Q.Now that Jeet and Raja Hindustani (right) are hits, would you say the hard work has paid off?
Ans.Yeah, right. Hard work, determination and perseverance, they have all paid off, with the three biggest hits of the year so far. And I feel very much normal despite this, very much in control. I value this success, but it hasn't gone to my head probably because it has come under very difficult circumstances.
Q.What difficult circumstances?
Ans.It was not easy for me to establish myself. For anyone else, yes -- but for me, it was always the microscope, people had too many expectations from me as a 'Kapoor'. So while others were allowed to learn the ropes, their initial mistakes forgiven, I didn't get any such leniency. Criticism was constant. But I rode it all out, and it has finally paid off.
Ans.In the sense that people now realise what I am made of. First they said I was good for the song and dance stuff, now they have started admitting that my acting isn't too bad either. Both my recent films gave me a chance to prove my ability. Jeet was a triangular love story, Raja Hindustani had me go through varied nuances, from young girl to wife to divorcee and mother. It was a challenge working in these films, and I am really thankful to my audience, they accepted me in all these different roles.
Q.But right from the days of Prem Qaidi, you've had good roles...
Ans.Yeah, Prem Qaidi was tailor-made for a newcomer. It had everything - music, performance, drama. Another good role I had was in Anadi. Before that, I had the image of being very western-looking, Anadi changed all that, I looked like a village girl in that and was accepted. Fortunately, for a newcomer I have managed to get a good variety of roles, and I want to keep going that way, I don't want to get typecast like others have been.
Ans.Sure, many of our actors and actresses get typecast when one of their films becomes a hit. Luckily, it has not happened to me.
Q.Your change of image, was it conscious? You look and sound mature too..
Ans.See, when I joined this industry, I was very young. Only 17. Now I am 21, so I guess as the years have passed I have matured. I have evolved as a person.
Q.This business of being a Kapoor meant you found very strong rivals, did you resent that at any time?
Ans.True, nobody treated me like an ordinary girl, the family thing was always there. It was not fair to me at all, but I guess it all made me a better person, a better actress .
Q.How about all those scandals?
Ans.(Smiling) Behind every successful person, there has to be a few controversies. One learns to accept these things, it's part of our job, part of the industry. I have learnt to take it all with a pinch of salt .
Q.That's what you say now, but I seem to remember that you hit out pretty strongly when it was happening...
Ans.It was very upsetting, you know, to be gossiped about. What wrong had I done? Anyway, now I am very happy, comfortable. If you notice, I have had the most releases this year, as compared to my colleagues. Producers and directors have time and again repeated me in their films - some of them three, four times. Which means I am over that hump, all the loose talk about unprofessionalism and stuff isn't hurting me any more. You do come along a few nasty people on the way, but it's best to ignore them.
Q.You are not an extrovert, I hear, you don't party, socialise..
Ans.I don't like to party or socialise, actually - much rather sit at home, or be with friends, go out to dinner with them. It's not as if I haven't done the party thing, or gone around and seen the world, just that it does not interest me any more.
Q.This whole number one thing, how important is it for you?
Ans.Being an actress was a passion, it was never relevant or important to become a star. I was passionate about becoming an actress, and I think it shows on screen. You have to be determined and have some amount of ambition to succeed, but I don't think I am overly ambitious. I won't do anything and everything to become number one, in fact it is scary to have people come up and say, 'You have the three biggest hits of '96, are you No 1?' I would rather not get into these things, rather be known as a top actress, that's all.
Q.I heard your father, Randhir Kapoor, has plans to sign you on for his film?
Ans.Yes, the film is right now in the planning stage, there will be plenty of expectations - the RK banner, my father directing, me acting. We are waiting for the right script and role for me - until we find it, it's on hold.
Q.Star children have their fathers producing films for them. Did you ever think that if your father had done it for you at the beginning of your career, your start would have been better?
Ans.I don't think so. My mother always said 'Go out there and make it on your own' and I am proud to say that I did just that. I could easily have had the RK banner produce a film for me, but I didn't choose to come into the industry that way. I remember I had no backing whatsoever, worked in a simple South production, made it through that. And I am very proud of the way I have come up.
Q.Your great-grandfather, your grandfather, your father - there's a huge legacy your family has left in the film industry. How have you contributed?
Ans.Well, I think I am a bit too young to have contributed anything at all. I would like to keep the RK banner and my grandfather's name alive, and be remembered in the minds of the people, that is one of the reasons why I have joined the profession.
Q.Ever imagined yourself heading the RK banner?
Ans.No way. I have no intentions of being a director or a producer, let my father and uncles handle all that. I would prefer to remain an actress.
Q.What about the RK heroines? Is there something special about the breed?
Ans.Yes, definitely, and that is because of my grandfather's touch. He loved the art of film-making, and that is what comes across in his film and in his heroines.
Q.Would you have loved to work in those times?
Ans.But of course. It would have been great, totally different. The kind of characters and roles they used to have then, it would have been wonderful to have tried my hand at them.
Q.You spoke about not wanting to be typecast. What about your public image?
Ans.Fortunately, I don't think I have a particular public image. In my opinion, a public image comes when you have been around for a long time - which I have not. And anyway, I don't believe in this image thing
Q.How do you find time for yourself in the middle of all this?
Ans.Oh, I do manage.. I like to read, swim, watch old black and white films and I am quite a television buff. This profession doesn't have fixed hours - but that is okay too, I find time for my own interests whenever possible.
Q.What about your future plans? Is marriage on the agenda?
Ans.I don't plan to marry for a very long time to come - I am in this profession, and I would like to give it my hundred per cent like I always have. Besides, I am young now, give it time
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