Arjun Kapoor 2.0: Embrace The Actor Already!

Six pack abs, full of swag, trained to bash the goons, a larger-than-life screen presence, and the one who gets the girl in the end – Arjun Kapoor had debuted in Bollywood with a formula film – Ishaqzaade – that made him a star. Not that the film wasn’t entertaining or Arjun didn’t appear promising. He did and so did her co-star Parineeti Chopra in the role of a girl who falls for the bad guy. But, there was nothing different. He was just another rowdy hero, being the massy genius to make people sit up and take notice of his arrival. Cut to nine years later and we see Arjun in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, a YRF film that ironically releases in the same month as that of Ishaqzaade. Only this time, Arjun seems to have really arrived. Without any six-pack abs, without the romance, and sans any ‘superman’-like swag.

Among the many things that Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar did for its actors and for the banner, the most special remained transforming a star into an actor. Usually, we see the opposite happening in the industry. In a scene, Arjun’s character Pinky, who’s a cop and a victim of the patriarchy, discovers his vulnerability when he wipes the blood off a pregnant woman’s legs as she loses her baby. That scene has no dialogues. A woman lying unconscious, a man trying to fathom the sensitivity of the situation, and in between all of this, Arjun being the actor who is capable of communicating his silences on-screen today. It took a master filmmaker like Dibakar Banerjee to extract that from Arjun. And seeing how it all went, this could just be another perfect actor-director Jodi in the industry.

Arjun has made some fine choices in the past. Aurangzeb (2013), 2 States (2014), Finding Fanny (2014), and Ki & Ka (2016) – the actor has relied on good stories to polish his craft. But he could never really be seen beyond his ‘Gunday‘ image – the brash, cocky, callous young man on-screen. What changed now?

Acting is not a formula-based profession. It demands you to take bits and pieces from your personal life and channelise those emotions into your characters in the movies. Probably because Arjun has seen so much already in his life that his choices have matured with time. Or he has learned to observe and channelise better. Or maybe just the both. From what it appears, being Arjun hasn’t been easier. Losing someone very dear right when you are starting your career, drifting away from one parent and then trying and doing the right thing when another crisis lingers over the family – all of that seems to have contributed somewhere in the choices that he is capable of making today. Perhaps the complexities that you are dealing with at one side of your life compels you to make better choices at the other end. In Arjun’s case, this simply fits.

In many interviews, you would see him admitting that he is taking decisions from the heart. Keeping your heart above your mind is a tricky thing to do and a difficult one when you are an actor. But if that’s what it takes to be the ‘Pinky’ on-screen, Arjun has got nothing to lose. The road ahead seems full of both love and challenges and from where we see it, there’s no stopping him now! An actor is born…

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