Kiara Advani started her career with films such as Fugly, MS Dhoni—The Untold Story, Machine and Lust Stories. Except for the Dhoni biopic, none of the other films quite left a mark on the Box Office. But Sandeep Vanga’s Kabir Singh opposite Shahid Kapoor changed all that. The film—a remake of the South hit Arjun Reddy—is an intense love story and is courting controversy for its toxic mix of testosterone and patriarchy.
But Kiara is unperturbed. “This is my first big film after MS Dhoni and is naturally important for me because it has not been an easy journey. After my first film—Fugly—I was jobless for more than a year. I was unsure about my career. My films didn’t do well and I was sceptical. I faced a lot of rejections but I kept going for auditions. Fortunately, the Dhoni biopic came along and it made me a household name. Karan Johar spotted me and signed me for Lust Stories and that made people sit up and take notice. It gave me the scope to perform. Directors who had rejected me, started approaching me.”
Kiara confesses that she is instinctive rather than rational when signing on the dotted line. “I give the nod when I connect with the script. I am not calculative. I go with my heart and gut feeling. Sometimes I take Karan sir’s advice,” she says and adds that she would love to work with Imtiaz Ali and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. “I am lucky I got to work with Kareena Kapoor Khan in my upcoming film Good News. I look up to her,” she exults.
Kabir Singh may be doing well commercially, but Kiara says that she could not relate to her character. “Preeti is very different from what I am in real life. She is a quiet and demure girl. Fortunately, I had a co-star like Shahid who made it easy for me. I had watched the South Indian version too to prepare for the role.”Her on-screen chemistry with Shahid has been hugely appreciated. “I have to thank director Sandeep sir for the connect. Besides, Shahid is somebody who is easy to get along with.”
Thought she did not relate to her character, Kiara could easily relate to the theme of the film—loyalty in relationships. A ‘one-man woman’, she believes in love and confesses that for her the institution of marriage is very important. Like her character Preeti, Kiara says she too has faced heartbreaks. “I have been in love in my younger days and it’s a beautiful emotion. Heartbreaks are tough but eventually you have to move on and focus on yourself. Sometimes you lose your identity in relationships, but it’s important to find your individuality.”
Talking about relationships, rumour mills are abuzz about her relationship with co-actor Siddharth Malhotra. “I laugh over such rumours. The focus is on work now. There is nothing to hide. I will acknowledge it the day I am in a relationship.”
Kiara, who calls herself a pan-Indian actor, has worled in a few films down South. Next she will be seen along side Akshay Kumar in two of her forthcoming movies, Karan Johar’s Good News and Raghava Lawrence’s Laxmi Bomb. “I have worked with Akshay sir in an advertisement earlier. He was the one who brought me into the film industry. He was the producer of my debut venture. Now, life has come a full circle,” she smiles.