Kartik Aaryan hopes 'Shehzada' strikes a chord with fans

The Bollywood star weighed in on his upcoming film, the love of audiences and taking risks in cinema on a recent visit to Dubai

By Sadiq Saleem

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Photos: M. Sajjad
Photos: M. Sajjad

Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 11:40 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 4:44 PM

Everything he touches, turns into gold. This matinee idol is consistently delivering blockbusters and his films changed the fate of cinema at a time when a lull loomed large in theatres.

If there is one man in the industry who is living the dream, then it has to be Kartik Aaryan. Having earned love and success through sheer talent with films like Freddy, Dhamaka and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, he is one of very few superstars who is delivering content and crores simultaneously.

His next release is Shehzada, which is a remake of the 2020 Telugu film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. The film also stars Kriti Sanon, Paresh Rawal and Manisha Koirala in pivotal roles. City Times caught up with the actor who was in Dubai recently to promote Shehzada, which he promises will be a ‘full-on entertainer.’

There is a saying that goes ‘success has many fathers…’ Would you agree to that in the context of Bollywood where everyone wants a piece of a star as long as he is successful?

Thankfully I don’t have any who can claim that I am what I am because of them. In my journey, there are so many people who gave me opportunities and who believed in my talent even when I was new and did not come from a film background. They are the ones who took a leap of faith, and I am happy to share my success with them.

You are sharing the screen with Manisha Koirala who was a 90s superstar. Do you feel that the concept of superstardom has changed over the years?

No matter which era one belongs to, it has always been difficult to attain and maintain stardom. Years of hard work and passion are required before one reaches a level where an actor becomes a superstar. I cannot say that those who came before us had it easier, neither I can say that our time is difficult. Success has come to only those who have worked hard for it and it shows in their work as well.

Your recent films have found huge success critically and commercially as mass entertainers. Would you want to continue in the same vein or would you still want to experiment like you did with Freddy?

I am so thankful that Freddy came my way. It was a great opportunity and wherever I go, I get asked about it. I was able to shock the audience and as an artist I would like to give my audience a little bit of an unexpected thrill. Also, as actor I would like to experiment with films that add to my filmography and Freddy did just that.

With the influx of OTT, do you feel that cinema will eventually become a thing of the past? Are you ready for such a big change?

I would like to ask - why can’t OTT and Cinema survive together? It should be OTT ‘and’ cinema not ‘either-or.’ They are both great sources of entertainment. Both the mediums have brought out great talents and have shed light on actors that never got the limelight. I realized the power of OTT after Freddy started to stream on OTT. The reach was global, and your work reaches the audiences much faster.

Of course, the thrill and nervousness attached to a theatrical release have their own set of perks. But both are strong avenues for an actor and the medium really doesn’t matter these days. Your work is reaching out and that is what makes the difference.

Aaryan promoted his upcoming film 'Shehzada' in Dubai recently
Aaryan promoted his upcoming film 'Shehzada' in Dubai recently

It is said that, in Bollywood an actor becomes a star only after becoming an action hero. Would it be right to call Shehzada an action film?

The film surely has a lot of high voltage action scenes, and it is for the first time I have attempted it. But, Shehzada also has a lot of drama and family emotions which we have not yet revealed through the trailer.

I personally love doing emotional sequences and contrary to the common belief, I am fond of emotional roles more than comedy. I love to make people cry, because if they shed a tear after watching you perform, you surely have touched them on a personal level.

You have quite a presence on social media. Do you feel the pressure of constantly updating it for engagement?

I love social media but sometimes it takes away a lot of energy. It is so engaging, and you don’t even realize that you have been on it for so long. I am so addicted that it has become part of my life and I cannot even explain how that happened.

Allu Arjun, who played the lead in Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, is a hugely popular star. Do you fear the inevitable comparisons?

You cannot avoid that even if you want to. Allu is a huge star and he has done a great job. Comparisons will always be there and people will draw parallels.

I have done my bit in the film and I have tried to portray the role of Bantu according to my thought process. I am sure that audiences will see Kartik as Bantu.

Do you think Bollywood films are being over-analyzed in today’s age?

For me what matters is that people are going and watching the film. If they wish to analyze it or dissect it, then they are most welcome to do so. I am also happy if they don’t get into it in the aftermath. But they must go and see the film. That’s what matters the most.

Like many stars have confessed, do you have the fear of anonymity? Has that demon ever driven you?

I think every human who has tasted success will have the fear of losing it. I am human and I also have emotions; hence, I also fear the day when there wouldn’t be applause when I enter the room and people do not remember me for my last film.

Having said that, I am willing to work two hundred percent to ensure that I am deserving of all the love that has come my way and do not take it for granted. I feel I have a very special connection with my fans and the amount of love I receive is unfathomable. I fear losing that love the most.

Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment writer. His Instagram handle is @sadiqidas


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