She's made a dynamic leap from an assistant director to Bollywood's newest discovery - but for Sonam Kapoor, the sudden rise to fame and fortune hasn't come without a price. Right from her childhood, she was totally unaware of how the film industry functions. Bollywood wasn't her cup of tea, she never attended parties with father Anil Kapoor and now her link up's with Ranbir are doing the rounds. Whatever it is, one thing is certain, this exquisitely beautiful Kapoor girl has learnt quite quickly how to deal with the intense interest surrounding her.
Excerpts from the interview:
The countdown of this year's most awaited film and the most awaited debutants have begun. How are you feeling at this present moment?
I am feeling a riot of emotions. I'm excited, anxious, nervous, happy... too many things yaar! Don’t ask me. It's chaos in my system right now.
Tell us something about your weightless journey from Black to Saawariya.
Well, first of all...it was a weight loss journey (laughs). From Black to Saawariya, it has been a giant leap for me. It was a constant high and we all were like sitting on the edge. We were constantly working on ourselves and improving. You have geniuses like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Omung Kumar, Ravi Chandran, Anuradha Vakil, etc working on you along with a brilliant co-star Ranbir Kapoor acting and improvising with you. So it's been my most amazing learning experience ever.
Your father Anil Kapoor has made his own standing in the film industry and is still going strong. Where do you think will Saawariya take you?
You are right. I got Saawariya because I am Anil Kapoor's daughter and that's how I got introduced to Sanjay Leela Bhansali or you wouldn't have noticed me. Mr Bhansali has taken care of everything, right from the strand of my hair to the nail of my toe. For anything that I am in Saawariya is because of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. So whatever happens after Saawariya will hopefully be a little of something that I will put in. As of now I am here because of my father and my director.
Does that mean that you never intended to join films and only because Sanjay Leela Bhansali told you that you look beautiful, you happily agreed?
Yes and that's a fact. I never wanted to join films but because my father introduced me to Mr Bhansali, I happened to assist him on Black. And during the making of Black, Sanjay Leela Bhansali told me that I look very beautiful and should act in films. That's when he came up to me and told me to shed a lot of weight only to be his heroine in Saawariya.
How was it to be working with a tough task-master like Mr Bhansali?
I've worked with him for four years and he is not a hard task-master all the time. He is very colourful and an amazing human being and likes to push me and himself harder because he wants me to be the best and treats me like his daughter. For that, I will be so ever grateful to him. Nobody can love me and support me as much as he does. He is like my Guru - my teacher.
The media in London have said that Ranbir is the next Aamir Khan in the making and Saawariya is the next Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Does that make you the next Juhi Chawla?
I would love to be the next Juhi Chawla, she has got the most amazing comic timing. She was also Miss India. I don't think that I will be able to achieve and reach where she is right now but if people are saying that, it's great.
Describe your role and the character you play in Saawariya.
The character I play in Saawariya is called Sakina. She is what love is. Sakina is innocence and love personified. If anybody needs to learn how to love then they should learn to love like Sakina does. She is so selfless and so sure about her love with no questions asked. I am very privileged to get a character with so many layers in my first film.
You are lucky to be sharing screen space with both, Rani Mukerji and Salman Khan. How was your association with two of Bollywood's finest talents?
I think Rani Mukerji is soon going to be a legend. She is one of the very few spontaneous actresses and above all a very good human being. I've learnt a lot from her. She respects everybody and treats the entire crew equally. She is very self confident and she is a phataka. I love her to death and she is my favourite actor. Salman Khan is a cool dude. He is the sexiest actor I have ever seen.
Is that a romantic Sonam Kapoor talking?
Right now I am only talking about my work and I don't think that you will ever find my link-up's with anyone.
Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh's on screen romance turned out to be an off screen marriage. Do you find yourself hooked up with Ranbir Kapoor in the near future?
As I said that I will only be talking about my work for the moment. Right now I am in love with someone and that someone is my work and my film Saawariya.
Ranbir's favourite track from the film is Pari. Which song is your favourite?
I like all the songs but I can short list them into Yoon Shabnami, Jab Se Tere Naina and Thode Badmaash. If I am in a festive mood then I will listen to Yoon Shabnami, if I am in a love-struck mood then I listen to Thode Badmaash.
You never wanted to become an actress and on top of that, you were never trained. Then, how did you face the camera?
Well, it's a good thing that I was never trained because everything I have done in Saawariya is from my heart and has nothing to do with training. But I was only trained for one year by Mr Bhansali and a few others. I've worked behind the camera as well and have seen how actors and actresses work. So it wasn't difficult. I also think that I might be having some qualities of my father in me. We'll wait and watch.
Which of your father's films would you prefer to watch again and again?
There are many but I would love to watch Mr India, Viraasat, Woh Saat Din and Tezaab in order of preference.
Any memorable experience while working with Ranbir Kapoor?
Ranbir is one of my best friends. I was so happy to know that we both were in the same film. I could be myself with him. Ranbir is very energetic and on the other hand very comfortable to work with and thus the comfort level gets translated onscreen which you will see.
You were born and brought up in a family associated with films. Did you ever attend parties with your family?
No. My dad never used to take me to parties and I never got a chance to interact with the current stars like Hrithik, Abhishek, Esha, Tusshar, etc as they are all much older than me except for Ranbir.
Is your mother happy with whatever you are doing?
Yes, if I am happy then she is happy. She is even happier if I am studying.
If you were to choose between acting and directing in your near future, which one would you go for?
Definitely acting. That's my passion now.
Does that mean you won't assist any director?
Right now, I am concentrating on my acting. I may become an assistant director on one or two films more, hopefully with Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali or any other director.
Don't you think the competition of Saawariya and Om Shanti Om is becoming more like a thriller in our films?
I think all of this is media created. Gadar and Lagaan released on the same day. Lagaan went to the Oscars and Gadar went on to break all box office records. It depends on how you take it. There will always be talks about two big releases but it's an individual opinion as to which film will thrill more.
In the promos we see you wearing very traditional white and black outfits. Off screen, what are you most comfortable wearing?
I am a very moody person as far as my dressing is concerned and will wear anything that makes me feel good.
Any plans of going to London for Saawariya's promotion?
Yeah! I really want to visit London. It depends on what our work schedule is, but hopefully we will be going there.
What is your take on director's making films specifically for the overseas audiences?
I don't know about any other director but Sanjay Leela Bhansali makes a universal film and Saawariya will appeal to one and all whether they are in India, London or the U.S.