Arjun Kapoor: Men are very capable, they’re just spoilt to a certain extent
From flipping an omlette to dancing in high heels, he has learnt almost everyone that a woman does. A hectic shooting schedule of 44 days for his upcoming release ‘Ki & Ka’, followed by back to back promotional events is taking a toll on him. Just hours after tweeting about a bad health, an exhausted Arjun Kapoor, with a painful muscle cramp, welcomed us inside his room in JW Marriott; and was sweet enough to answer all the bullets of questions we had ready for him.
How was it dancing in high heels?
When I first heard that song from Bhushan Kumar, I told him I’d make Balki listen to it too. He was like, “Are you crazy? A Honey Singh song in a Balki film? No chance!” I didn’t have much confidence that Balki would agree to it. I just wanted to take a chance because this song has been a hit one since quite a few years now. Balki heard the song and exclaimed, “This is the song! This is what I wanted.” This got me even more confused. I had no clue what so special he found in the song.
We shot for ‘High Heels’ at almost the end. He came and asked me, “Have you started rehearsing?” I said, “In 2-3 days.” And then he revealed it! He said, “You’ve to dance in high heels!” He had actually planned it on the first day he heard the song.
My legs used to pain, my waists used to pain. Despite that, I kept rehearsing. Manish Malhotra designed pretty shoes! I managed dancing; but remember I walked the red carpet at the Zee Cine Awards? Since that day, I have a newfound respect for every woman who walks in heels! (laughs)
Did you enjoy doing household things and things that you never did before?
Oh you won’t imagine! I loved cleaning the house and washing utensils. (laughs) Well on a serious note, I learnt a lot. At least it’s an improvement from not knowing anything. Earlier I only ate, now I know to cook a little. Cooking is a very patient activity and I don’t have that temperament. Something takes 15 minutes to be made and some other thing takes two hours. So you need to be patient enough. I am not at all patient with food, because I have been an avid eater.
But well, I loved the idea. For Kabir (Arjun’s character in the film), his kitchen would be like his office. So I needed to be comfortable with that environment. A housewife spends most of her time in the kitchen, that’s like her office. I didn’t know about utensils, I didn’t know how to cut vegetables, I didn’t know anything. I did two weeks of cooking just to be comfortable.
There will be sequences where I am seen working in the kitchen and talking to Kareena over the phone simultaneously. Women do that. They work while talking or watching TV. I needed practice for that. If you watch the video of ‘Most Wanted Munda’, you will catch me flipping an omlette. I had to learn these small things. I should look like I can run the house!
A man can cook. A man clean too. Men who stay Alone do it themselves only. It’s just that the society has taught you that once you’ve a woman in your life, she is going to take care of everything. Men are very capable, they’re just spoilt to a certain extent.
How intimidating was it to work with Balki who has only worked with Amitabh Bachchan so far, and on the other hand, someone like Kareena?
Balki called me to his office and narrated the story. He didn’t even narrate the entire story, he just told me a one liner. I was so much in love with that one liner that I told him, “Sir, I am dying to do this film.” All he told me was, “Every boy grows up wanting to be like his father. What if a boy grows up wanting to be like his mother?” I wanted to know the story. I wanted to meet that boy. In one sentence, you can sense the character’s entire journey. In that one line, I could see the entire story. Now I know why even Bachchan sir is so happy working with him.
But well, I wasn’t really intimidated; probably because I was a part of the story and its progress. Balki is a very gentle, sensitive, soft-spoken human being. His films are truly an extension of his personality. He is one of the few people who don’t throw their weight around. I interacted with him a lot more than an actor and a director would do; both on the sets and off set.
Balki said he had another script for you apart from ‘Ki & Ka’, amongst which you chose this. Any plans to work on the other script too?
The first script was like okay. It’s R Balki himself who is offering me something. Of course I can’t tell him, “Sir maza nahi aa raha”. But with this script, I just jumped.
Regarding the other one, I honestly don’t know. Balki would be the best person to talk about it.
How was it working with Kareena Kapoor?
I think for this film, the fact that I knew her really worked. If I didn’t know this girl, it would take me ten days to create the equation with her. In a marriage, you need to be comfortable. It’s an intimate film. There’s a home. There’s a bedroom. It’s not a romantic film where you show romantic gestures to show romance.
Was it a conscious effort from your part to do something different?
Not really. I want to do romantic films. I wasn’t offered many of them. So I jumped every time I was offered one! I just wanted to do a romantic comedy which would not be generic. I treat this as a romantic comedy, not as a gender breaker. That I have realised after everyone said, “Oh My God, this is so brave! This is so different! What a risk!” I didn’t know I have done such a big thing and now I am shit scared of the release!
Tell us something about working in television for the first time.
It is very difficult. I can confess that. It is tougher to be Arjun Kapoor than it is to be a character. In a film, you have a script, a director. We are so used to being into other characters that it is so tough to be ourselves for so long now.
We shot for ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ in Argentina, for 16-18 hours a day in broad daylight. It was hectic. There were very tough stunts. But I had fun. I have also become very patient after doing it. Now I can be ‘Arjun Kapoor’ for a long time.
So, are you game for one more season?
Definitely. Specially, I have received a lot of love from kids. I think that is one spectrum of your audience which stays with you for a long time. In fact I think that is the only show I can do, because there I don’t need to give opinions. I don’t think I have reached a position to judge other people’s talent.
You said this was not a conscious effort to make a gender-bender. But do you think this is going to affect your on-screen macho impression?
You all are scaring me! (Laughs) See, these days we are very accessible in social media. I think people understand the kind of personalities we possess. I don’t really think we should get caught up in characters. In that case, Ranbir wouldn’t act in ‘Barfi’ and Varun wouldn’t act in ‘Badlapur’. We won’t be pushing it forward if we bother about imagery and stereotypical stuff.
What’s your personal opinion about marriages? Are they necessary in today’s world?
I’ll be beaten for this one! I’ve done a film which speaks pro-marriage and then I am not somebody who is dying to get married. Let’s put it this way, I would get married only when I want to produce kids!
Do we get to see you in ‘Ram Lakhan’?
The right people to ask this would be Karan Johar or Rohit Shetty. So far, the next film I am doing is ‘Half Girlfriend’. Day before yesterday only, I was asked if I’d like to act in ‘Student Of The Year 2’. I know nothing about these films! I had said that if I am approached by Karan Johar and if I like the film’s merit, I’d surely think about it. But people simply omitted portions of my words and made it, ‘If Karan Johar approaches me, I’d love to do it.’ I did not say anything like that!
I love Rohit Shetty’s work but I was never offered ‘Ram Lakhan’.
Do you think that the male ego has slightly taken a back seat these days?
I don’t think so, but I hope the change happens soon. Ego is something which the society instills into you. However, we somehow feed it. Upbringing and education system play major factors behind this change.