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Shraddha Kapoor: I became Farhan Akhtar’s biggest fan after Rock On!!

The actress says she made a vow to herself when she saw the first part eight years ago that she would be in the sequel whenever it happened.

Keyur Seta

The makers of Rock On 2 decided to sign Shraddha Kapoor when the idea of a sequel to the original Rock On!! (2008) cropped up. But the actress had made a vow to herself and her father, the veteran actor Shakti Kapoor, that she would be a part of the second film, come what may, as soon as she saw Rock On!! in 2008.

In a friendly chat with Cinestaan.com, Kapoor narrated the story of how she came to fulfil her vow and become a member of the cast of Rock On 2, which is heading for a theatrical release later this month, and some other interesting incidents revolving around the film. Excerpts:

When you saw Rock On!!, did you ever think you would be part of its sequel?

Yes, I actually did (laughs). I had gone to see the movie with my family and we just loved it. They got up to leave, but I just sat in my chair. It was very filmi. When the credits were going, I said, 'Baaps [as Kapoor addresses her father], if they make a sequel to this film, I will be a part of it for sure.' My dad was pretty encouraging. In my heart I knew I had to make sure I am in the sequel if they make it.

So, how were you offered Rock On 2?

I wasn’t offered the film. There was this news making the rounds that they are making a sequel. I didn’t even think twice. I just called up [producer] Ritesh [Sidhwani] and asked if it is true. When he said it is true, I asked, 'Do you want to meet me for it?' He said they would love to. But he pointed out that the female lead would need to sing all her songs. I felt I would be able to do it as I have sung ‘Galliyan’ and all. But he said the level of singing in the film is different and they have been testing professional singers for this part. I sang 3-4 songs for them and the next thing I saw was that they were smiling. Looking at them I felt I am in (laughs).

What was your dad’s reaction when you told him this?

He and my whole family were very happy. They had their fingers crossed. My mom had given me advice on how to sing. She said, 'Mooh khol ke gaana. [Sing with vigour, don't mumble].' I couldn’t believe for the longest time that it has actually happened. About more than halfway through the shoot I realized [that it was true]. Also, I had developed a connection with my character.

Listen to Shraddha Kapoor as she reveals how she bagged the role in Rock On 2:

How did you overcome the challenge of singing different genres of songs for this film?

I was trained by singer Samantha Edwards. She is a beautiful jazz singer. Her voice is like makkhan [butter]. I feel my voice has become more bassy now. I feel I sound the same like I did before, but there is some difference. The toughest song to sing was ‘Udja Re’. I wasn’t getting it during the recording. I had to train to hold the breath. Training your voice is like developing biceps in your throat.

Your co-star Farhan Akhtar is a professional singer. Did this ever intimidate you or make you nervous?

No. In fact, I was so excited when I came to know I also had a song with him. It’s ‘Woh Jahan,’ which is my favourite song in the album. They didn’t tell me that they are planning ‘Rock On Revisited’. So, I didn’t know I would get to sing the ‘Rock On’ track.

What was your preparation like?

I had a very different kind of preparation. It doesn’t feel at all as if it is Shujaat’s [director Shujaat Saudagar's] first film. When I met him, he asked very offbeat questions, like, how many school trips have you gone on, have you ever gone backpacking alone, have you ever lived alone, and how strict are your parents. I was wondering what are these questions! But later I understood that it is because my character packs her bags and goes off alone somewhere. She is someone who will do what her heart tells her. She stays and lives alone whenever she has to. So, he asked me to spend time alone. I started putting a ‘Do not disturb’ sign outside my room. 

How important are box-office numbers for you?

It’s not a simple question to answer. Box-office numbers are also related to how many people watch your film. I don’t understand calculations like the amount it should make with respect to the cost of production. But I know that the more tickets you sell, the more your box-office number. I hope we sell lots of tickets (laughs).

How was your equation with Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal and Purab Kohli?

I instantly became Farhan’s biggest fan after watching him in Rock On!! I was shooting for Teen Patti (2010) then. I used to sing but I didn’t know if I could sing in the movies. Nobody was singing in the movies. But then this guy comes along and sings all his songs. I thought if he can do it, some day I too can.

It’s amazing to work with him and see how passionate he is. He is a person driven by what he loves doing. Arjun [Rampal] is like the baby of the group. He does the most amount of masti. He looks at the filmmaking process with a very broad point of view. Purab [Kohli] and Arjun on the sets are like Tom and Jerry. They are constantly taking each other’s case. I felt I am the most mature person in the group!

With Rock On 2, do you feel that you have arrived as an artiste?

I don’t know if I would ever feel like I have arrived. I feel every film is like a debut for me. You get to learn so much and play different characters. Of course, there has been a lot of learning and there will be more.

How is it working with your brother Siddhanth in Haseena?

I have not started shooting with him yet. But he has started his schedule. I will be joining him soon. I think this is the first time that a real-life brother-sister pair will come on screen as reel-life brother and sister.