Sonam Kapoor
A day before she collects her National Award title, Sonam talks about the win; says she wants to experiment with roles
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; May 3, 2017)

As Sonam Kapoor readies to pick up her first National Award for Neerja (2016) today, she looks back at her decadelong career in Bollywood so far with a sense of satisfaction. “I have had a turtle’s journey so far. There is no pressure to up the ante, but yes, I will do films that are impactful,” she says.

Sonam asserts she is open to smaller roles that make an impact. “I don’t want to play only lead or titular parts. I want to do projects that have something to say beyond just being entertaining, films like Dutt biopic and Padman, which entertain and yet, are all heart. I’d love to be a vain actor, but it’s important to work with men like R Balki [Padman director] and Raju Hirani [Dutt biopic director],” she adds.

After an emotionally-draining week with her grandmother passing away, Sonam is trying her best to chin up. “I was in Beirut when the news came; getting a flight back was impossible. It has been hectic all week. The rehearsals [for the National Awards ceremony] are making it feel more real. I am grateful for the honour, but it is eventually Neerja [Bhanot]’s blessings and her mother’s.”

At an awards show earlier this year, Sonam had told mediapersons on the red carpet that she won’t win a trophy that night, reopening the debate on credibility of award functions. “Usually, at such events, you get an idea whether you are winning or not. Only a few awards are authentic in this country. Even when I have known I wasn’t winning, I have sportingly gone and cheered for my colleagues.”

Being recognised by the National Awards jury was something she hadn’t expected at all. “I was privileged enough to be acknowledged for something I gave my heart and soul to. Neerja was about celebrating a strong woman’s spirit in today’s world that’s all about survival of the fittest. With this film, I am ready to walk any red carpet to celebrate what it stood for, even without an award. The film itself was my biggest award; the National Award is a cherry on top. Ram [Madhvani, director], and my parents wanted me to win, more than I did.”

Ask her if it’s a cue for her to stop taking up roles just for the fun of it and she retorts, “No role is frivolous. I am never going to do stop doing films like Khoobsurat (2014). It had a lot to say about women who are expected to change themselves for society. I am a misfit and proud to be so. No one needs to change to win someone’s love, even if it’s Fawad ‘handsome’ Khan [Khoobsurat co- star]. For someone falling in love with me, it’s his privilege.”