Sonam Kapoor: Taking ownership of my roles comes from a place of authenticity and passion

In an exclusive chat with Cosmopolitan India, the actor talks about the power of female friendship, being pro-choice in life, her roles in cinema, and more.

21 May, 2024
Sonam Kapoor: Taking ownership of my roles comes from a place of  authenticity and passion

Be it through her characters in women-centric films such as Neerja, Pad-Man, Veere Di Wedding, or in her personal endeavours, actor Sonam Kapoor has always been what she calls a ‘pro-choice’ individual, one who basks in the positive energy that sees women come together. It is this bonding and mentoring with the women in her life that is the main reason for the confidence that she displays, be it on or off-screen. The actor, who is fully committed to social responsibility and advocating for women’s empowerment, is also the spokesperson for Kérastase, which recently unveiled its global initiative, Power Talks. This is a program designed to help women, no matter what background they come from, by equipping them with the confidence they need to advance in their careers and uplifting fellow women within their communities.

The actor, in an exclusive interview with Cosmopolitan India, talks about how women can uplift and support each other, the women who mentor her personally and professionally, the bonds with the women in her life, and more. 

Cosmopolitan India: Power Talks stands as an impact-driven program meticulously designed to bolster young women’s confidence. How do you think mentoring has an impact on women?  

Sonam Kapoor: Power Talks by Kérastase is an incredible opportunity to mentor and empower young women, and the mentoring sessions are meticulously designed to provide valuable insights, guidance, and support. I truly believe that all women have the innate talent to go out and do what they set their minds to. In our society—especially in India, which is highly patriarchal, internal mentorship is required for a woman to step forward. While internally, we have the confidence, we do need that external push to go forward, because of the many hindrances.

Whether it’s a formal session or an informal chat with someone a woman looks up to, mentoring can give women the push they need to take a leap of faith and overcome their hurdles. I believe that taking the first step is everything. The rest follows and usually leads to superlative results!

CI: What are the qualities in women that bring them together that make them more powerful to motivate and empower?

SK: Empathy, resilience, determination, and a sense of solidarity are the qualities that bring women together and make them more powerful. Women have a unique ability to support and uplift each other, share experiences and wisdom, and collaborate towards common goals. When women come together, they can create positive change.

CI: Who were the women, while you were growing up, that equipped you with the confidence to advance and always chase excellence?

SK: Growing up, I was fortunate to be surrounded by strong, confident, and independent women who inspired me to believe in myself and strive for excellence. My mother, grandmother, and sister have always been my pillars of strength, encouraging me to follow my passions and pursue my goals with dedication and perseverance. Each one of them has driven me to do my best. My grandmother was always very confident in me and my career choices. On the other hand, my mother and aunt were two career-minded women who believe that work is something every woman should do. Then there’s my sister who is my best friend. My mother-in-law is very supportive of my work as she gives me the confidence and mentorship to balance my professional and personal life. 

Image credit: Kérastase

CI: Your roles, too, are those that make an impact with respect to women taking ownership (Neerja, Pad Man, Veere Di Wedding). Does believing in this so strongly make the performance more easy (since it comes naturally) or is it a tough task knowing that you have to tell the audience that here is something that matters and is far from addressed?

SK: If it’s a good story, I have always looked for characters in films where women are at the centre. Some of them have been successful films such as Neerja, Khoobsurat, and Veere Di Wedding. Even in films like Pad Man, Delhi-6, and Saawariya, which don’t have a woman at the centre, I’ve always been pro-choice and so have these women. Whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, I’ve always tried to choose such characters. 

Believing strongly in the importance of women taking ownership in my roles does make the performance easier in some ways, as it comes from a place of authenticity and passion. However, it also comes with a sense of responsibility to accurately portray these characters and their experiences, knowing that they represent important issues that are often overlooked or marginalised.

CI: Motherhood, sisterhood, and womanhood—how have the bonds with your son, sister, and girlfriends changed the woman you have been?

SK: Motherhood, sisterhood, and womanhood have profoundly shaped the woman I am today. My bond with my son, sister, and girlfriends has taught me the importance of love, support, and solidarity. These relationships have enriched my life, provided me with strength and inspiration, and reminded me of the power of female friendship and connection. I surround myself with women who are better and smarter than me, and more successful. That inspires me. I take their advice. Whether it’s Samyukta Nair, Masaba Gupta, Pooja Dhingra, or my sister, surrounding myself with women who work and take ownership of their lives are people I’ll always be around. 

Lead and square image: Cosmopolitan India print issue, October 2020 

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