Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan’s upcoming movie, Love Aaj Kal, has brought a lot of joy to them. This was the duo’s first time together and the audience is already in love with this pair! Directed by Imtiaz Ali, the movie will release on 14th February, 2020.
Q. Did your definition for love change after meeting Imtiaz Ali?
Kartik: Working with him has been a life changing experience. I am playing two roles in Love Aaj Kal, today’s is Veer and the past one is Rahu. Both of my characters needed a lot of hard work. I was working out of my comfort zone. This isn’t comedy, it is an intense romantic film. It is an acid test in my career. I hope audience like me in this avatar too. Imtiaz sir made the work easier. Preparation was difficult, it was different than my normal being. Veer can come out as weird, he is robotic, introverted and an isolated being. But he has no filter, he says what his heart wants him to. These roles were very challenging for me but it was fun. Raghu is a very filmy guy with different body language and rhythm.
Sara: He himself has said that love is something which you can’t understand completely, it is a journey in itself. It was fun to discover yourself while working. I am new as an actor and very young as a girl which is why I don’t have much experience. But while working with Imtiaz sir I got to experience this whole experience and that is why I wanted to become an actor. I am aware that our lives are limited and we won’t be able to experience different characters in our lives but at least we get to experience few of them by portraying these roles. Now, love, women, competition, life has changed and there is a gap created but this is all a journey.
Q. These days we are very conscious about portrayal of women in films. Did you suggest anything to Imtiaz Ali with his movies?
Sara: He is a genius in his work. It’s not my place to be giving him my thought. So as an actor, you get to understand the difference between your public personality and your on screen personality. What I stand for on social media or as Sara Ali Khan, a human, is not what I have to stand for as different roles that I do. It is the director’s point of view as it is his medium and that is also the writer’s job. For me, I just have to go on the sets with complete conviction and full honesty and portray the characters that are displayed whether that is consumption of alcohol or pre-marital sex or bad language. These are the things my character indulges in the film, do I stand for these things? I don’t know and that is not even the point. The point is that Zoe, my character, stands for these points and that is Imtiaz sir’s brain child. I just have to go there and execute that.
Q. How was your shift to serious to comedy? Do you think comedy is a difficult genre?
Kartik: I do think comedy is the most difficult job to crack because there is a thin line to bring out the humour which people could relate to. Personally, I have a touch of humour and timing which has helped me throughout my career with comic films. And because it is one the difficult genre and I am able to crack it so it helps me to perform better everywhere. In fact, I like intense dramatic roles, I always wanted to do something like this. Somehow I connect with them and I get a creative satisfaction as an actor. Romantic genre has its own difficulty levels. You have to convey a lot in just one look. So both are tests for me, I have done comedy now I am starting with romantic films. I hope I get to do more such films.
Q. How was it portraying a character from 90s?
Kartik: Raghu- Leena’s love story is in 90s era. While prepping for it, I used to watch 90s films and listen to 90s songs. We shot this at Udaipur and the atmosphere that Imtiaz Ali’s created was a lot of method acting. I started living like Raghu, the body language, the way he talked, sat or danced. We is 90s’ filmy guy. He is a lion in front of his friends but a mouse in front of Leena. I carried around that small comb in my pocket everywhere. There is a reference from ‘Kayamat se Kayamat tak’.
Q. You were a bit affected with the response to the trailer with all the trolling of a particular scene. So do you think that the expectations would only be bigger from here?
Sara: There are expectations in life and that is a good thing and a bad thing. It is encouraging me so early in my juncture. Whether the expectations are personal or not, wherever there are expectations, there is a scope of disappointment or meeting them and that is a form of motivation. So yes, there is a sense of realization and recognition with pressure and people do expect me to perform but then there are two ways of looking at that. Either I can view it as I disappointed them with a certain shot in a trailer or take a step back and see the responses to the other shots in the trailer. Or even the responses to the 3 songs which are positive. I have had the opportunities to work with very different and learned filmmakers. I hope that I keep getting the opportunity to prove myself.
