By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Happy days are here for the petite pretty and gentle Shraddha Kapoor. Last year she was struggling, auditioning ferociously for roles and getting rejected. One such role was that in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali production My Friend Pinto which went to Kalki Koechlin
And now Shraddha, in all humility, is all set to do Bhansali’s production of Gabbar opposite Akshay Kumar.
Sounding humbled rather than vindicated, Shradha says, “Times change. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get out of the struggler’s space. It was very difficult to break out of the struggle. But that period of uncertainty will always be cherished. I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected in life. Because anything can happen.”
Now she’s looked on with different eyes. “Yes, the film industry’s attitude towards me has changed. There is a drastic change. From flop, I’ve gone to flip (laughs). It feels nice to be finally appreciated. When someone like Anurag Basu called me to tell me he absolutely loved me in Aashiqui 2, it feels very encouraging.”
Shraddha feels Aashiqui 2 couldn’t have happened at a better time.
“You know, in spite of being from a film family I had to go through that whole struggle to find a place. I think that struggle has made me a better person and a better actress. There were days when I’d audition while my faithful sets of friends patiently waited. Then I’d come away without grabbing the role. Of course it hurt. But my family and friends were there to hold my hand. And how would I enjoy the current phase of positivity if I didn’t have the other experience of failure?”
There were many humiliating experiences, like a film where Shraddha actually signed and shot before she was replaced. But she would rather not dwell on the dark. “Finally it ‘s talent that counts. I truly believe your talent will be spotted sooner or later. Of course it helped that producers knew me as Shakti Kapoor’s daughter. But I’ve done so many auditions where I’ve been rejected. But it’s okay. I don’t hold any grudges. Who knows, I might be working with the very people who replaced me.”
Shraddha has just returned from Kashmir from the shooting of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider.
And she can’t stop raving about the Valley. “It is definitely heaven on earth. That Kashmir is part of India is our good fortune. Though my parents made sure that I travelled extensively as a child this was my first visit to Kashmir. And to see the unsurpassable beauty first-hand just took my breath away. The best thing about the movie business is that you get to travel a lot. And when you get to travel to Kashmir for a Vishal Bhardwaj film to do Shakespeare it’s like three levels of nirvana.”
Cautious and committed, Shraddha clams up about Haider. “We’ve done just one ten- day schedule and we go back for another in January. Right now I’ve two choices. I could go on and on about the film. Or I could wait to have a more cohesive perception on the experience. So I’ll just say, Haider will take me to another level after Aashiqui 2.”
Besides Haider and Gabbar, Shraddha is also doing Mohit Suri’s Villain.
“I had a wish-list of directors when I started out. Vishal Bhardwaj and Mohit Suri were on the list. So now I’ve ticked two names in my list, a double trick before Mohit’s name. Though it brings back the complete Aashiqui team barring Aditya Roy Kapoor, Villain is a completely new experience. Even our DOP is the same. It’s like coming home again. The only newbie in the group is Siddharth Malhotra.”
So if Siddharth plays the villain, does Shraddha play the vamp?
Scandalized by the suggestion, the prim actress replies, “Goodness me! Everyone will know in due course what I play in Villain.”