Arjun Kapoor - A Stellar Fusion of Talent and Charisma - Exhibit Tech Interviews

Arjun Kapoor – A Stellar Fusion of Talent and Charisma

Arjun Kapoor, the Ishaqzaada of Bollywood, is a cinematic maestro with a contemporary edge. His journey from the silver screen to the pulse of the new age is nothing short of captivating. In this exclusive interview, we drive beyond the ordinary frames and into the soul of the actor, exploring his perspectives on life, the digital age and the ever-evolving landscape of Indian cinema. So, get ready for an intimate rendezvous with the man who seamlessly blends modern allure with timeless charm.

Exhibit: How has technology influenced your journey in the film industry, from the early days in the Hindi cinema to marketing your movies? Are there any specific tech tools or platforms that have been instrumental in your success?

Arjun: When I commenced my career, filmmaking was not yet digital; it was in the process of transitioning. I believe I’ve been a part of that transformative journey, where we used to shoot on Kodak and Fujifilm, and now everything is digital. Consequently, the visual and audio aspects of filmmaking have undergone significant changes. The recording of sound, in particular, had a distinct quality back then, both in how it sounded and how it was perceived. Technologically, there has been a substantial evolution. VFX, which has become integral to cinema, especially in the last decade, has brought Indian cinema closer to the Western world. Marketing strategies have also evolved, shifting from traditional print media to a heavy reliance on social media, initially through platforms like Twitter and now predominantly through Instagram, though this may change in the future.
I feel that the pace of technological evolution is sometimes challenging to keep up with. It’s the ongoing journey for humanity, adapting to ever-evolving technology. While it has undoubtedly enhanced filmmaking and simplified marketing to connect with people, it has also introduced complications in terms of accessibility. The constant engagement in the digital realm has led to an overload of information, contrasting with the simplicity of having one or two touchpoints. Concerning filmmaking, technology has undoubtedly made the production of larger-than-life films more straightforward. However, I sense a slight reduction in the human touch, as there is a tendency to focus on massive stories while overlooking the importance of authentic human emotions.

Exhibit: How do you balance your presence on social media while maintaining a sense of privacy in the digital age? Tell us any tips or strategies you follow to protect your personal information and interact with your fans simultaneously.

Arjun: Recently, while I was shooting, I also took some time off from social media, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s very tough; I’ve had to psych myself up to do it. I started the new year with a goal to ensure I take enough breaks because I have an addictive personality. So, I need to question and check myself, and that’s what I did. I believe maintaining a sense of privacy is entirely up to you — what you want to share, post, or keep private. It’s a subjective matter. What you might consider private, I might find suitable for public consumption. It’s a personal choice, but you need to know your limits.

You don’t have to do something just because others are doing it. There are times when not much is happening in your life, and there’s no need to force a narrative to appear relevant. It’s an act, a facade, and it becomes tiresome after a while. Even when a lot is happening, you need to know when to tone it down, so you’re not overwhelming and irritating people. It’s something you have to figure out for yourself. My personal opinion has always been that “less is more.” It keeps people engaged and curious about you. It’s a tough balancing act, but I believe it’s the challenge every mainstream actor faces today — how to protect and present yourself while taking care of and nurturing yourself in privacy. Finding that balance is difficult. The generation after us might find it easier, having learned from our trial and error. We are the guinea pigs, figuring out how to strike that balance and make it work.

Exhibit: You’ve worked in different film genres, from comedy to thriller. How different is the experience, and which one do you enjoy more?

Arjun: Each genre brings its own highs, happiness, and excitement; selecting films feels like being a child in a candy store for me. I always look for new spaces to explore, avoiding repetition. While I haven’t done enough comedies, I’d like to delve into that genre more and enjoy that space. Action is always a lot of fun, but it depends on where you are in life. After an action film, you might want to relax with a comedy, and vice versa. It’s also influenced by directors, makers, and what inspires you at that point in your life, making the experience more enjoyable or interesting.

Arjun: How do you approach characters who have beliefs or behaviours drastically different from your own?

Exhibit: Well, it’s a character, so you have to agree to disagree. You have to let Arjun sit behind and be an observer. You cannot always bring your morals and scruples unless you relate to a character. For example, when you portray characters like Ki and Ka or Two-States, they are relatable, like you could meet people like Krish and Kabir. Then you might question what you would do if you were in their place. However, you don’t always need to align with them. As I said, you’re an actor, and that’s the whole fun. You get to be something you’re not, living vicariously through these roles. You have to set aside your moral compass because characters have their own actions and deeds. My first film, Ishaqzaade, taught me that. In my sequence with Parineeti, where I mistreat her completely, deciding to marry her and then making her realise on the first night of marriage that I just used her to humiliate her – it’s not something I correlate with at all.
I would never, even in my wildest dreams, imagine anybody doing that to anyone. It’s absolutely wrong, but that is the requirement of my character, Parma. His immaturity, arrogance, greed for proving a point, one-upmanship, and political power play blinded him to right or wrong. He saw an opportunity to completely destroy his opposition at that point in time. That’s not how I am; I don’t conduct myself in that way. I realised at a very early age when I started that you have to separate, segregate, and change your opinion when it comes to a character because Arjun might feel a certain way, but Parma doesn’t, and Parma and Arjun don’t come from the same thought processes.

