Sonam K Ahuja, as Sonam Kapoor is known after marriage, is very happy with the way her latest film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga has been received. Though the box office numbers have not been large, Sonam is content as only she can be. “When we set out to shoot this beautiful story of same-sex love we never aimed it to be a blockbuster. The numbers that we’ve gathered for the film are very satisfactory to us. Ek Ladki…was released in only a 1,000 screens. That’s not a big release by the standards of the big blockbusters. We knew we were breaking rules in the film, and we were cautious about how we go about it. I am very pleased with the result. The number of messages and calls I’ve received in response to my character and to the film just gladdens the heart.”
Sonam refuses to take credit for being the first mainstream actress to play a homosexual character. “Long before me Shabana Aunty (Azmi) and Nandita Das played lovers in Deepa Mehtta’s Fire. That was so progressive and such a long time ago. I love Deepa Mehta’s elemental trilogy (Fire, Earth, and Water). Indian actresses have constantly been pushing the envelope whenever they’ve been given the opportunity to do so.”
Sonam Kapoor feels a sense of responsibility should be a fundamental part of all actors’ work ethics. “You cannot be a celebrity and behave irresponsibly. I think being sensitive about marginalized communities has always come naturally to me. That’s the way I’ve been brought up. There is no self-congratulation in doing a film like Ek Ladki Ko Dekha….”
Having said that, Sonam admits playing the repressed lesbian was not easy. “Sweety is a repressed character. I am nothing like that in real life. I’ve always done what I’ve wanted to with the full support of my family. My character Sweety in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha is as repressed as Sakina, the character I played in my first film Saawariya…I think from the start I’ve gravitated towards roles that challenge me to explore new facets to my personality.”
Sonam’s next release The Zoya Factor in April is far more light in tone. And she had fun doing it. “It’s been a while since I did a fun film. The Zoya Factor is very different from Ek Ladki Ko Dekha…much lighter in tone. I worked with (Malayalam star) Dulquer Salman who is a very good-looking man and a talented actor. I think more people would come for him than for me,” she jokes, not the least insecure about her co-star.
In Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, she had her father Anil Kapoor as co-star who happily took a backseat to her author-backed role. Sonam disagrees vehemently. “Not at all. If you see, my dad is the hero of the film. His character brings about the change in the homophobic mind-set. He didn’t do the film only because I was in it. At the end of the day he’s a professional actor and he saw what a fabulous role he had.”