By: Eastern Eye Staff
Legendary filmmaker Mani Ratnam has directed a number of south Indian super-hits that have been remade as commercially successfully Bollywood films.
The first big Bollywood release of 2017, OK Jaanu is a remake of Ratnam’s 2015 romantic drama O Kadhal Kanmani. The Hindi language romance, which reunites Aashiqui 2 lead stars Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur, revolves around a live-in couple in Mumbai who have to weigh up love against their respective careers.
OK Jaanu is directed by Shaad Ali, who previously remade Ratnam’s Tamil film Alaipayuthey as blockbuster Bollywood romance Saathiya.
With a top team including acclaimed filmmakers Karan Johar and Mani Ratnam producing, it was no surprise Shraddha Kapoor enjoyed the experience of acting in OK Jaanu. The rising Bollywood star was in good spirits when Eastern Eye caught up with her to talk about the film, romance and more.
You are very much in-demand right now. How are you selecting your cinematic projects?
I feel extremely fortunate so many people are coming to offer me their scripts and films. I have been really lucky that my films have done well and been loved by audiences. I feel fortunate to have been a part of them. But for me, since day one and my first film, it has always been about the script and the story. qThat’s the main focus when selecting a project.
Do you think that the expectations around you are too high to soon?
(Smiles) I think everyone has expectations surrounding them in some way, and anybody who is going to watch a film also has them. Similarly, I would have expectations too as an audience member from my favourite actors and actresses. So yes, there is no escaping that and it is fine. I accepted there are expectations and I have tried my best to work hard each time. I just try to better myself from the last film I did.
Your film Aashiqui 2 was a blockbuster. How does it feel like returning to the romantic genre again with your new film OK Jaanu?
It was awesome. I really enjoy being a part of any film that has romance in it. It’s always a very interesting experience doing this genre.
With OK Jaanu, I get to do my second film with Aditya (Roy Kapur) after Aashiqui 2 and work with director Shaad Ali for the first time. I am a huge fan of his debut Saathiya and really liked the second film he directed too, Bunty Aur Babli. I am thrilled I got to be a part of this film and hope people like it.
OK Jaanu is a remake of smash-hit South Indian film O Kadhal Kanmani. How does it compare to the original?
It is a straight-up adaptation of the Tamil film, which has been adapted to Hindi cinema. When I saw the Tamil version, I completely fell in love with it. I was so happy that Shaad Ali thought I should play Nithya’s (Menen) role from the Tamil version. She is amazing and played the character of Tara so well. I loved the way the character is written and thought it was very interesting. I was very excited to play Tara.
For those that haven’t seen the original version, can you tell us about your character?
Like I said, my character in OK Jaanu is called Tara. She’s from Kanpur and is now based in Mumbai. She is pursuing architecture and is interning with one of the best firms in the city. She is an ambitious girl, very opinionated and extremely scared of getting married. She doesn’t want that at all. She is today’s girl.
Her views are pretty modernised. You can see from the trailer that his and her characters both know what they want. She doesn’t want to get married, but is okay to be in a live-in relationship. She’s very career-driven and not coy in any sense. (Laughs) Tara is a pretty daring girl, if you ask me.
What was it like teaming up with Aditya Roy Kapur again after Aashiqui 2?
It was really lovely. This time around we got to act opposite in a film with each other that is not so intense like how Aashiqui 2 was. Of course, that was an experience of a lifetime. This one is really special as well because the whole mood of the film is more playful and fun. It was nice to play the characters that we did and a departure from the intense movie that we did earlier.
What has been your favourite moment from OK Jaanu?
It’s always hard to choose a favourite moment from any of the projects that I’ve done, because I feel like every film is such a special journey in its own way. You end up spending days and months on a film. Those months of your life are just dedicated to being another character on screen. That has been the case with this film as well, which has been such a lovely journey as a whole.
You play romantic roles really well, but how romantic are you in real life?
Thank you so much for saying that, Asjad! (Laughs) I think I could be quite romantic, but I feel like any kind of relationship also requires a certain amount of time to develop and nurture it. But right now, quite frankly, my days are just consumed with filming.
So I feel like when I would be in a relationship, I do envision myself as being romantic. When I was growing up, I always had this idea of wanting a fairytale romance. I think that is how love should always be – it should be like a fairytale.
What qualities do you like in a guy?
I think I can answer it in a different way. If I feel comfortable enough to be myself around someone; that matters more to me. I think that is something that is really important to me. More than observing how the guy is, I would want to observe how I am around that person first.
Today what inspires you?
People that I meet every single day inspire me in some way or the other. The wonderful teams I get the opportunity to collaborate and work with inspire me because everyone is so passionate and driven when it comes to making a film. All the departments on a film set really.
I feel just being around them and shooting every single day inspires and thrills me. Of course, being actors we are more in the limelight than say maybe the ones who work behind the scenes, but we know first-hand just how hard they work. The director and the entire team who make a film really inspires me every single day. Be it the lighting, art or any other department.
Finally, do you want to give us a message for your fans?
I just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who has supported me and had my back. I hope to work even harder for you in the future. I hope to keep you entertained for as long as I can. I have immense love for everybody out there. I just hope everyone enjoys watching Hindi films more and more. Our industry needs the support from audiences to watch more of our movies, so I hope that happens.
Ok Jaanu is in cinemas on January 13