'I want to be the number one choice of every filmmaker'
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Puja Talwar
Kartik Aaryan has emerged as one of the most sought after and bankable stars in the film industry. His affable charm and quick wit make him the current matinee idol of the masses. "I won’t settle for anything less than a blockbuster, least I can get is a blockbuster," says the actor matter of factly as he promotes his next Shehzada which also credits him as producer.
By his own admission he thrives on promotions, calling it a ‘ground reality check’. "I love promoting my films and get my energy from meeting people. I want to know whether they are like my work, are they happy watching me and are they getting entertained. What are their expectations from me, so I am constantly making the effort to connect, it’s important for me."
I recall my first meeting with him in 2018, just days after the release of Sonu Ke Teetu Ki Sweety. The film which finally brought him into the spotlight. No manager or publicist accompanied this young man, as he eagerly reached out to promote his film. The hunger was visible, since he had already been there for seven years and was yet to make his presence felt.
However five years later a lot has changed. His sweeping entourage clears the way as paps and fans jostle to catch a glimpse of him. "For someone whose presence was disregarded and went unnoticed for long, you cannot ignore my presence now", he admits nonchalantly.
A difficult journey but worth it
An enviable roster of films, Luka Chuppi ( 2019) Pati Patni Aur Woh ( 2020) and his last Bhool Bhuliayan (2022) being his biggest till date, he hopes with Shehazada he can further solidify his position in the industry. "It’s never easy to be in that situation, sometimes it builds a lot of pressure. But, I would not want it any other way. More than pressure I would say it’s my strong sense of self belief, which has been intact since the day I entered this industry and before. In my heart I know I’m worth it", he says with his characteristic laugh.
Bollywood’s haloed corridors and those who walk its gilded floors have less than often been welcoming of the so called ‘outsiders’. No powerful surname, no godfather and not even a peripheral member at any of the camps or cliques, Kartik Aaryan made it on his own terms, a journey he wears as a badge of honour.
"It’s been a difficult journey, it is very difficult to make your own name, not just here but everywhere. But, it was difficult here since I was never part of the same room. I had to stand in que to just get into one of the ten rooms that would lead you to the main room, whereas a lot of people would just skip the line and get access.
I have been signed for films only to be dropped for someone who didn’t even audition. I am happy to have experienced it and proud of it. It’s given me the ability to see through everything as well as enriched my knowledge about cinema. Had I had everything from before I doubt I would have been all that perceptive. Maybe I would just have been lazy and entitled. I am happy I had it in the most difficult way possible," he says in all seriousness.
‘I have not changed at all’
The engineering student from Gwalior who is now B town's most top billed star does not take his stardom lightly. His rooted and real appeal being a huge draw and his story of aspiration being an inspiration for many.
"I have not changed at all, I am still the same. Yes, maybe the attitude of those around me may have changed. It’s a very blurred line between the real me and the star me. I am the same boy who arrived from Gwalior, who still calls his mother once a day despite my schedule and uphold the values ingrained by my family."
A trait that one notices in Kartik is his calm composure and being unfazed despite the twists and turns that accompany a career in showbiz. His infamous falling out with filmmaker Karan Johar made headlines after he was dropped from the latter’s Dostana 2 and was called out for being unprofessional. Kartik continues to maintain a stoic silence on the same, even when he has been the subject of ridicule.
"I keep my reactions to myself, why should I fuel the fire? Also I feel when you react to negativity you are only empowering them. I stay away from negativity and anything that would disempower me."
Though he laughs saying it would be worrisome if something was not written about him. "It’s a good problem to have. They can say whatever about me, as long as they don’t involve my family," he says strongly.
‘I am very much single’
His personal life which has been subject to constant scrutiny, his link up with co stars Sara Ali Khan, Jhanvi Kapoor have been fodder to tabloids. "I am very much single," he says with a laugh. So who does he think would be a perfect match for Bollywood’s most eligible bachelor?
"Anyone who loves me unconditionally as much as Katori ( his pet dog)," he says with a guffaw. "I think the frequency should match, sense of humour is important for me and someone I can have a conversation with and spend time with. It’s important to respect each other and that’s more than enough for me," he says with a smile.