Interview Hindi

2019 was my exam year; 2020 is the result: Kiara Advani on the Good Newwz that awaits


Actress Advani talks about the joy of working with Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor Khan, the excitement of her new releases, and the pressure of coping with audience expectations.

Shriram Iyengar

Having played the submissive girlfriend in Kabir Singh (2019), Kiara Advani now seems to be riding a wave into stardom. At a recent media interaction for her upcoming film Good Newwz, the actress said, "It feels like finally I am doing the kind of films that I am really excited to go to work and learn. It is an opportunity for me to get better and is very motivating."

With Good Newwz, the actress rings the curtain down on a year that saw her deliver an excellent performance in the controversial box-office hit Kabir Singh (2019). Coming on the heels of the Dharma Productions-Netflix collaboration Lust Stories (2018), Kabir Singh marked Advani as a rising star in the Hindi film firmament. The actress now has as many as four films lined up for release in 2020.

"I am excited about it," Kiara Advani said at a press interaction ahead of the release of Good Newwz. "2020 sees a lot of films coming from me. 2019 was the year I gave my exam, and 2020 is the year the results will come."

In Good Newwz, Advani has been teamed with Diljit Dosanjh, a "tameezdaar and reserved" guy. The film also features Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor Khan.

Speaking of working with her "idols", Advani said, "It was more exciting because I was getting an opportunity to work with them and learn from someone. I simply observed their process, their spontaneity and the way they improvised. They have years of experience. It really brings so much to the scene."

Good Newwz is set for release on 27 December 2019. Following are excerpts from the interview:

There was a time when directors rejected you, after Machine (2017), but you now have a very interesting lineup of films for next year. How does that feel, to get validation in the industry?

It feels like finally I am doing the kind of films that I am really excited to go to work and learn. It is an opportunity for me to get better and is very motivating. To talk to them about your performance, and they have dissected your performance with certain scenes, and when I was performing, I wasn't really thinking about all that. I was working hard, but in a creative field people enjoy a scene in many different ways. 

Kiara Advani with Mustafa Burmawalla in Machine (2017)

I have had days when I have wanted to be busy and working, but now I have got the opportunity. I was not signing the films I am signing today. I was waiting for these opportunities. It can make you feel a little low. But I just feel glad that I didn't give up and got the opportunities. The moral of the story is: don't give up.

With regard to Kabir Singh, do you think people have become too analytical of films, forgetting the entertainment quotient?

People have the freedom to think. But everything should be done in limits. Beyond a point, as an actor, I stop to over-read. Before, I used to read and read. But now, I have realized that somewhere you have to stop. Everyone is allowed to say [his piece], and we have a hundred other topics to focus on. 

You are riding a wave that has catapulted you into the big league. But when your first film Machine (2017) failed, did you doubt yourself?

No. I was well aware of what I was doing. During Machine, I wanted to work with Abbas-Mustan sirs. To be honest, I was not getting any great opportunities in films. Here were two amazing directors, who have given such iconic films. They are the best directors in that genre. It was a film that was larger-than-life and unrealistic in a certain sense. But they were directors known for such films, and they were the right people. I believed that no matter the outcome, I would learn from working in such a film.

I learnt a lot as an actor, as a professional. It is always about the job, the end result is left to the audience. I felt bad that it came and went in that way, but I felt good because that film gave me 'Tu cheez badi hai mast mast', which in turn gave me a Karan Johar project like Lust Stories.

I genuinely feel that there are several turning points like Lust Stories and Kabir Singh professionally in my career. But personally, I feel, as an actor, every film I do is a turning point.

How was it doing comedy in Good Newwz?

It is the first time I am doing comedy. I was really excited. I actually finished Kabir Singh and went straight to Good Newwz. Both characters were the exact opposite. It was also such an opportunity to work with Akshay sir, Diljit and Kareena. Both of them are legends, Kareena especially because she is one of my favourite actors. I got so much to learn by being on set.

Kiara Advani in a still from Good Newwz

What was the difficult part of playing a mother?

Most girls, there is a maternal instinct inside us. It comes naturally. There was never a moment when I felt this is not feeling real. The minute we would wear that belly, our body language automatically changed. I don't think to play a mother was challenging, but a lot of the emotions and moments in the story were touching. That was a little emotional and moving. Each character moves differently. 

Monica [Advani's character] is so happy-go-lucky. She and Honey [Dosanjh's character] are a team. There is a difference between the two couples and, inevitably, it is about how each couple deals with the goof-up that happens. That is very relatable.

How is your chemistry with Diljit Dosanjh? He is a very quiet person in real life.

He is the same on the set as well. He is a really charming, quiet man. He is very reserved and soft-spoken, very tameezdar [polite]. But in front of the camera, he is a livewire who just translates the emotion. He is amazing.

Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh in Good Newwz

Were there any funny moments that you remember?

I think with all four of us, this whole film we used to shoot from 9 in the morning and pack up by lunch. It was literally like 'hansi mazaak mein kab film ban gayi pata nahi'. We used to look forward to the shoot because the script itself was so exciting. Diljit is a Punjabi from Chandigarh, so fluent in the language, so it was a helping hand to help me get into the character. Every once in a while he would say, 'This line was good'. If he says that, then it's a prize for me. He really knows the flavour of that language.

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Akshay Kumar in Good Newwz

Was it intimidating working with Akshay and Kareena?

It was more exciting because I was getting an opportunity to work with them and learn from someone. I simply observed their process, their spontaneity and the way they improvised. They have years of experience. It really brings so much to the scene.

Is there pressure on you to prove your versatility in your forthcoming releases?

I am excited about it. 2020 has a lot of films coming from me. 2019 is the year I gave my exam, and 2020 is the year the result is coming.

I think the pressure comes from expectations. Now there is a certain expectation people have of me. I don't allow myself to be bogged down by that. When people don't expect anything of you, fear is not there. You only have to beat yourself. That's what happened to me with Lust Stories and Kabir Singh. 

Now, when someone is working with the film, you focus on the process and the character. It is only one week before the release of the film that you start getting butterflies in your stomach. There is a pressure that you want people to like the film. I don't take the pressure particularly. 

Of course, there is excitement and nervousness. Each character is different and I hope the audience likes them as much.