Conversations with Shraddha Kapoor are always fun, as the actress knows how to hold your attention with her charm and infectious bouts of laughter.
As Rock On 2 hits the big screens this Friday, the chirpy girl in a freewheel conversation, talks about why she is so excited to be a part of this film, her co-stars, working with the Khans, link-ups and much more.
Excerpts from the interview-
Q. Your song Udja Re from Rock On 2 is receiving appreciation from all corners. Tell us something about the track.
A. It's the most difficult song that I ever had to sing in my life. I was training in music when I was growing up with my Nana. Unfortunately, he is no more. I regret not receiving more training from him in classical music. For Rock On 2, I had to train in a rock sort of music. Samantha Edwards who is a beautiful Jazz singer and a vocal coach also taught me some breathing exercises to hold my breath better for this song. It was very hard to croon this track but, it turned out to be nice in the end.
Q. You are the new addition to the Magik Band. What's your role all about?
A. All the characters in the film have their own conflicts and somehow everyone's conflicts are connected to each other in a way. My character's name is Jiya Sharma. She is a keyboard player, programmer and a singer. There is something which is holding her back. I cannot reveal anything more. (smiles)
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in music?
A. My grand-maushi Lataji (Lata Mangeshkar). Actually, she has been a bigger inspiration for my mom who she has followed her through and through. Many people don't know that my mom has the voice of an angel. She actually sounds like the younger version of Lataji. But she chose to devote her life in bringing up me and my brother. Sometimes me and my mother just sit and sing over a cup of tea.
Q. Would you be comfortable in lending your voice to other actresses in the future?
A. I think I am happy singing for myself (laughs). But never say never for anything. Actually, I also write my own songs now. I have never said this before in any interview that I have been writing for a while.
Q. If given an opportunity, would you sing for Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra?
A. I haven't got that opportunity yet. But if I get one then maybe I can decide. They are all amazing singers.
Q. If not an actor, do you think you could have been a singer instead?
A. Only singing? No. I think the reason only why I have discovered singing is because of me being an actor. Another reason is watching Rock On. That time, I was shooting for Teen Patti and went to see that film. After watching it, I told my parents that if they ever make a sequel then I will be in it. It's amazing that it turned out to be true. I was always fond of singing. It's just that I didn't know that I could do it in movies. When I saw Farhan singing his own songs in Rock On, I was like if he can do it then I should also give it a try.
Q. How much have you changed as a singer? What's your parents' reaction to this?
A. From singing Galliyan for Ek Villain to the Rock On 2 songs, I feel that my voice has become more basey. It's nice to see the smiling faces of my parents and see them feel proud of me. Sometimes late at night my father randomly messages me saying 'Hey, I am really proud of you.' That just feels great.
Q. What is the best thing of being a part of Rock On 2?
A. The best thing is that a Rock On 2 is being made.
Q. What's your take on sequels in Bollywood?
A. I think that if there is a good script then why not? It should be made.
Q. Shraddha, today you are a star. But unfortunately, when you started your Bollywood career, your initial films didn't work. Was there any moment of self-doubt within you after these flops? And how has the world changed for you today when you are one of the most successful actresses?
A. Of course, there was a phase when things didn't work as planned. But I feel that I am blessed with a great support system at home. I think it's very important for people to have a great support system because when your confidence is low, they can help you bring it up and vice-versa. So yaa, there was a low phase. I know that my last few films have done well. But I am also aware that this golden phase may always be not there.
Q. How do you find Farhan Akhtar as a co-star? Would you ever be like to be directed by him in a film?
A. I would definitely want to be directed by him in a film. Dil Chahta Hai is one of my favourite films. I loved Lakshya. As a co-star, he is so passionate on the sets as an actor and you can see that. He is extremely talented. It's been amazing working with even Arjun (Rampal) and Purab (Kohli). Me and Shashank are the new entrants to the band and it's been amazing working with all of them. Everybody welcomed me and Shashank with love straight into the Magik band. We felt totally at home and had a blast while shooting the film.
Q. Is it true that you had been approached for Varun Dhawan's Judwaa 2?
A. As of now, there is no truth in that. The movies that I am doing right now is Rock On 2, OK Jaanu, Half Girlfriend and Haseena. I haven't signed anything else.
Q. Will you be meeting Haseena Parkar's family for Haseena?
A. Yes, I will be. I am very excited to play Haseena because not many know about this brother-sister story.
Q. Do you regret not meeting Haseena since she is no more in this world?
A. Yes. I wished that I could. It would have been nice to know more things from her. But I will be watching some of her footages instead to prep up for the role.
Q. There were reports that you and Prachi Desai didn't get along well on the sets...
A. I don't know where these reports come from. Half of the time I am not even aware of them. It's quite absurd. We all bonded really well on the sets of our film.
Q. Shraddha, you are half Maharashtrian. Would we see you doing a Marathi film soon?
A. You know it's really amazing to see the Marathi film industry doing so well. Unfortunately, I haven't seen these films. But I would love to do a Marathi film if there is a nice script. Of course, I would have to polish up my Marathi.
Q. After Rock On 2, you have OK Jaanu and Half Girlfriend. The former sees you reuniting with Aditya Roy Kapur after Aashiqui 2 whereas Half Girlfriend is an adaptation of a popular novel. Does that build up the pressure since there would be huge expectations from you this time to match up to that level?
A. See, there is always some kind of pressure or the other. But, I think that's also the fun of it. That just makes you want to work harder and be better than your previous films. I try to be better than my previous films and keep learning and growing as much as possible.
Q. Which was your favourite song as a kid?
A. I sang Paani Paani Re from Maachis during one of my school annual functions and won the third prize. But I kept sulking that I couldn't win the first prize instead. (laughs). I love Yeh Galiyan yeh chaubara, the song from my maasi's film. I also love those songs from the David Dhawan films.
Q. Sonam Kapoor in a recent interview, said that it's the male actors who decide which actresses they want to work with. Do you agree with her views?
A. I don't think so. I feel that it's the director of the film who decides the cast. I don't know if she said this, but maybe that's her opinion.
Q. Do you feel working with the Khans is very important in an actress' career?
A. I feel any actresses would want to work with the Khans. I am also one of them. It's something great to do a film with them.
Q. So which of the Khans would you like to share screen space with?
A. I want to work with all three of them.
Q. How do you handle all the link-ups with your co-stars? Does it affect your equation with them?
A. I really wonder where these things come up from. It's so sad that when an actor is giving an interview about their film or about whatever that they want to talk about, but unfortunately at the end of the day, the headline of the article is related to the link-ups.
I feel it's so disrespectful for the actor who is giving the media so much time. We give our lives to the films and what do we see in the end? The link-up headlines! It's so unfair and I feel that they should rather talk about all the efforts that I have put in my films. I wish that there was some responsible reporting in that sense and people should be more empathic towards actors because we put ourselves in the limelight so that you have the control to ask us questions about whatever you want to ask.
Having said that, I am very happily single and romancing films.