Shraddha Kapoor rubbishes rumours that she is dating Farhan Akhtar, admits that the Saina Nehwal biopic will be her toughest film till date
Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 2, 2017)

In a shimmering silver dress, Shraddha Kapoor looks relaxed as we lounge in a suburban studio. In March she wrapped up Apoorva Lakhia’s Haseena: The Queen of Mumbai in which she plays Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar and has just announced a second biopic on badminton ace Saina Nehwal to be directed by Amole Gupte. Her biggest Haseena Parkar-related grouse is that while she was able to pump up her cheeks, add layers of fat around her stomach and hips, her arms remained skinny. “Everyone has their own body type,” she pouts. “But at least I could eat what I wished and not have to work out.”

Saina’s story, while at the other end of the spectrum from the lady don, is equally exciting as Shraddha was a good athlete in school and played everything from football, basketball and handball to long jump and high jump. “I also played badminton and I’m thrilled that in my quest to be the former World No. 1 and a youth icon, I’ll get to train in the sport again. I’m sure it’s going to be my most difficult film yet as Saina has spent her whole life playing badminton and in the next few months, I have to get close to the standards she’s set,” says the 30-year old actress who trained in basketball for about a month with National Basketball Association (NBA) coaches for Half Girlfriend.

Prep for Amole’s biopic starts soon after the release of Mohit Suri’s screen adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s 2014 novel by the same name. Shraddha plans to spend a lot of time with Saina and learn everything about her. She’s equally kicked about working with Amole whose comedy-drama Stanley Ka Dabba she loved. “He has fabulous energy and so much love to give. Such people are rare,” she raves.

She recently met the original Aashiqui girl, Anu Aggarwal, when Vishesh Films turned 30. She adds that Anu was really sweet and she has heard that Aashiqui 3 is in the pipeline but no one has approached her. “The Bhatts are the masters of the Aashiqui series, they should keep making it. I’m told Alia (Bhatt) and Sidharth (Malhotra) are doing it, I don’t know how true this is as neither have mentioned the film to me,” she shrugs.

She recently reunited with her Aashiqui 2 director and admits that whenever Mohit offers her a film she gives the nod without even listening to the story because she believes he will always give a memorable film and character. “He is like family. Our equation is something only the two of us understand and I really value this connection. He is a really good friend. Aashiqui 2 changed everything for Aditya (Roy Kapur) and me,” she says.

How did she react to rumours that she was seeing Mohit soon after the release of Aashiqui 2? “Were there any such rumours? I haven’t heard. I choose to ignore such questions,” she snaps. She’s also being linked to her Rock On 2 co-star, Farhan Akhtar, with reports suggesting that she has moved in with the 43-year-old, recently divorced actor-filmmaker, which has upset her father Shakti Kapoor. “The level of fiction can go to incredible heights. I choose to ignore them and just focus on my work,” she retorts. So, is Farhan a friend? “Yes,” she says shortly.

Meanwhile, her brother, Siddhanth, and her Half Girlfriend costar, Arjun Kapoor, are good friends but she got to know Arjun better while shooting for their romanticdrama. “Arjun is very respectful and likes to make people comfortable. I like that quality about him, his sense of humour and the effort he has put into his performance,” she gushes.

Shraddha’s character, Riya Somani is a poor little rich girl who is looking for happiness. “She has shut out love from her life because she is afraid to commit herself. That’s why she insists she’s Arjun’s half girlfriend. I never want to be like that. I want to believe in love. But I understand that certain experiences can make girls like Riya wary,” she reasons.

Has she read Chetan’s novel? “I started reading it but Mohit asked me not to as he has made some changes. He asked me to read the script instead,” she informs, adding that the film will be remembered for the 15 basketball classes she took, each of two-three hours duration. “I like the sport, I played it in school but then I was always a substitute and only called when one of the players were injured,” she laughs.