Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor Talk to The Asian Today’s Sunny Malik
Bollywood actors Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor were in London recently to promote 2 States.
The actors spoke to The Asian Today’s Sunny Malik about the heavily publicised ‘kissing scenes’ in the film. The promotional campaign around the film seems to have placed emphasis around the intimate scenes between the two young actors, but where certain filmmakers will introduce kissing and sexual scenes for the sake of Box Office success, that has not been the case with 2 States.
The kissing scenes in the film are not forced into the script, like in many other Bollywood films nowadays, but are rather incidental to the rapport and relationship shared by the lead characters. 2 States is based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel, 2 States – The Story of My Life. The well-known writer divulged detailed descriptions in his book of how the leading characters ‘make out’ numerous times before they get married.
Yet one can observe that almost every interview the duo has given to journalists worldwide in the last one month or so goes into details of how it was like smooching on-screen, as the media has laboured the point. Why is it a big deal if two actors kiss on-screen? On-screen kisses are ordinary in Hollywood movies and are unlikely to be the talking point of a film. So why is it that when two Bollywod actors kiss in a movie and talk about it openly, it becomes the headline of every interview they give? Is it an intentional marketing strategy by the production house or does the press just enjoy writing about kissing scenes?
“The minute you are candid and honest about how it doesn’t matter. That suddenly becomes the centre of attention. They say it’s refreshing for you to be honest and not say ‘I did it because it was a part of the script’. But now every newspaper is only writing about the kiss. It is annoying because 2 States is not just about the kiss. It’s a family film and not about these two people constantly making out. We have to show the kiss in the film because it’s important in the book. Also, when people live together they kiss,” explained Alia Bhatt.
“When two people are in love, they kiss. It’s really normal. The fact that we treat it so normally is absurd for people,” added Arjun Kapoor.
The kissing scene has also been in the news because Arjun and Alia initially gave quite interesting statements to the press. Kapoor has said that “I really like kissing Alia” and Bhatt went on to say that “Arjun says I kiss well” and “Arjun loved kissing me”. The press obviously has a field day with such statements when the two are rumoured to be in a relationship as well, which neither of them have confirmed, yet.
“There were rumours about us dating and journalists want to confirm the rumour by writing that they enjoy kissing each other which means they are a couple. I mean, if we were dating, why would we say something like that?” questioned Alia.
Arjun says that it doesn’t matter what they say as the focus will be on the kiss regardless. “If we had said we hated kissing each other, even that would be the headline. Eventually, when you use the word kiss, it will make it to the headline. It doesn’t matter if I have given seventeen other answers as the kiss question will be the focus of the interview,” said the Gunday star.
While producers sometimes comment that kissing scenes help a film get a bigger opening weekend, it is also true that too much focus on intimate scenes may actually prevent family audiences flocking to the nearest cinema to watch it. Karan Johar’s 2009 production Kurbaan featuring real-life couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor failed at the Box Office despite being critically acclaimed. Karan later on went on to say that the film was marketed wrongly as the first look featured a bare-back picture of Kareena Kapoor and the trailer had lovemaking scenes. The film was obviously much more than that but it was overshadowed.
Arjun Kapoor believes that audiences will understand that the film won’t have intimate scenes throughout the film. “Any sensible viewer, who watches the trailer, will know that the film is not just about kissing for three hours. It’s an aspect that comes and goes in the film. Trust me, all that you see in the film is already out there in the trailer. I don’t think our audiences are so naïve to believe the headlines that are being written about the film being all about kissing scenes. I trust our audience,” said Kapoor.
“The families are on the poster and the film is not just about two people. The film is a whole different world altogether and not about just about intimacy,” clarified the Highway actress.
A few hours after this interview was conducted in a Central London hotel, Alia Bhatt posted on Twitter that the film is not just about the kiss. We hope Arjun is right in trusting the audience on this one!
2 States released in UK cinemas on 18th April 2014