The success of romantic drama Aashiqui 2 catapulted Shraddha Kapoor into the top bracket of Bollywood.
She has made full use of that popularity by signing high-profile projects that have shown off her impressive range as an actress. Shraddha demonstrated her singing ability in Ek Villain and in this week’s big Bollywood release ABCD2, the rapidly rising star will be showcasing her dynamite dance moves.
The Rema D’Souza-directed film is the second installment in the popular franchise and is based on the story of a real-life dance group from a suburb of Mumbai which worked its way towards competing in an international tournament in the US. She stars alongside Varun Dhawan in a film that promises some of the most explosive dance choreography of the year.
Eastern Eye caught up with Shraddha to talk about ABCD 2, her character, dance, high expectations and inspirations.
You must be happy about being so much in demand right now?
(Smiles) Thank you so much for saying that, Asjad. Well, I feel really fortunate to be a part of the films that I am getting to be a part of. I’m very excited to be a part of ABCD2, which is a dance film. It is the first time that I’m dancing like this. It is up for release and I’ve got butterflies going on as well, so am only thinking about this film right now.
What did you like about ABCD2?
You know, I was very excited to be dancing, but once I read the script, I was really excited about the story. The fact that it’s a true story about the journey of dancers from Nallasupara (Mumbai suburb) who have a dream and their struggles to make it big and make their dream come true, was the most thrilling part for me.
Tell us about your character in particular?
I play the role of Vinnie who is a hairstylist, but she also has this crazy love for dance. She is always up for dancing, is very excited and extremely enthusiastic. She’s the only girl in the group of men when the journey starts off, so she is treated like one of the boys. She is a bit of a tomboy as well, actually.
Is this the most physically demanding film that you have done so far?
Yes, that’s true. This has been the most physically demanding film for me. Remo sir wanted us to physically transform and look like dancers. You know, dancers tend to be leaner and have a thinner, more lithe type of body shape. He wanted us to look like that. He didn’t want us to look ripped and pumped, so we had to work out according to that. We did a lot of rehearsals so the dancing made us look like that.
I feel like I have transformed physically and you can see that in the song Sun Sathyia. You know, I didn’t even realise my body was changing like that. I felt a lot stronger. So as long as we look like dancers, that is exactly what he wanted us to be like. So yes, it was the most physically challenging film I’ve done so far.
Being around so many dancers, including your director Remo D’Souza and co-star Prabhu Deva, must have really helped?
It did. Remo sir is the director and Prabhu sir plays our mentor in the film, so it was a great learning experience. We also have a whole bunch of other very talented dancers, including co-stars and supporting artists who have done a superb job. They are playing characters who are dancers, including team members of our dance group. During preparations Remo sir would tell us to spend time with these dancers and try to get whatever inspiration we could and adapt to their styles. So it was a great experience being around so much dance talent.
You have been friends with him for a long time, but what was it like to have Varun Dhawan as a leading man?
He is very passionate, he is very driven, he is very enthusiastic and very particular. He thinks about the film and thinks about everybody around him. He is a very happy person and he spreads that positive energy around him.
What was the biggest challenge for you, the dancing or the performance?
The whole journey actually provided different challenges, right from preparing physically to getting into the character of a dancer. That was challenging because I have never danced before in any of my films and there had to be that connectivity to my character who is a dancer. So I had to think like a dancer and had to behave like one, so that is where my motivation for dance came from. But the fact that I was playing a dancer was extremely exciting for me more than challenging.
With your singing and now with your dancing, are you secretly training to be a pop star?
(Laughs) Yes you are right, it could look like that couldn’t it? I have been a very big Britney Spears, Beyonce and Rihanna fan, so you never know. I love them, I love singing and I love dancing, so that is a very good idea.
Is singing something you will be pursuing?
I would love to. I will get to sing in Rock On 2, which is my next film, and I’m really excited about that.
What are your biggest passions away from work right now?
Acting is something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a little girl, so it’s not like a 9-5 job for me per se. It’s a very exciting job to have because you get to play various characters and are able to live so many different lives. It gives you such a great adrenaline rush. So that is enough for me right now and is my biggest passion.
You are becoming somewhat of a style icon. What is your biggest fashion passion?
(Laughs) Quite frankly, I am a little bit of a lazy dresser. I do like dressing up when I have to and enjoy it, but jeans are definitely my best friend and what I am happiest in.
Expectations surrounding you are increasing with each film. How are you handling the pressure?
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I just want to continue working hard and wish I get to be a part of more great films in the future. That would be really nice. I’m not going to think about anything else like expectations and just focus on working hard.
What inspires you?
Right now what inspires me is my new film ABCD2. But what inspires me in life is the fact that people believe in me, make me part of their vision and take me into their films. That is really exciting.
You are always ice cool, but what stresses you out or gets you angry?
(Laughs) Yes, I can come across as very relaxed. But sometimes even I don’t know that I’m stressed out and people around me will make a point of telling me when I’m getting stressed, so it does happen.
I am going to watch ABCD2 because you’re in it, but why should everybody else watch it?
Thanks so much. You should take your family and all your friends to watch it with you. Why everybody else should watch it is because it’s got dance and it’s got an amazing journey of real dancers, which I feel will be very exciting to see. I believe that a lot of people will be able to relate to the journey the dancers go on, the struggles they go through to realise their dreams.
Finally, would you like to give us a message for your fans?
I love all the fan clubs. They are all so adorable and so very sweet. I really wish I could meet all of them and I wish I could tweet every single one of them, and give all of them a giant hug. I read all the tweets and they give me so much love, so much encouragement and so much warmth. It’s the best feeling in the world. All of you please go and watch the film and I really hope you like it.
ABCD2 is in cinemas now.