Kiara Advani, Diljit Dosanjh on working with Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar in Good Newwz and attempting comedy
Ahead of the release of Good Newwz, Kiara Advani opens up about outrage over Kabir Singh while Diljit Dosanjh speaks about reuniting with Kareena Kapoor Khan after Udta Punjab
Kiara Advani may have started slow, but post Kabir Singh— one of the top grossers of 2019 — she is riding high on success. The line-up of her films in 2019-‘20, include Good Newwz, Indoo Ki Jawaani, Laxmmi Bomb, Bhool Bhulaiyya 2 and Sher Shaah. Netflix’s Indian original film Guilty (to be produced by Karan Johar and directed by Ruchi Narain) will mark yet another collaboration between the actor and Johar after the 2018 film Lust Stories.
After Kiara’s debut with Akshay Kumar-produced poorly received comedy, Fugly (2014), and even as her next, M S Dhoni: The Untold Story went on to do Rs 100 crore business, it didn’t help her professionally. She followed it up with films opposite Telugu stars Mahesh Babu (Bharat Ane Nenu) and Ram Charan (Vinaya Vidheya Rama) besides the forgettable Machine, and a cameo in Kalank alongside Varun Dhawan. While Netflix’s Lust Stories earned her positive reviews from critics it was the remake of Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy that shot her to fame despite row over misogynistic content.
“It can make you feel a little low when you are just waiting for opportunities. But I feel glad that I didn’t give up and I went after my dream that today things are looking brighter. If you have the talent then nobody can take that away from you. Now I enjoy going to work and it is making me more and more hungry to do better. I still have a long way to go but it is very motivating when directors call you to not just praise your performance but they also dissect the scenes they liked,” she says.
Incidentally, in her next release, Good Newwz, she has Akshay as her co-star and she’s even romantically paired with him in 2020 Eid release, Laxmmi Bomb. “There was no plan, I never sat and calculated anything. Whatever I chose was instinctive, straight from the heart. Today, the people I wanted to work with are offering me exciting roles. There is so much to learn from Akshay-sir—his professionalism, his knowledge of his craft, and the way he brings in so much life to the sets. I look up to Kareena, she is iconic and one of my favourite actresses, and Akshay launched me in the film industry. It was interesting to see their process, their improvisation, their spontaneity,” says Kiara.
Good Newwz is Kiara’s first attempt at comedy. The film talks about a mix up in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic, where the samples of two couples with the same name get interchanged. “The film laid my foundation for comedy. It will help me in my forthcoming films like Indoo Ki Jawani, Laxmmi Bomb and Bhool Bhulaiya 2 as there is a bit of comedy in all these films,” she says, adding, “For the first time, I am playing an outgoing, colorful, Punjabi girl who is extremely quirky and mad. She accepts whatever is happening in her life and you will never see her stressed. She is happy-go-lucky, like a child. But what was also interesting that I finished Kabir Singh and went straight on the sets of Good Newwz. Both the characters – Monica and Preeti are completely opposite,” she says.
Kiara may have not found it difficult in bringing out the maternal instincts while playing her part but certain “unusual emotional” scenes certainly threw challenges at her. “There was never a moment when I felt, ‘Oh my god this is not feeling real’, and ‘how am I going to play a mother’. The minute we would wear that ‘belly’ the body language would change. But there are lot of scenes, there are a lot of moments...the story is a bit unusual because of what happens with these two couples and that is a little emotional and conflicting. There is a difference in the equation between the two couples and how each couple independently deals with the goof-up that happens,” she says.
Kiara is paired in the film with actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh. Someone who is extremely choosy about signing up projects, Dosanjh says, he agreed to do the film for its story, screenplay and his role. “I have refused many films in the past due to bad role even though the cast was good. I had nothing to do in those films. But here I loved the theme of goof-up and towards the end it gets very emotional which will be lapped up by the families,” he says.
The actor has previously worked with Kareena in his Bollywood debut movie Udta Punjab. “I was comfortable during Udta Punjab and even this time I liked working with her. I have been a huge fan of Akshay and Kareena and that probably gets intimidating but when the camera is switched on I am fine. And it was fun working with Akshay whose comic timing is great. He is very active and his body language is quick,” says Dosanjh, who has had good success ratio in comedies in Punjab, his homeland.
“That way film belongs to the director but doing comedy is more difficult. I want to do more such comedies and family films because then more children connect with you. My shows do well so eventually everything revolves around my shows,” he adds. “Diljit is calm and composed on set like he is in real life. He is extremely reserved and soft-spoken but in front of the camera he is a livewire who just transforms and lights up the screen,” said Kiara.
Finally, with the endless debate over Kabir Singh, its misogyny and toxic portrayal of masculinity even as it set the box office coffers ringing, one wonders how it has impacted Kiara. Would she be more ‘responsible’ in choosing roles? Or treat them just as a character without worrying too much about any such backlash? “It was a bit shocking in the beginning but we realised that it impacted people so much so that it was being debated on prime time news. That is a huge thing for any filmmaker. But I didn’t feel in any way that it was an irresponsible film. I looked at it as a flawed character. For those who made him the hero, I don’t know why, but for me, he was never a hero, he was a flawed character whose biggest weakness was the love for this girl and that made him do all sorts of things which led to his own downfall,” says Kiara.
“There are Preeti-s and Kabir-s that exist in this world and we can’t deny that. This is a fictional story but people suddenly made them this real-life couple and have been discussing them as though we are telling them to be like Kabir and Preeti. But I guess some characters just stick with you. I was recently promoting a song for Good Newwz in Chandigarh that we launched in a concert with 8000 people, and as soon as I walked on the stage people started chanting, ‘Preeti, Preeti’.The film remains special for me and now the goal is to make each character as memorable as Preeti. Hope people give love to other characters like Monica Batra from Good Newwz,” concludes Kiara.
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