The star of our October issue talks about performing live, his thoughts on sis Sonam Kapoor's style, being best buds with Ranveer Singh (and surviving the infamous Roast) and working with the original diva, Kareena Kapoor.
Maxim: Do you get nervous on set or is a live audience, like the IIFA, scarier?
Arjun Kapoor: With a live audience that feeling that you get at the pit of your stomach is something! When you’re on a set you can correct yourself. You can check what you’ve done after a couple of takes, you can talk to the director and you can check the video to see whether it’s all working. But with IIFA, it’s spontaneous, it’s live, you’ve got to go with your impulse and your instinct.
Maxim: So how was doing IIFA for you?
Arjun Kapoor: It was fantastic. It comes down to the audience giving back and we had a crowd of 20,000. It’s them who you’re playing for and you’ve got to connect with them. The TV audience will get the energy if it comes through the screen. I definitely felt connected and Ranveer and I were rehearsed enough to be certain about some things we were doing and spontaneous about others. But in general I think the energy in the room really allowed us to be ourselves.
Maxim: And was it a big rush afterwards?
Arjun Kapoor: We had a rush during, too, because our introduction act was about 12 minutes long; so we were performing from the off. The organizers were like, just do it, land, it doesn’t matter if you’re sweaty; the energy will drive the show. It was almost like it had some rock gig energy to it. So it was non-stop throughout and our blood didn’t really stop pumping until about 4.30am in the morning. So we sustained that adrenaline for about six hours which for me was a great high. At the time we really never thought about the television audience – we were totally driven by the support of the live experience.
Maxim: You were really focused during the shoot and took a great deal of interest in each shot. Are you like this in all your shoots?
Arjun Kapoor: Ha-ha! Really? I think that’s more about the aesthetics of the pictures and them coming together for the magazine. It’s my duty to portray myself in the best way I can in everything I do. Everything. I think the shoot turned out really well and I wanted it to look like I belonged in the shoot – not uncomfortable or lost – and I think we got it. Well, the readers will tell us I’m sure.
Maxim: High street or designer?
Arjun Kapoor: Both really, but I love getting bespoke stuff made as it allows you to accentuate the best bits about you.
Maxim: You and Ranveer Singh do so much work together and are famous or infamous for others…
Arjun Kapoor: You mean the Roast?
Maxim: Yes, but we didn’t think…
Arjun Kapoor: …You didn’t think I’d want to go there. Why? So many good things came out of it. What not so many people remember or realize is that we did it for charity and we raised 50Lakh in just three hours. That is a large amount of money for a very good cause.
Maxim: And it’s subsequent banning?
Arjun Kapoor: Well, I think everyone’s got a right to an opinion, but I think it got too much attention when it didn’t need to. The intelligent, sensible people got the point of it and then certain people who wanted to create an issue, did just that – turned it into a big deal for no reason.
Maxim: So your cousin Sonam pretty much carries the moniker of ‘India’s best dressed lady’. Do you feel any pressure to compete with her in the style stakes?
Arjun Kapoor: Not at all! I think I’d be fighting a losing battle if I even went there.
Maxim: We don’t want to be biased, but…
Arjun Kapoor: Ha-ha! I don’t have a sense of competition with my friends or relatives, but I’m very, very happy she’s known for being a style icon. Actually, I believe she’s done enough to be recognized more as an actor. I think sometimes she gets spoken about for just the clothes – I think she’s got the talent to move ahead. Sure the fashion thing will always exist, but it’s the acting that will come to the front.
Maxim: And what do you think of the way she dresses?
Arjun Kapoor: You know something I love her in jeans and a t-shirt. I keep telling her ‘I’ve seen you in so many gowns, I’m scared I’ll come round your house and you’ll be sitting there in a gown!’ I’d love her to go out in just jeans and shock people. She laughs at me, but she’s such a naturally beautiful looking girl.
Maxim: …And how’s working with Kareena?
Arjun Kapoor: Really well, I’ve known her for a while now, so it’s easy. As I come from the film industry, I’ve known many people from within it all my life and it’s nice as it takes the surreal nature of movie making away. I think the only time I felt a little bit odd was shooting with Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan recently.
Maxim: Was it the enormity of their popularity?
Arjun Kapoor: No, it was more that as a young actor you look forward to the day it might happen… and then shit! It did. That was really cool.
Maxim: Three hits in a year. What’s the secret?
Arjun Kapoor: I think it’s about not getting into stereotypes and catering for different audiences. But I don’t tend to dwell on this, just what you can do with the role. I’ve been lucky that the audiences like what I’ve chosen and it’s been more like organic growth.