Chit Chat

I don’t need a tall, dark and handsome man: Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor, 27, is content living in her own world of books and films. She is idealistic and considers herself an idiot when it comes to judging people or matters of money, where she listens only to her best friend and sister Rhea. After ‘Saawariya’, she had lost her way but seems to have finally found it back with her upcoming film ‘Raanjhanaa’. Over an hour- long conversation, she talks to TOI about her idealistic father, her favourite cousin Arjun and why she would not date a married man ever. Excerpts:

Was being a part of Bollywood your obvious career choice?
We lived in Chembur when I was born and my parents named me Sonam, which means lucky. I was a month old when my parents moved to our current Juhu house and my dad became a huge star. We had only one apartment at that time with just one room furnished. With time, my dad built the entire house. I studied at Arya Vidya Mandir, which was a five-minute walk from our house and I would walk to school every day. My mom wanted us to have a normal childhood and we did not even get film magazines at home. I went to a boarding school in Singapore for my +2 where I studied theatre and arts and realised I wanted to become a director and writer. When I returned to India, our family friend Rani Mukerji, who I really love, was about to shoot Black with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I loved his aesthetics and started assisting him on Black and, while I was assisting him, he said he wanted to cast me in his film and started training me. Prior to Black, I had been on a film set only once — for my father’s film Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja. After that, I trained under Roshan Taneja sahab, Jayati Bhatia and Feroz Abbas Khan, who trained me and were instrumental in me becoming an actor. I did my first film Saawariya, loved acting and knew that I would be acting till I die.

You are an avid reader. Has reading books impacted your personality?
My mom would always read a book to me at night from when I was three. Now, I can’t go to sleep without reading a book. At the same time, once I read, it’s difficult for me to go to sleep as I have an overactive imagination and I start thinking. I am a fast reader and an early riser. Every night and every morning I have to read and have dark circles and bad eyesight because of that. Since I only studied till the 12th, reading also became my way of balancing my education. I like reading both love stories and literature. Reading has made me more open, has improved my understanding and has made me a better artiste, but it also makes me live in my own bubble. My mom keeps asking me, ‘What do you read in that room the whole day?’ Once I am into a book, I will finish it. For me, a holiday is about taking a book and going to a mountain and reading. Books have also ruined me and made me extremely idealistic as I look at the world as black and white and cannot compromise vis-a-vis people or ideals. Books have also made me honest and ethical.

Do you have friends in the industry?
Yes I have friends and they are heroines. Jacqueline Fernandez, Asin, Kareena and Shehla Khan are my friends. Kareena is real and says it the way it is, Jacky and Asin are fun and we gossip with each other. Shehla is my soulmate and we have been friends since we were teenagers and are both interested in books and old songs. Also Imran Khan and now after Raanjhanaa, Dhanush, are my friends.

What is Dhanush like?
He is amazing and is humble and honest. He is constantly flummoxed by me being sophisticated and yet normal. He tells me there are two you’s. One that uses big English words and the other who is a normal girl, who likes her dog and her grandmother and street food and likes to be barefoot all the time. I like the fact that he is soft-spoken, has a clear mind and is a thorough gentleman. I have never felt uncomfortable with him. We are friends, but there is this line that is drawn which is great and I like that. He is intelligent and reads a lot and, again, we discuss music and books.

Have you ever dated your co-star?
All my co-stars except Ranbir have been married or hooked be it Abhishek, Imran, Abhay or Dhanush. I would never do that to another woman as I feel it’s bad karma and extremely callous. Even when I was shooting Saawariya, I was single.

Let’s talk about your relationship with your cousin Arjun Kapoor?
Arjun and me were born just 15 days apart and I am extremely attached to him. He is overtly sensitive and is a good son to his father, was a good son to his mom and is a good brother. He is a good grandson as well. For someone who has had such a hard life, it takes a lot to be not messed up. He is sorted and is a good person.

Who are you most attached to?
I am mentally strong, but physically I’m constantly unwell. I internalise a lot of things and if something stresses me or disturbs me, I don’t talk about it and make myself sick with it. My mom gets that whereas my dad tries to protect me from that. He can’t take my feeling upset, while my mom can talk about it to me. My sister Rhea is my best friend and while I am most attached to my mother, the person who I respect the most in my family who is intelligent and logically has my best interest in mind, is my sister. I don’t take a step without asking her. She is extremely bright and is way smarter and sharper than I am. I am more intellectual and more philosophical. But she understands money, people and investments. She judges people better and has hated all my three boyfriends so far. I am an idiot. I have read all these stupid books that make me live in this fairytale world and can find romance even in a Tarantino film. Also I give so much of my emotion into acting that I don’t think anyone has ever made me fall in love with them completely so far.

Have you been heartbroken?
Not heartbroken, but let down. I am an extremely loyal and a giving person. I don’t need a tall, dark and handsome man, but he needs to be principled and honest, who knows the difference between right and wrong. My consistent breaking point in relationships is that I expect him to be an idealistic person. That’s why I have always been the one breaking my relationships. I move on quite fast and start weaning myself away six months before I break up. I don’t know when, but I would like to get married and have babies.

Who do you idealise in your life?
My father. He is dedicated to his family and his work and has lived a life that is extremely pure. It may sound old-fashioned but, like my nani says, it is difficult to find a man like him in kalyug.

Let’s talk about your father?
I can call him in the middle of the night and stress him out and he will be there for me. The best thing I like about my father is how much he loves my mother. The other day he asked me, ‘Beta when did The Exorcist release in London? That’s the day I held your mother’s hand’ or he will tell me, ‘Don’t talk to your mom about work as she stresses out too much and I don’t want her to fall sick. You talk to me about it.’ He is sensitive about her and speaks to her a 100 times through the day. He still thinks that he struck gold as far as my mom is concerned. I find it amazing and feel that a man is a real man when he knows how to love his partner. We are treated like individuals. My parents come from middle-class backgrounds and have taught us the value of money or the importance of getting up early in the morning and have instilled strong work ethics within us. He is overprotective and paranoid and it’s frustrating that he never raises his voice. He will say, ‘I will go up and you decide what you want to do.’ I go to him for advice where my personal life is concerned as he is more liberal than my mother. He wants us to be friends with him, but I want to talk to him in a certain way and give him that respect as I have strong Indian values. After Saawariya, I lost my way in between, but I did not want to use my dad’s stardom to prop myself up as he has worked so hard for it and I don’t want to use him for anything. I want him to be my dad, not my stepping stone.


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