Though Love Aaj Kal didn’t ring in the registers like his other films, that doesn’t dampen his fan base. His six-minute monologue in Pyaar ka Punchnama won him his applause, and huge popularity among his lady fans. His Instagram canvas is colourful and has the who’s who on his page. This young, hot and happening heart throb has always played the urban cool guy, in real life though, comes from the small town of Gwalior with big dreams to succeed in Bollywood. To reach his dream city, after high school, he craftily sought out colleges in Mumbai to pursue engineering, looking for ways to be close to Bollywood and try his luck there. Kartik Aaryan speaks to Manju Ramanan on his journey to B Town, his girl-fan base, his next film with Jacqueline Fernandez and how being a small towner actually helps him.
From Gwalior to Mumbai, from engineering to acting, how did you make the leap?
Acting was always what I wanted to do. In Gwalior though, that wasn’t possible. I come from an academically inclined family with both my parents being doctors and acting wasn’t really considered a profession. I completed my school and purposely applied to engineering colleges in Mumbai so that I could be close to the Hindi film industry. I eventually became a biotechnology student of DY Patil College of Medicine.
I bunked classes all the time and spent all my time and money in auditioning for roles. My parents didn’t know of my passion. They kept wondering why am I failing in my subjects? During my viva, my botany teacher of three years called me to her room and said that she would pass me if I answered one question. The question was, I had to guess her name (Laughs). “I had no clue who she was since I never attended class. I said sorry ma’am ’I don’t know. She would have gotten even more angry if I threw anyone’s else’s name just to wriggle out of the situation. It was that bad. I completed my engineering after two of my films”. People were taking selfies during my exam. (Laughs)
The monologue trend..
The monologue was done in one shot. Pyaar ka Punchnama 1 was shot in film and not digital, so we were saving money. In Pyaar ka Punchnama 2, we were shooting in digital. I did a 12-minute monologue but was cut into 7 and a half minutes. That was long too.
Small towners make is big in Bollywood?
Yes, they do. They crave for more because they are brought up in surroundings that aren’t like cities. So, it is natural to get attracted to them. I wanted success and was willing to work my hardest for it. One advantage that small towners have is the relatability factor. Most of India lives in small towns and villages and when people see a character like that they identify themselves easily. The relatability makes the connection. You appeal to the masses because you talk like them and it makes it all believable. Priyanka Chopra is the biggest example.
I look up to…
I love Shahrukh Khan. I simply love him. When I came to Mumbai for the first time, I landed outside his house Mannat near Bandstand like a lot of people do, to catch a glimpse of him. It was a Sunday and it was the time of darshan. He stepped out in his car and drove somewhere. It was an experience for me. When I met him, I was tongue-tied. One day though, I will tell him this. (Laughs).
Have you been Sonu in anyone’s life?
Yes of course. I have been that guy in certain situations. Sonu is street smart and wants to save his friend from his girl-friend, who he thinks is a gold digger. But in real life, I think I need a Sonu at times (laughs)
Your film Lukka Chuppi was shot in your hometown?
Yes, it was. It was home terrain. I felt that my life came full circle there. These were the gulleys and, mohallas that I wandered and dreamt of making it big in Bollywood and here I was shooting there. It has been my fastest film till date and it was great showing the crew around. On weekend I could get home-cooked food to them. It is a desi-role in a romcom opposite Kriti Sanon. I played a reporter. It is unlike any urbane roles I have played till date. There is also a remake of the Telugu film Kirik Party where I am playing the lead opposite Jacqueline Fernandez.
Success and change?
Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety changed a lot of things for me. The year 2018 changed my life. People take you more seriously after you have delivered a hit.
Mr Amitabh Bachchan complimented you?
I was shell-shocked. I called my mother who is his hugest fan and told her that he had praised my work during one of his interviews and she jumped with joy. I haven’t met him but that he knows I exist and has praised my work is big for me. Big!
You have a huge girl-fan base. Tell us about your craziest fan?
There was this girl who arrived at my doorstep with a photo frame that had a photoshopped picture of me and her as if we were just married. She had also carried a mangalsutra with her a. She would come daily wishing to meet me and waited outside my house and so I decided to meet her one day. She started crying and begged me to marry her. I sat her down, gave her a glass of water and spoke to her before she was led away.
Your ideal girl-friend?
She should trust me and respect what I do. Respect the space I am in. I love food and I love people who talk a lot. I love girls who chit-chat and those who can hold a good conversation. Yes, a sense of humour is most attractive in a woman.
Sports and I
I love cricket and I play football. I love Virat Kohli after Sachin Tendulkar. I like Kohli’s attitude, his personality and his competitiveness. Maybe because I am a Scorpio (Kartik Aaryan is born today on November 22nd). I am very good at Table Tennis too! I am all about gym and work outs as well.
Are you a foodie?
Yes, I am and I can cook too. I cannot diet even if I try. So, I eat and then burn. I am a vegetarian and I relish good Indian food but I also love spaghetti and noodles etc. If I were to whip up something special for someone, I would make her Chinese noodles, chocolate waffle and yes, I can bake a cake really well. I will then write a note on that cake and make the person feel really special. My dad loves cooking too and guess my mom has trained us both very well (laughs).
Tell us about your family?
My dad is my biggest fan and my mother is worried for me like a lot of mothers are. My younger sister though treats my stardom like she would treat any other profession. But her college friends are constantly pressurizing her to connect me to them. So, she does Facetime with me during college and I speak to all her friends (laughs). I am planning to move my parents with me to Mumbai. I really miss them.
What are your memories of Dubai?
I was there with my parents for TOIFA and they were really proud of me. Or I have come here to be with friends just chilling. I like its vibrant culture and the kind of support Dubai has given to the Hindi film industry.
Any memories of your struggling days?
Yes, I shared a home with 12 guys. We were 4 people I one room. I didn’t have money those days and Mumbai is an expensive city. We were all strugglers from the Hindi film industry. I stayed there for 3 years. I will never forget those days.
What kept you going?
I am determined. Even if I was rejected, I always felt it was the employer’s loss. That kept me going. It is natural to feel sad but it is imperative to snap out of that mood and move on. I kept working on myself and that confidence keeps you going. I believe in God but I am not superstitious. And Hindi films have great inspirational dialogues. Jis Cheez ko Shiddat se chaho…. (Laughs)