Sonam, you are on a signing spree now?
Well, I am doing some films. I am doing Balki’s film PadMan. And I am doing Raju Sir (Hirani)’s film as well. There is of course my sister Rhea’s film Veere De Wedding. So there are three films this year.
Do you have a substantial role in these?
Yes I do. But I don’t look at any part as big or small. I feel every role has a certain power to it. In Delhi 6, I only had 35 minutes of screen time. But I think I made my presence felt. It is not the size of the role. It is the gravitas with which you imbue a part.
Unfortunately a majority of the audience is still unschooled in the art of film viewing. They evaluate a performance by its duration?
I disagree with you. That’s underestimating our audience. The success of Neerja is testimony to the audiences’ maturity. If you look at the films that have done well recently they’re all deserving of success, whether it is Sultan, Dangal, Neerja…They are successful and good films. Yes, we’ve a very long way to go in terms of how our film industry perceives the audience.
What do you mean?
I think the audience is way smarter than what the film industry thinks. I wouldn’t have survived if the audience was not responsive to different kinds of experiences. I march to my own drum beats. The very fact that I am around and doing what I am doing is proof that the audience is alert to unconventional experiences. I am okay with where I am. And the audience is my biggest support.
But bad films do well?
I don’t know about that. Everyone works really hard on every film.
Were you disappointed with the way you brother Harshvardhan’s film turned out at the box office?
Rakeysh Mehra who directed my brother’s film is far too precious to me. The way he treated me on the sets of Delhi 6 and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is something I’ll never forget. Success or no, Rakeysh is a filmmaker who will never back down. He will always have a voice. He makes films that are a reflection of his personality and individuality.
I loved Rakeysh’s Mirzya where he launched your brother. What about you?
I loved Mirzya too. I loved its music. I thought my brother was amazing in it. I am very big fan of Saiyami Kher. It’s just a film that came before its time. Sanjay sir (Bhansali) launched me in the beautiful Saawariya. That didn’t do well, right. Sometimes a filmmaker’s belief doesn’t resonate with the audience. My father always says, doing a film is not about winning. The film and working in it should be reward in themselves.
Harshvardhan recently got into a twitter troll over his comments on Diljit Dosanjh getting an award?
I don’t think Harsh’s comments came from a place of arrogance. He is the kindest person I know. He is humble and nice. He always wants to better himself. I think it’s very unfair to bludgeon a newcomer just because you’re in place of power.
With Neerja getting you all the awards do you think the year gone-by was a turning point for you?
You ask me that every year (laughs). Every year is great. Thanks to Aanand Rai, I got Raanjhanaa, and that was a turning point for me. But before that people started taking me seriously after Rakeysh Mehra’s Delhi 6. Then I did do commercially successful films like Aisha and I Hate Luv Stories. But yes Raanjhana was the one that did it for my career. It did not have a mainstream hero opposite me. I had the author-backed role. Thank you, Aanand L. Rai for the faith you’ve shown in me. Every year has gotten better and better. Last year I got to work with Ram Madhavani in Neerja and before that there Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Both made a big difference to my career.
Are you excited about your home production?
Very. We wanted to shoot Veere Di Wedding at a certain time of the year in a certain location. There were lots of reasons why it got delayed. I was shooting two other films this year. We are very excited about all these women in the film coming together to make an entertaining and relevant film.
In PadMan, the film about the man who invented an economical sanitary napkin, are you part of the social movement that the film describes?
I am part of the film. That’s enough for me. I am excited to work with Balki. We’ve wanted to come together for years. And I am excited to work with Akshay again.
You did a terrible film with him once?
I was very very young then. But I guess I choose it. And I do not disown it.
I think it was called Welcome?
No that is my father’s film with Anees Bazmee and it did very well. My father and Anees work very well. My film with Anees was Thank You and it didn’t work out. But I had a great working relationship with Akshay during that film. I am looking forward to working with Akshay, Tina (Mrs Akshay Kumar) and Balki.
What do you play in the Sanjay Dutt bio-pic?
I am not at liberty to say. But I am just excited to be working with Raju Hirani. Who wouldn’t be? Beyond this, I don’t have any plans for this year. I like to flow with the tide. Every morning I wake up and I see which way the wind is blowing. I just go wherever the wind takes me. I just like being myself. As long as you know who you are and know what you are doing you’ll be happy in life.
Your mentor Sanjay Bhansali was roughed up by protesters. Your comments?
Frankly I don’t think any human being should be made to go through what we did. I am very close to him. I was very worried about him. But I’ve a lot of faith in our government, we all need to be more compassionate, and we need to keep trudging on, pick up all the pieces and create something beautiful.
What else can we expect from Sonam Kapoor do this year?
Besides acting in films, nothing else. My campaigning for issues I believe in, will never stop. But I am an actor and I shall continue to be an actor forever.