Kriti Sanon’s sister Nupur speaks to ETimes on her upcoming projects, what made her make her debut with music videos, and working with Akshay Kumar, among other things. Excerpts:
How are you doing Nupur and how’s it going for you during this pandemic?
I am doing good. It wasn’t going that well during the pandemic but filhaal mohabbat ka samay hai, so, right now it is going very well. But let’s just try to be as safe as we can and be at home unless and until there is some important work.
You were also photographed outside Jackky Bhagnani’s office some time ago. What is going on?
I am getting very stalkerish vibes here. I went there for some meeting regarding a project, that’s the max you’re going to get from me on this. So, there are different projects which are happening with different people. They saw my ‘Filhaal’, ‘Mohabbat’, they liked it and I went to talk about a meeting and I have given a couple of auditions here and there. So, let’s see what happens.
Tell us about your experience of working with Akshay Kumar in ‘Filhaal 2’…
‘Filhaal 2’ was different in terms of shooting also because sometimes the shooting would stop, sometimes it would continue. The first was shot without any breaks. That also matters because the whole loop, the whole connect breaks because Because we had to take many days off in between. But thankfully, there was no lockdown at that point in time when we were shooting. Everybody on the set was very cautious and mature about the scenario and so the shoot happened very smoothly.
How was it working with Akshay Kumar?
It was amazing. I would want to keep working with him as many times as I get the chance to. He’s a phenomenal actor and more than that what I could discover during ‘Filhaal 1’ and ‘Filhaal 2’ is that just he is a great human being. He’s so down to earth, he’s so humble and funny. He’ll just impromptu say something in the middle of the shot and it’ll make you laugh. So, it was a great experience and there was so much learning to do. I think this time I was more aware, I was more confident and it was easier for me to ask questions. So I asked a lot of questions on set. I’m sure I might have bugged a lot of people but that’s how you should be as a newcomer, you have to ask a lot of questions. Everybody helped me on the set. They didn’t let me feel that I’m a new person on the set. Everybody in the team is so experienced, they’re the best in their own spaces. But, Akshay sir is my favourite. He really made sure that It was very easy for me. I never felt that I’m performing or was doing a scene with a star.
Akshay Kumar is known to be a prankster. Have you ever become a victim of his pranks?
I think I’m one of the lucky ones who hasn’t being pranked. In fact, he offered me to play a prank on others with him because I had already been pranked at the time of ‘Filhaal 1’, wherein on the 9th, Filhaal was supposed to be released and on 8th, I got a call from the marketing team (Azim, Jaani, Khaira paaji) saying that, ‘Nupur, there’s a problem’. I said ‘what?’. They said, ‘Akshay sir didn’t like the video.’ They actually convinced me at that point in time that the song is not going to get released and then Jaani took the phone and she had the heart to tell me that this was just a prank. So luckily, Akshay sir hasn’t ever done any prank on me.
Would you like to work with Kriti Sanon in a movie?
Definitely, why wouldn’t I! At this point in time especially because she’s evolved as an actor so much. I can’t wait for you all to watch ‘Mimi‘ and see that for yourself and I think I’ll get to learn a lot from her. Of course, the comfort that I have with my sister is going to be there and it’s going to me help me grow more, but, as a newcomer even If I didn’t know Kriti, I think she’s so evolved as an actor that I would feel happy that I’m going to get that energy from my co-actor. As a sister and as an aspiring actor, I think Kriti has really grown.
What made you choose acting as a career?
So, I was a lot into music. There was no such acting-related agenda on my mind. I was doing digital marketing and following music as a passion. Someone called me for an audition saying we have seen some music covers of yours and we wanna audition you. This I’m talking about some unknown director. So, I went there thinking that maybe they’ll give me a few lines and I have to sing it and there I get to know that it is an acting audition. So I was like, ‘ Sir, I don’t know acting; I have never done that before.’ But then I gave that audition it worked somehow and that film got shelved may be because of some financial reasons.
The whole journey made me explore the actor side of mine and I felt that maybe I like it and it’s something that I have in me naturally and I can explore this. Then I did a couple of workshops to be sure that this is something that I, as Nupur wants to do. When you are someone’s sister who’s already there in the industry a lot of people around you including your relatives, friends and so many people in your peer tell you that as of now your sister’s there in the Industry you too should go and I didn’t want it to be that way. And so when I explored that’s when I started my journey.
When it comes to acting and making a career in Bollywood, it’s not that easy. There are a lot of reports of nepotism and there are a lot of controversies that are happening and you being Kriti Sanon’s sister, you might have also faced that. What are your thoughts on it?
I have faced that very little right now. But, I’m prepared to face it more. What I can do to keep myself away from this whole accusation of nepotism, is by taking my own journey. When I did ‘Filhaal’ and how I cracked the audition and how I did it, I know that that was my own thing and also ‘Filhaal’ was something that I, as Nupur, would have done because music is something that really attracts me. So my first thought when I got Filhaal was what better a project than getting music and acting at the same time. So that was my personal choice. Everybody has told me that music videos are a very different start. There were some expectations from me by people in the industry. I was asked, ‘Why are you starting with a music video’, the way people stereotype you. But that’s what inclined me towards it. I wondered that how am I gonna get my identity out and separate myself from this if I don’t take my own journey.
