2, Bhool Bhulaiyya 2) and has hit all the right notes when it comes to his career in the industry. Right now though, the young actor is in a very romantic mood and that’s why we asked him….
You seem to have made the Valentine’s Weekend the ‘Kartik Aaryan weekend’ at the cinemas for the last two years. Is that just a coincidence?
I'm humbled and happy to hear that Valentines weekend is 'Kartik Aaryan's weekend'. I'm a romantic person at heart so Valentine’s Day is like a festival for me, not that love needs any special day to celebrate but it just feels good a day specifically dedicated to love! Secondly, a film's release date is decided by the producers and I'm glad they feel that it's a perfect season to release my film during the Valentine’s week. And a pure romantic film like Love Aaj Kal is a double treat for youths and the couples and I'm sure they are going to love it. Pyaar Vaali Film Karta hoon, Pyaar vaale din Release toh honi chahiye!
Your love stories in films have been rather tumultuous. Do we get to see a happy and smooth affair this time around?
This film is really different from what I have done before. For starters I am playing two characters, Raghu and Veer… diametrically opposite to each other. While Raghu has his love interest on his school-time crush Leena (Arushi Sharma) set in the ‘90s, Veer is very ‘today’ and is in love with Zoe (Sara Ali Khan) set in this decade. And though it is one film, Imtiaz (Ali) sir very beautifully, has shown how the idea of love has changed or been similar over the years through Veer and Raghu. I believe that the cinema and movies I do, needs to have one factor for sure and that is the essence of relatability. Even in Love Aaj Kal, though one story is set almost two decades ago, people will relate to Raghu as much they will relate to Veer. So my characters in this film will be relatable but are their love stories smooth affairs? Well, you have got to find that out on February 14. All I can say is that both the stories will be magical!
Hindi films these days, are veering more towards realistic drams, small town comedies, issue-based films and historicals. Do you think we are missing the light romantic and urban films that used to dominate the 90s and early 2000s? Is Love Aaj Kal filling the gap?
The best part of Love Aaj Kal is that it represents both worlds. Be it the urban or the rooted story. Raghu is a Rajasthani boy in the ‘90s and his journey or his filminess would give you a sense of nostalgia. The ‘90s were one of the best and the most romantic phases of Hindi cinema. Be it stories or songs or music, even today they are considered classics. We all have grown up watching Shah Rukh sir, Salman sir and Aamir sir's films, they were ruling the hearts of every girl... and still do! And then we cut to 2020 where we see Veer, who’s an urban guy. And surprisingly though it’s 2020 and people can find love and friendship through apps, it's sad that a huge section of people face a void of true love and are seeking for it. That’s what Veer is all about. He might come across as a weird personality yet endearing. Veer is that character who would want someone to be completely his or not at all. As he says, in the trailer- Aana toh poori tarah aana ya aana hi mat. Love Aaj Kal is a pure romantic film and I feel fortunate that Imtiaz sir chose me to represent his Veer and Raghu, who are representing 2020 and the ‘90s and their feelings about love and romance. I feel every generation wants to see their own love story on screen and Love Aaj Kal is going be the perfect one to touch their hearts.
As an actor, what did you learn from working with Imtiaz?
After working with Imtiaz sir, my whole perspective and thought process towards acting has changed. He has his unique way to explain a particular scene and you will never even feel like he is trying to teach you something. He will become your best friend and you will never hesitate to ask or discuss anything with him. He is a genius filmmaker. For the first time, I was playing two characters in a film but I never felt the burden of it because of Imtiaz sir. We used to chat for hours before the shoot and that helped me a lot to understand both my characters, Veer and Raghu. Love Aaj Kal was the most amazing and smoothest journey I have had and I would like to go back on the same journey with Imtiaz sir.
You have back to back releases coming up. Do you feel at times, you need to take it slow?
Nothing can match the joy of being on the set and being in front of the camera every day. Thankfully now when the time has come, when I can work every day, I don't want to take it slow. I feel even 24 hours is less for me. I have the best options on my hand right now and I don't want any of the films to go. These days I hardly sleep because my mind is always working. I have become insomniac. But I'm enjoying every bit of it.
Your chemistry with Sara Ali Khan has been making headlines for the longest time. How is she to work with?
She is an amazing person and co-star to work with. She is full of energy. And both of us had a great time working together. There was not a single dull moment with her on the sets. I enjoyed working with her. There is a new girl, Arushi (Sharma) who is playing Leena opposite Raghu. She is going to be a big surprise for the audience.
Your ‘look’ as the 90s boy is quite interesting. How did you work on it?
It was a collaborative effort with Imtiaz sir. It was really difficult to play Raghu because his traits were different from what I would have thought. There were subtle differences. The body language was the first thing we worked upon and Imtiaz sir had assigned a body language coach who helped me with both, Raghu and Veer.. Raghu is a filmy boy, he is out there, very rooted yet scared of his family. But when he is with his friends, he is someone else. That character required a lot of training and preparation. It was a journey of a character from a particular age to certain amount of years. I had to lose weight as well, to look like a lanky boy who goes to school. So I lost around 8 to 10 kgs to fit the role.
As a 90s child yourself, what are your abiding memories of that period?
I have this memory of going to my school function wearing my dad's suit which, of course, did not fit me. Annual function mein dance karna hota tha toh shy feel hota tha. Interestingly mere dad ka ek Bajaj ka scooter tha and I used to take it chori se when I used to go out with my friends. I have always been a movie buff, so I used to watch a lot of movies with friends and we used to bunk classes for it.
How was Valentine’s Day celebrated back when you were a teenager? Can you share some anecdotes or memories?
It’s funny but I used to be scared while celebrating Valentine’s Day. I come from Gwalior, a small town. I was not outspoken. I never shared my feelings with my parents. So celebrating Valentine’s Day was a difficult thing. I never dared to tell my parents that I want to go on a date. I remember once I took my dad's scooter and went to meet my school friend in the garden but she didn't turn up (laughs)! But on the other days we used to meet chhup-chhup ke.
What kind of a romantic are you?
I'm a hopeless romantic. I do random things to see that smile on my loved ones face. I would do anything for her. I believe there is no measure for love. I would change myself totally if I'm in love with someone.
How would you woo a girl you are interested in? What would be your reaction if she makes the first move?
I would show that I'm not interested (Laughs). I would listen to whatever she does or react and make her feel comfortable and make her feel that she is not making the first move.
What are your views on dating apps? Do you think they have killed romance or aided it?
They have facilitated a lot of things. Personally I have never used a dating app. But yet again, these apps have been quite helpful for a lot of people. Communication has increased so much because of social media and apps. Of course, everything has become fast paced too. But I still don't blame these apps because they are the need of this era. Everything has its own pros and cons. I think it depends on a person whether they want to be romantic or not.
What would be your ideal V-day proposal?
It could be anything. Ideal V-day proposal would be to catch her by surprise. Be it anything, she should be surprised and happy. That's something which would be ideal.