Aditya Roy Kapur: “I Just Don’t Gravitate Towards the Spotlight”

In an exclusive chat with Cosmo India, the actor opens up about having always lived life on his own terms—punctuated with a soupçon of refreshing rebellion every now and then—to stand out, not merely fit in

In the 15 years that you have seen him on screen, Aditya Roy Kapur has gone from being an Afro-haired VJ, to playing supporting, albeit crucial, roles in box office hits, to coming into his own as an A-list star (and hello, washboard abs!). His stint as the main lead—starting with Aashiqui 2 in 2013—has been a somewhat curvy graph, complete with some delightful crests as well as some plateaus (including a two-year hiatus in 2017). But Aditya isn’t losing sleep over the analytics—he’s learnt to maintain equilibrium through both. “I don’t even know what failure is, honestly!” he jokes as he sits down for this interview. “It’s about how you look at everything. They’re all just experiences, and every film I’ve done has taught me so much!” 

As we chat, Aditya is on the verge of his third release of 2020, Ludo, and, for someone who normally likes to “fly under the radar”, the elusive 33-year-old is everywhere these days—including his own Instagram account! We bring it up. “I’m happy to post on social media for work, but otherwise I can’t keep up with it,” he laughs. “I just don’t gravitate towards the spotlight...it doesn’t flow naturally for me!”  

In times when FOMO can be a grave affliction, Aditya's admission sounds like a refreshing form of rebellion. In the course of the conversation, one can tell why our coverstar is the man he is—self-assured and steadfast, no matter what the circumstances. “But, of course, there is anxiety when you take up a new film, like with any job,” smiles Aditya. “That kind of fear or doubt is good, though...it becomes a driving force, pushing you to get into new areas and to explore new territories!” (It must be mentioned here that Ludo opened on Netflix to some rave reviews, with a rating of 7.6 on IMDb, proving to be one of the 2020's most successful films.)

Cosmo: Congratulations on Ludo. What can we expect from the film? 

Aditya Roy Kapur: “The unexpected! [Laughs] I think that’s what people are finding exciting about the trailer as well—it feels like a film without any form or any recognisable trope. I’d say it’s an entertaining film, with a lot of twist and turns, and more.”

C: You learnt to be a ventriloquist for the film, and we’ve heard you've gotten really good at it! What are some other skills that Aditya is good at? 

ARK: “I think they’re giving me a little too much credit...but yes, ventriloquism was definitely a fun skill to learn and pick up. I think I have well-documented most skills that I posses. A couple, of course, are left better unspoken, but what I can tell you is that I play a mean game of pool. So if anyone ever wants to bet on it, they can come my way.”

Aditya Roy Kapoor

C: You like to keep a relatively low profile. Is that intentional? 

ARK: “To be honest, it’s not something that I plan or am conscious about. It’s just that I just don’t naturally gravitate towards the spotlight. Even when I joined social media, I was active for a little while, but then I couldn’t keep up. It just doesn’t flow organically for me. But, yes, when I have a film releasing, I know it is my responsibility to promote it...and I’m happy to do that, you'll see me around more often then. But otherwise, I like to fly under the radar.” 

C: You may not be able to “keep up with it”, but your fans seem to love your posts...

ARK: “So, I was more regular in the beginning, but eventually, I slowed down. I don’t think I ever really hit my stride with social media. Even now, I find myself at a loss—I sometimes think that I should post something, but then I don’t know what! I do have spurts of inspiration every now and then, and they usually coincide with my film promotions, because that’s when I’m a little more out and about, socially. But I also know that it can be a big distraction...if you get lost in the vortex of the ‘scroll’.”

C: And does the scrolling ever get the better of you?

ARK: “Oh, it can happen every day! You choose to look at one picture, and before you know it, you have lost one hour of your life! Before I joined Instagram, I didn’t even have the app on my phone—so I had to actually Google someone’s account. It was a lot of trouble to stalk someone [laughs]! Now it’s much easier to waste time. That said, social media is also a great source of entertainment, information, and a lot of good things. It’s just a matter of you controlling it, rather than it controlling you.” 

Aditya Roy Kapoor

C: Off-screen, you seem to love to lounge in your flip-flops, shorts, and T-shirts. How would you describe your sense of style? 

ARK: “Comfortable! I still tend towards clothes I have worn since college—I am most at-ease with that kind of fashion. And I don’t think I have updated myself with the trends that have come and gone...I still dress like I am in 2005.” 

C: You used to have an Afro when you were a VJ. Are there any other fun  phases you have lived through? 

ARK: “So many! As far as the hair is concerned, I went from an Afro to a buzz cut multiple times during those years. Sometimes, I’d just shave my head; other times, I’d grow my hair out for a year! There was also a phase where I had natural dreadlocks, much to the dismay of my mother who’d wake me up every morning and plead with me to cut my hair [laughs]! I’ve always worn my hair in extremes, except for the last few years, when I started working in films.”

C: Have your life-phases been this extreme as well?

ARK: “Yeah, back in the day I was notorious for that! Like, I’d do a lot of running off and disappearing, getting out of the city for a month or two for a solo trip, on a whim! I’ve had my fair share of thrills.” 

C: Did your career aspirations change alongside? 

ARK: “For sure! I grew up with the dream of becoming a cricketer...which was quickly thwarted by bad grades and excessive tuitions. Post that, I wanted to be a musician. In college, I was part of a band, but, again, due to my academic misgivings, I had to leave that. Then, the performing arts happened—I became a VJ, and some acting gigs came along, which I started enjoying quite  a bit.”