Ahead of her next release, Shraddha Kapoor responds to repeatedly being labelled the girl next door
The photographers present in the room scurry when a staffer announces that Shraddha Kapoor will arrive for a picture. "Kam se kam bees minute aur [She'll take at least another 20 minutes]," laments one. A few minutes later, a sprightly Shraddha walks in, using a staffer as shield to dash across the waiting room, eager to cut through the starry air that inevitably surrounds A-listers. The actress doesn't carry the self-important aura that deters a greeting. She in fact, appears to consciously shrug it off. "I think I've worn my dress ulta," she confesses as we ready for a chat.
At first glance, Shraddha can be anyone's buddy. It is no wonder that she's often been referred to as the girl-next-door. "I think it's a compliment," says the actress, who will be seen in Shujaat Saudagar's musical-drama, Rock On!! 2, which hits theatres next week. "Being referred to as the common man's heroine makes me feel like the privileged one," she says, adding that her candid snaps on Instagram are always appreciated more than those that have her dolled up. "Fans like to see me like that because they can relate to me. Also, I like being like that."
From having grown up admiring the Rock On!! Band, Magik, to becoming its member, Shraddha says, it's been an interesting, long journey. "Farhan [Akhtar] has always spurred the creation of a different cinema, and was the one who inspired me to sing. When I saw Rock On, I thought, if he can do it, so can I." But 'doing it' wasn't easy, given that Shraddha had to lend her voice to her songs in the musical. "I grew up learning music from my grandfather, Shri Pandharinath Kolhapure, and regret that I didn't invest more time in it. With Rock On!! 2, I went back to training, and learnt with Samantha Edwards [singer and vocal coach] for months."
But prod her on whether the experience will translate into admiration from fans, and she pauses. "If people like the way the song has been incorporated in the film, it will work. It's not quintessential Indian music. I don't know if everybody will take to it, but a certain audience will love it." The actress has often spoken about her love for old-school cinema, frequently saying that she would like to have been born during "the Guru Dutt time". Good content, she says, is lacking. "But that's slowly changing," she adds quickly. "Although there was a certain charm to that era, that is now all gone. Now, we are accessible on social media."
Up after Rock On!! 2 is her role as Dawood Ibrahim's sister, Haseena Parker in Apoorva Lakhia's biopic. She says she is liking the curiosity around the part. "People can't digest that I'll be ageing from 16 to 45 years, but that's the kind of work I'm looking forward to doing."