Shraddha Kapoor is on a roll with a streak of hits. Aashiqui 2, Ek Villain, Haider, ABCD 2, Baaghi — the actress has delivered back to back hits and has carved a niche for herself in the fiercely competitive industry. And as her next, Rock On 2, hits the screens today, the spunky actress opens up on movies, singing, link-ups and her idea of super-stardom.
What drew you to Rock On 2? Was it because you were getting to sing your own songs?
Actually, it was the film itself that attracted me to Rock On 2. I have seen Rock On many times. After the film was over, everybody else stood up but I kept sitting. I was so moved by it. The film was an instant favourite, with its theme of a music band and the friendship. I thought to myself that if there’s a sequel, I will be in it. So when I heard the filmmakers were making Rock On 2, I called up Ritesh (Sidhwani, the producer), and said that I would like to be considered. He asked me to meet him and added that they mainly wanted to hear me sing.
Everybody is impressed with your song Udja Re in Rock On 2. Was it challenging to sing?
Udja Re is the most difficult song that I have sung in my life. Not that I have sung so many. When I was a kid, I would train with my Nana — classical singer Shri Pandharinath Kolhapure. He's no more, and I really regret not training more with him.
I did not continue with the training while growing up. For Rock On 2, I was trained by Samantha Edwards, who is a beautiful jazz singer and vocal coach. She has a divine voice. I had to hold my breath for long spells and take those leaps in the lines. I learnt to create those trills and buzzing bee sound and few stomach exercises essentially to hold the breath. I didn't think I would be able to do all this but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy pushed me. They were amazing and guided me throughout this experience.
You are a new addition to the cast of Rock On sequel, tell us about your character.
All the characters in the film have conflicts, but somehow, everyone's conflict is connected. My character, Jiah Sharma is a keyboard player, programmer and a singer. My screen father, if you notice in the trailer, stops me from pursuing music and I’m seen asking him if that will make him happy. Something’s holding me back, she carries a baggage with her, but I cannot talk more about it. It's an intense film. I hope people like me in it.
Your initial years in the industry was quiet, and with Aashiqui 2 you rose to great heights. Did you ever have any kind of self doubt wondering whether you would ever make it?
Yes, at that time nothing was going the way I hoped and wanted to. But I’m blessed with a great support system. It’s good to have a family that helps you come up when your confidence is low and you’re going through a low phase. But then again it all depends upon how long you’re having a successful run, it may not last forever. Success is not forever.
Who has been your inspiration as a singer?
My very own grand Mausi Lata Mangeshkar. Actually, she has been a bigger inspiration for my mom. My mom (Shivangi Kolhapure) has followed her through and through. She has the voice of an angel, which a lot of people don't know. She sounds like the younger version of Lataji. But she, of course, devoted her life for us (Shraddha and her brother Siddhanth's) in bringing us up. Sometimes my mom and I just sing over a cup of tea. She asks me to sing different ragas, and I try. It's fun.
But how did singing for films happen?
I discovered that I wanted to sing for movies after watching Rock On. I was always for singing in movies but I wasn’t sure whether I could do it. And when I saw Farhan singing, I said to myself, 'If I want to do it, I can as well. It is possible.' It was very inspiring to see Farhan because he does so many things together — he acts, he sings, he writes, he directs, he produces...
Will you sing for other actresses in the future, say for Priyanka or Deepika?
I am happy singing for myself but never say never for anything! I have also been writing my own songs and poems. But I haven’t got the opportunity to sing for others so far, if I get then I will be able to decide. But they already have some amazing singers singing for them, for instance, Shreya Ghoshal.
Will you come out with an album?
I don't know. I have written and recorded two songs in English. I performed one of my songs at a Bangalore concert recently. Album, I don’t know right now, I am caught up with some lovely movies which have taken a large part of me.
How has your family reacted to your fame?