Exhibit: You’ve undoubtedly had some incredible fan encounters. Can you share one of your most memorable or heartwarming fan experiences?

Arjun: Fan encounters are the most memorable or heartwarming experiences. There are so many; I mean, with fan clubs now, thanks to Instagram, they connect with you, touch base with you, and always engage with you. It’s heartwarming to know that people take time from their lives to follow everything you do. My ArjunZaades, as they are called, it’s always nice to meet all of them. It would be tough to pinpoint just one if I had to choose. For me, meeting Harshita, my first fan officially will always be emotionally etched in my memory. She followed me before my film was released and coined the term ArjunZaades. Sometimes, it’s just the simplest things. You could be sitting on a flight, and someone meets you, saying, “We saw Two States, and it’s exactly our life story.” Or you meet someone, and they say, “You did Ki and Ka, and now my wife always reminds me that I’ve got to help with chores at home.” Recently, I met a young girl obsessed with “Ek Villain Returns.” She doesn’t eat her food until she watches the Shamat song. Encounters like these touch you regularly. When we move out of our house and interact with fans, whether it’s fan clubs or just normal people who’ve consumed a film, like Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, meeting writers and directors who speak about their connection with your work, it’s tough to single out one specific thing. There are so many beautiful encounters I’ve had.

Exhibit: With the rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, there have been exciting opportunities for immersive storytelling and interactive entertainment. What are your thoughts on it’s impact on movie-making?

Arjun: Yes, of course, the digital space has created VR and AR, which will obviously lead to the rise of so many things, taking speed literally. It’s going to be fast, and people will be hungry to be entertained constantly because these augmented reality machines and virtual reality machines are going to become a daily part of life. You have to hold their engagement through the medium of cinema. But I always feel emotional storytelling, like connecting with somebody emotionally, no matter how boring it might sound. If there is a human story to tell, no matter how much technology exists, if you cannot connect with the heart, it’s going to be pointless. Growing with time is important, but you can’t leave the heart behind, and no film is going to work without the heart being in the right place. It’s definitely going to impact moviemaking in terms of making things complex and smoother at the same time, in terms of learning new technologies and using them to our advantage. But I just hope it doesn’t take away the storytelling.

Exhibit: Movies have the power to impact society and initiate change. Is there any particular social issue you feel passionately about and would like to address through your work in the future?

Arjun: Definitely, one of the main things I feel compelled to discuss is educational reforms. I would love to speak about how we can simplify the struggles students go through to access the best education possible. Our country has a bright future, incredible talent, and fantastic potential. However, I don’t think there have been enough films made about how we can encourage people to think differently. “12th Fail” was something very close to what I’m talking about, and I believe we need more films like that to inspire parents to be kinder to their kids and encourage them to pursue what they love. Take “3 Idiots,” for example; it resonated with me about finding a middle ground. So, it’s not necessarily a social reform or change, but it’s definitely a pressure in our lives that I would like to address when it comes to society. Another thing that I would like to talk about, apart from education, is corruption. I would love to do a film dealing with corruption because it’s an issue that constantly needs attention, considering the world is a tougher place to live in, and money makes the world go round. How do you stay righteous, and how do you resist going down the wrong path? It’s crucial to always connect with our audiences about the right versus the wrong, and corruption is something that always needs to be discussed in terms of reform.

Exhibit: How did gaming happen to you, how much of a gamer are you?

Arjun: My gaming journey began with Nintendo and Super Nintendo during my early childhood. I became captivated by collecting cartridges and playing games. The Game Boy, a portable device, further fueled my obsession. Super Mario, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat were always my favourites. Golden Eye on Nintendo 64, featuring James Bond, became a craze and a cult game. I also discovered a PC game that I’m addicted to called Football Manager. It’s not about playing football but rather managing a team. The Last of Us is another game that holds a special place in my heart. Recently, I’ve consciously reduced my gaming time due to its addictive nature—I used to play all night without realising it. Nevertheless, my love for football persists, making anything affiliated with it, be it PC’s Football Manager or PlayStation’s FIFA, a constant presence on my gaming list.

Quick Bytes:

What’s your go-to gadget for staying connected on the go?
Ans: I can’t survive without the phone and the AirPods, maybe the iPad mini now that I got obsessed with because the sizes were so small you can walk around with it.

What’s one thing your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Ans: I am an obsessive shopper. Whether it’s Tech or clothes, I’m obsessed with shopping. Also, I have a fear of ceiling fans. I think people who know me know that I don’t have any ceiling fans at home for that reason.

If your life was a Bollywood movie, what genre would it be, and what would the title be?
Ans: I would say a dramatic comedy, like a dramedy, like a slice-of-life kind of film and the title would be “Ajib Dastan Hai Yeh”.

What is the latest book/podcast that has influenced you?
Ans: I am obsessed with listening to Chelsea’s podcasts, and I have also been watching a show called “The Movies That Made Us”, in which people who made movies come and speak about the movies that inspired them to do movies.

What is your favourite workout playlist song?
Ans: Anything that comes with the name Daljit Dosanjh, he’s everybody’s favourite.

What are the latest tech buys that you have done?
Ans: I just changed the surround sound system in my house.

What’s the next car that your garage is waiting for?
Ans: No, no more cars. I would like to, but I don’t need more cars, so I’m very happy with what I have right now.

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