She was almost written off by critics after her debut film Fugly bombed in 2014. But actor Kiara Advani had taken the failure in her stride. Eight years later, she is evidently on a success spree with hit after hit, so much so that she doesn’t have time to spare for a snappy family vacation. This year the actor scored two box office hits Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Jugjugg Jeeyo opposite Kartik Aryan and Varun Dhawan respectively.
“I am looking forward to taking a break and going on a holiday with my family, but I have been shooting constantly. I hope I can take a week off with them,” Advani says.It is her go-getter attitude that she attributes her success to.“I started off with a failure and it seemed like the whole world was conspiring against me. But my family stood by me. I gained courage and started looking for work. I had no connections with the film industry but I waited.
Then came director Neeraj Pandey’s Dhoni: The Untold Story. It was my first successful film and there has been no looking back ever since,” she recalls. The turning point in her career, Advani says, was starring in Karan Johar’s web series Lust Stories and then Kabir Singh, Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Hindi adaptation of Telugu hit Arjun Reddy.
“Lust Stories made critics sit up and notice me. I came to be recognised as an actor. At that point, I hadn’t even realised that I had worked with Karan Johar! The way he presents his stories is so entertaining. The series was talking about something which is relevant and necessary. There were four women leading that pack and now when I look back, I feel so proud that we took such a bold subject and made something of it so aesthetically,” she says, adding, “Kabir Singh got me a lot of love from the audience. It got so much love commercially. As a character people felt that I was in fact Preeti, and they made me into a larger-than-life character. I think it was a game-changer for me.”
Notwithstanding the contribution of these projects to her success curve, Advani believes that learning is a lifelong process, and is thankful for all the films––hits and flops––that came her way.“I consider each and every film a turning point in my career. Fugly was one because it was the first film that got me into the industry. I felt that if I work, I will get more work. After Lust Stories, I got to work with Karan Johar again in Good Newwz and right after that, director Vishnuvardhan’s Shershaah came along. In one way or the other, every film has been instrumental in taking me to the next level and added to me as an actor and person.
I am proud of all my films regardless of whether they were hits or not,” she says.
The pay parity between male and female actors has been a bone of contention across industries.
Bollywood, almost always, has been on the wrong side of history in this respect. When asked if she had increased her remuneration in the wake of her success streak, Advani says, “I don’t want to talk about my pay cheque, but I must say that producers have started trusting me a lot now. I would also like to add that one must increase his or her own value. A lot has changed over the times. Women are getting better roles; films are no longer dependent on the heroes.”
Addressing rumours of her impending marriage, the actor insists that she is focused on her career at the moment, but never-say-never.“I am a family-oriented person and I understand that one has to balance relationships. Actors like Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma are setting fine examples and have been managing well, while continuing to do good work,” she says.
The actor is now looking forward to director Shashank Khaitan’s Govinda Naam Mera, alongside Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar. She is also shooting for Tamil director Shankar’s RC15 opposite Telugu superstar Ram Charan. “It’s a pan-Indian film. Shankar Sir’s cinema, his school, his style, is different and the story is very relevant. It’s a socio-political drama,” she concludes.