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09 December 2023

People thought I was using Anil Kapoor to get roles: Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor is playing a con bride who dupes grooms out of their loot in her latest film ‘Dolly Ki Doli’. (AFP)

By Bindu Rai

As an actress who invited the wrath of critics after her debut in the disastrous ‘Sawaariya’, Sonam Kapoor is finally having the last laugh nearly eight years later as ‘Dolly Ki Doli’ opens to favourable reviews, with the most circulated accolade of them all coming from contemporary Anushka Sharma.

“Anushka Sharma is a dear friend; as is Jacqueline Fernandez. They always stand by me for support when it’s needed,” says the 29-year-old starlet.

Kapoor, who’s also ‘ecstatic’ over bagging a Filmfare Best Actress nomination for 2014’s ‘Khoobsurat’, which she has co-produced with her sister Rhea, confesses she’s confident she won’t win this year, but will still attend the awards to cheer on her contemporaries.

Cynics could blow holes in this line of thought, especially since Kapoor has had several high-profile clashes in the press with contemporaries such as Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone; Ranaut is also a frontrunner this year as Best Actress for her role in ‘Queen’.

Candidly quiz Kapoor and she says: “I think it is so important to go and encourage everyone, especially  with the kind of work we are now getting in Bollywood. You see the performances of last year. They were ridiculously amazing, especially female actors.

“We had ‘Queen’, ‘Highway’, ‘Mardaani’, ‘Mary Kom’ and dare I say, ‘Khooburat’. They are all hit films as well. It is very important to go and cheer these people on.”

Speaking further on the credibility of such award functions in Bollywood today, where it appears like every popular actor is walking away with a statuette, whether deserving or not, Kapoor adds: “The nominations I see in Filmfare every year are the most honest I see compared to other award shows. So, I am going to be there. And excited. Even though I know I am not going to win.

“Either Kangana or Rani will I know. They had the better performances. But it is exciting to be among those women.

“I know there’s a lot of cynicism where awards are concerned. But I am from that school of thought, if you go earnestly, eventually the proceedings become honest and clean. So I will go in my ridiculous gown and jump up and down like a child.”

Career criticism

With 12 films to date, Kapoor faced a lot of criticism at the start of her Bollywood on-screen innings after her 2007 debut, following which she had a string of misses except for the Karan Johar production in 2010, ‘I Hate Luv Storys’.

However, all that changed for the actor in 2013 when ‘Raanjhanaa’ emerged as the sleeper hit of the year. And part of this credit is given to her actor father, Anil Kapoor.

Speak to Kapoor of her struggle in the very public limelight, and she says: “I made the mistake earlier. I was 20-years-old when I started acting and 22 years when the film released. All everyone said was, ‘she’s been born with a silver spoon and she’s around because of her father’.

“So, in my ego, I became upset and because of it and I wouldn’t even ask my dad a single question that was career related. People thought I was using Anil Kapoor to get roles and I forgot everything else, and the main thing, that he’s not just a movie star but also my dad.”

Kapoor continues: “A couple of years back, when I reached mid-20s, and I was slightly older and wiser, I started to use his advice. I realised my sister and my brother benefit from it, why not me?

“Dad’s been around here for years and still going strong. There’s got to be some wisdom behind it right?

“So now, since ‘Ranjhanaa’, every film that I approve of will be handed over to my father to read, including ‘Dolly Ki Doli’. Now, including my personal life, I turn to him for advice. As a friend. As a dad. As my boss, considering he has the final say in writing cheques for our production house.”

Quiz her if she’s imparting of this knowledge to her brother Harshvardhan who is making his film debut this year, she says: “Harsh is really smart. He does everything after asking my dad. For some strange reason, I am treated like the youngest one in the house even if I am oldest. They don’t think I will give them the right advice.”

In her latest film, Kapoor is playing a con bride who dupes grooms out of their loot. The actress is said to have dressed up 15 times as a bride in ‘Dolly Ki Doli’.

Quiz her if the get-up gave her ideas of her own marriage some day and the fashionista says: “I’m going to wear a cotton sari and get married. I’m so fed up of dressing up.”

Promptly laughing, she adds: “I’m joking! This character made me realise how uncomfortable wedding clothes can be. All I know is that I will stick to my Punjabi roots and have a big fat wedding when I get married. I don’t think dad will be happy. He has said this a 100 times he doesn’t want me to get married. He loves his daughter too much.”