Kartik Aaryan: ‘In times of OTT, language is no barrier!’

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Kartik Arryan in Bhool Bhulaiya 2. Photo: Video Trailer Grab 

He never intended to be a comedy specialist hero, but luck has favored Kartik Aaryan only in laughathons like his two films in the Pyaar Ka Punch-Nama franchise, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Luka Chhupi and Pati Patni Aur Woh. Of course, Guest Iin London did not work because of its own banalities, but when Kartik went into non-funny zones (Akaash Vani, Kaanchi—The Unbreakable and Love Aaj Kal 2, all three romances, and the offbeat thriller Dhamaka, he fell flat.

Still, Kartik insists that he never signs genre-specific films and only goes by the script, which he must like. His films to come include the patriotic Captain India, the romantic thriller Freddy, a romance earlier titled Satyanarayan Ki Katha (whose title is now being changed) and—if it takes off—Shehzada, the Hindi remake of the Telugu Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.

So it will be a while before Kartik takes on his next comic venture, but till then, his fans can enjoy this week’s release, Bhool Bhulaiya 2. And newsindiatimes.com meets Kartik at the office of co-producers T-Series and finds him in great fettle, prone to guffaws as we small talk and later get to ‘business.’

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Excerpts from a conversation follow.
In a way, it can be said that you have stepped into the shoes of Akshay Kumar.

Akshay-sir is right up there. In fact, it is like a validation to be chosen for Bhool Bhulaiya 2, a film whose original starred him.

You have this tendency to do such sequels in ‘spirit’.

(Laughs) But each of these films—Pyaar Ka Punch-Nama 2, Love Aaj Kal 2 and Bhool Bhulaiya 2—are all new stories. So also was Pati Patni Aur Woh, except for the basic premise.

What drew you especially to Bhool Bhulaiya 2?

It was exciting as it is a horror comedy and also my biggest film to date. I am a greedy actor and look for growth. I have always loved watching horror films, but if I watch them alone at night, I really get scared and have to sleep with the lights on!

So did doing a film like this drive away your fears?

(Guffaws) I think not! In the future too, the lights will be on! Yes, while shooting it was not really scary. Of course, there are so many props and things that are there when shooting these sequences. The director and I have to work with the special effects and sound effects teams, the cinematographer and even the choreographer and action director. There was this zig-zag dance move in the title-track, choreographed to make it look spooky, and it worked big time!

The visuals can be horrific, maybe, but at the end of the day, Bhool Bhulaiya 2, like the original film, is a family entertainer. People will get scared on occasion, but they will laugh more.

How difficult was it to shoot the film?

Actually, the stress was about completing the film. We had begun shooting from mid-February to March in 2020 and had to come back from Lucknow when the lockdown was declared. After that, it was a waiting game about when to finish making the film and then when to release it!

You have worked mainly with young directors. How different was it working with Anees Bazmee, who is a veteran, and even with Subhash Ghai earlier?

They are very different experiences! Anees-sir’s energy is so inspirational, his passion is remarkable. And his on-spot improvisations are like ‘Wow!’ I know a well-written scene will become even better! And Anees-sir is best at drama, as we have seen in Deewangee. And he makes his scenes larger-than-life.

And Tabu?

She is again a mind-blowing performer. I have many scenes with Tabu ma’am throughout the film, and I enjoyed and had a blast! Such co-actors automatically enhance your own performance.

Recently, you landed in controversy with your fallout with Karan Johar. Are you stressed because of it?
Main apne kaam se kaam rakhta hoon (I am bothered only about work)! As it is, log baat ka batangad banate hain (people exaggerate and bring in unnecessary things!

What made you do a niche film like Dhamaka?

It was a smart move, I think. It was during the pandemic. The film got a great response. I will do any film, in any language, whose script I like. Nowadays, in the times of OTT, even language is not a barrier.

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