It's nice to see them feel proud. Sometimes, randomly, my father sends messages late at night saying, 'Hey, I am really proud of you.' That feels great. I hope I keep getting those messages. Today, I got one from my friend who doesn't always say nice things to me. I felt good.
Most of your films have worked even in the interiors and small towns and not just big metros.
It feels good. I am not making any efforts or maybe I like those scripts that appeal to Tier 1, 2, 3 cities as you say. We went to small towns like Varanasi and Mandawa to shoot and it’s a great feeling when people remember you and call you by your character name.
How was it working with Farhan Akhtar, Purab Kohli and Arjun Rampal? Would you like to be directed by Farhan?
I would definitely want to be directed by Farhan! Dil Chahta Hai was one of my favourite films. I loved Lakshya, too. He is so passionate as an actor, as a co-star. He is so talented as a writer, director and producer. Working with Purab, Arjun and Shashank has been amazing. Shashank and I were the two new entrants in the band. Purab, Arjun and Farhan knew each other well; they have that bond from the first Rock On. But they welcomed Shashank and me with lot of warmth.
There are rumours about you being approached for Judwaa 2.
No, there’s no truth in it. At present I’m doing Ok Jaanu, Half Girlfriend and the film on Haseena Parkar, the late sister of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. I haven’t signed anything else.
How are you preparing for Haseena-The Queen of Mumbai?
I will be meeting her family and I am excited about that. I am very excited to play the role. It’s the story between a brother (Dawood) and sister which not many know about. There is some footage of hers that has been taken, I will watch the footage and do my best.
There were rumours that the other actors in Rock On 2 were unhappy and felt that they have been sidelined as you and Farhan have been the centre of attention.
No, that’s not true. Arjun and Purab are far from looking upset, they are always in a masti mood. I don’t know where these reports come from. It’s quite absurd. We bonded really well on the sets.
Marathi film industry is looking up. Would you ever act in a Marathi film?
If there’s a good script, why not? I would love to do Marathi films for which I need to polish my Marathi.
How do you handle link-up rumours? The most recent one was with Farhan.
I wonder where these things come from. Are reporters writing to get eyeballs? It is sad that when an actor is giving an interview, the headline is related to the link-ups. It's disrespectful for the actor who is giving so much time. We give our lives to our films. We give interviews so that we can talk about our films. It's unfair and makes me feel like all the effort is wasted.
The fact that I spent 66 days shooting for the film and 77 days preparing for it is something I want to share, maybe that needs acknowledgment. At the end of the day, we are also humans. We have parents and are answerable to them. I wish there was more responsible journalism. You need to be empathetic toward actors. My family pacifies me by saying it's a part and parcel of this profession. But I feel bad when such articles appear. Why should I speak if the reason for grabbing eyeballs is all this sensationalism? By the way, I'm happily single, romancing my movies.
Which was your favourite song as a child?
I would sing 'Pani Pani Re' from Maachis. I sang it for a (Jamnabai Narsee School) annual day function. I got the third prize, a bronze but wasn't happy about it. I love my aunt’s (Padmini Kolhapure) song from Prem Rog – 'Yeh galiyan yeh chaubara'. Then I like all those David Dhawan film songs like Tan tana tan. Actually I like all, old, new, Indian as well English tracks.
Recently, Sonam Kapoor commented that the heroes decide who they want to work with. Sonam, apparently wants to work with Shah Rukh Khan but feels pretty deflated that he doesn't share her excitement about working together.
I don’t think heroes decide that. I feel director of the film decides the actors. I don’t know if Sonam said this. But it’s her opinion. As far as I know the director decides and that is how it should be.
It’s said that there won’t be any superstar after Khans as it will be difficult for anyone to match their stardom. Do you think that the social media is killing stardom?
Well, I feel super-stardom may have a whole new concept. When you see Mr Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna or Vinod Khanna, of course, that kind of stardom was very different and today stardom has undergone a huge change. Today I can reach out to my fans on my mobile. I say something on twitter or post a picture on Instagram, I get a huge response from my fans which is a nice feeling.