Q. Did you get any reaction from Deepika Padukone?
Kartik: Deepika was really happy and she liked this. It is a nice thing when something like this happens.
Q. How did Saif Ali Khan react seeing his daughter working in this film?
Sara: He will obviously like anything in which I would work. Even he is an actor and knows that support from media and audience is more important. He won’t be able to be very objective of my work because he is my father.
Q. Do you think love has become more complicated today, especially for you guys who are in the limelight?
Sara: What interesting is whether you are comparing over time or people are actors or non-actors, the only thing changes is the language of expression of love and the external stuff which is what this film is also talking about. The freedom with which you express love, the duration to take to do so will change. But the basic ethos of love will stand the test of time, profession and distance. And if it doesn’t then it is not love.
Q. Is there any strategy behind you coming out with one film then disappearing then all of a sudden shocking everyone with another film after a year or so?
Sara: The type of girl I am, it is better that I shut up than talk about everything every day. It is better that people know me because of my work. This job is such that there is so much scrutiny and attention. I am thankful for it. The media and audience has given me so much love even before the release of Kedarnath so I am only grateful. Without seeming like I am complaining, I would just like to say that ultimately it gets distracting if it takes away from the work. Especially if you are a high spirited, confident girl with a voice and an opinion then you are potentially in a dangerous situation because you need to ensure that you allow your work to speak. So it is important to know when to speak and when not to. The only thing which will never give you edge over competition is being yourself. For me, this is part of that.
Q. You are doing Love Aaj Kal, Bhool Bhulaiya 2 and Dostana 2 whose previous parts have been hits so do you feel pressured about the performances of the new films?
Kartik: I hope these will work great too. I think there is an added responsibility because the producers are trusting me to take forward such huge franchises. My most commercial film would be Bhool Bholaiya. It is a full entertainer. Dostana will push the envelope, I hope my role connects to the viewers, I haven’t done something like that before. I hope this connects with a larger number of audiences. Both of these are movie are very important for me. But I didn’t decide it that I only want to do sequels. It came coincidentally. Love Aaj Kal won’t be in part 2 or 3 because the theme is of the current day and the past which is always going to change.
Q. What are the add on things in this movie than the first Love Aaj Kal?
Kartik: This is an extension of the previous movie. There is no relation, just the theme is same. This has two love stories with four different characters. This is completely new film with new characters. It is a full on love story. It is an extension love stories.
Q. Does you off screen chemistry help you with your on screen chemistry with each other?
Sara: Not at all. It has very little to do with it. Because I know him so I can have more fun but nothing else. On screen we are playing characters with a director who has strong ideas of what he wants his characters to be. Knowing him and not knowing him would not have helped. What really helped was workshops with him, reading about the characters with him.
Q. Kartik, your statements have been called upon being by the public, what do you want to say about it?
Kartik: It happens everytime, I say something and it is misinterpreted. It is my fault only, I shouldn’t be left out to say anything randomly. This comment was done on a radio station where I was telling them that I had seen memes on some topics. It was just a discussion. I didn’t mean to hurt any sentiments. I am fun loving person.
Q. Do you think actors have to create a balance between creative liberty and being responsible?
Sara: For me, I just want to be part of the films that deserved to be told and play characters which are exciting to play. There are platforms to give special messages and if the social message is intrinsic to the film with a plotline then I will do it. But I am not here to make documentaries, I am here as an entertainer. The youth want to see relatable stories and become educated thinking population. So I would like to cater to them. But I don’t really carry the burden of messaging through myself. I will use a film, a script and a director to be able to take forward a social message.
Kartik: I am an entertainer butt sometimes the two things coincide because you are a role model for some. I would love to do both kinds of films, a film with a social message and another as an entertainer. But I won’t make any statement if I am not well informed about it.
BY RUJUTA THETE