I feel everyone is talked about and there are comparisons and I’m ready with all these things. The only thing I can do is work on myself. I know that I have worked on my craft, that I have a done a couple of workshops. I know that I have sat in this room where my camera is right now and we are doing a live. My camera used to be self-shooting some scenes of mine in order to improve. So I know that when my acting comes out when people see me, nobody cares about nepotism.
Nepotism exists everywhere. A negative angle of it has come because people don’t like the fact that people who don’t deserve are there due to it. Though I’m someone’s sister, if I prove that I’m deserving through my actions I don’t think anyone will have any problem. I think Alia Bhatt is the biggest example. I think she also must have gone through the whole nepotism thing initially where people would be judging passing comments. People can be really insensitive to you. I love her journey, I love the fact that she has proved herself with her acting I don’t think anyone can say that she’s here because of the nepotism tag. She’s here because she has actually worked hard. I don’t think if you are related to someone you don’t have the right to choose the same career.
What do you have to say about the critics? Do criticism and reviews matter to you?
Of course, it matters! They are experienced people from our industry. They are the word of mouth. If I want to know as an audience whether a movie is worth watching, should I give my time to it or should I not put my two hours into it, I would go to a review and check it out. So I know it really matters from the audience’s perspective. Thankfully, the reviews that I got from the critics of our industry have been really nice. They have been very kind to me. They acknowledged me as ‘Nupur Sanon’ and do not blend me with anyone. I think When people blend you with the names attached to you that takes away the talent and credit. So I am very grateful that everybody has been very kind to me and I think genuine feedback is always welcome. I’m someone new and very unaware of how things work. So if someone gives me feedback that we felt that your screen presence was not so great or here you lacked emotion, I’m gonna take it with a pinch of salt, but I will work on that later.
When you are prepping up to be an actress, what thought keeps you going?
Just the fact that I love that now just because of looks audience doesn’t accept that’s why the kind of films that are succeeding and the kind of big films that are maybe getting flopped are because the audience has become smart. Their thing is that if you’re an actor you should know how to act, that’s basic. So that’s my go-to. I think you become a star when you prove yourself as an actor. That and maybe the aura of course I think the aura comes in itself when you grow with people loving you and with you oozing that positivity. I want to prove myself as an actor
A lot of memes have been made on this song. What do you have to say to that?
I love how people are reacting with memes. I love the meme culture and I share it with my friends and laugh. Everyone in our team is taking it in such good spirit, Akshay sir is sharing so many memes on ‘Filhaal 2 mohobbat’ and the fact that you can make people cry and laugh at the same time, that’s a bonus. Like people have cried watching the video and that was our motivation after that now that you all have cried so laugh a little too. So definitely lm loving this. I love them I really laugh a lot watching them.
How are you dealing with this pandemic and what changes have you witnessed in yourself while coping up with this?
I am a lot calmer right now and I think we all are because we are now used to the whole pandemic situation. I never want it to become a lifestyle though I want the masks to go away now as we are a bit used to it already, we have become calmer and more patient. I think the best changes that are got to me would be exploring my creative side in terms of the things that I never used to do or give time to. Like I used to write poetry a lot before. So I started writing poetry again. I have started working on myself. I have started doing films and web shows which can educate me as an actor. I am just dealing with it like anyone else but there’s part of me that’s hoping that the third wave doesn’t arrive.
I see a lot of posts of you and Kriti spending time with your mom and dad and going on trips and all. So how’s that experience for you?
It was once when we went out. I think at the time of the first wave we went for like two days, the whole family. Honestly, we didn’t wanna plan anything at the time of covid but we went just because of mom and dad. Kriti and I realised that we both are somewhere busy and always have some or the other thing to do but parents were stuck at home and they were bored. So this was genuinely for them. Because we all, as children, get to go out but no one’s letting them go. We are not as strict with us as we are with our parents. I know that I don’t let my mom and dad step out of the house at all but then I wonder we are already getting accustomed a little bit to this thing but they are at home all the time. But that’s also one added thing of the Pandemic that we got a lot of family time. I don’t remember the last time before this we four spent this much time together.
What do you have to say about ‘Mimi’ trailer?
I absolutely love it. I actually watched it a few days before its release and I was waiting for it to come out because I have seen Kriti work so hard for this film and before this too I have seen her work so hard to get a film like this. Deepika started doing ‘Piku’ and ‘Chhappak’ you know that space of films to show yourself as an actor and bring up that acting part of you. So she was waiting for a long time for a script like this, she’s was waiting for someone to show this level of confidence In her so that she could kill it and she has nailed it. I can’t wait for everyone to see the hard work that she has put in.
You are gonna see a lot more acting from me. There are a couple of things that have been on the locking stage and there’s one thing that has been locked. But, we’re under NDA and we can’t reveal things. So you have to wait for it. I think you’re gonna see a lot more of me probably you’ll get to know something in a month or so till then please keep giving your love to ‘Mohabbat’.