With success comes responsibility: Kajal Aggarwal – Kajal Aggarwal is only growing from strength to strength, with her latest Telugu film Awe garnering some ‘Awe-some’ reports.
Tamil and Telugu cinema’s favourite diva, Kajal Aggarwal is only growing from strength to strength, with her latest Telugu film Awe garnering some ‘Awe-some’ reports.
Congratulations! Your performance in Awe is being raved about. All of us worked really hard on the film and one cannot ask for anything other than praise for it. I am not going to pretend, I am very happy.
The female actors lead the cast in Awe. Is there a break in the patriarchal system of South Indian cinema, where prominent actresses like you had to play secondary roles to leading men twice your age?
I don’t think I was ever a victim of that. With the exception of maybe one film, all my co-stars have been my own age. Having said that, there is a shift in gender equations in our films. Many young directors are coming forward with innovative ideas that do not adhere to gender biases. I love to work with young, enthusiastic directors. They know the future of Indian cinema. I would love to be a part of films like Awe and Arjun Reddy in the future too.
Interestingly, your character in Awe is not psychologically stable.
Yes! My character Kali is mentally unstable. She is distanced from reality. Before playing her, I consulted a psychologist in Mumbai who provided me with invaluable inputs. I read up a lot on mental disorder and discovered that mentally disturbed people appear so normal on the surface. Sadly, mental ailments are just not taken seriously in our country and often go undetected.
Is it important for you to play roles that are morally correct to you?
Yes, I will play only those kinds of roles. I don’t want to send out wrong signals to people out there. I won’t play negative roles or roles that would have a detrimental impact on the society. With success comes responsibility.
So do you pick roles with a social relevance?
Not necessarily. My next release MLA in Telugu is an out-and-out entertainer. My primary responsibility is to entertain my audience. But the movie-going experience has become extremely prohibitive. As a child, my parents would take my sister and me to the movies every Sunday. Today, families can afford a film only once every two months. The future of cinema lies in Amazon, Netflix and other web productions.
How important is it for you to relate to the characters you play?
It is important, but the challenge lies in doing characters we don’t know. The girl in Awe is someone I don’t connect with at all, but such people do exist. Similarly, in the last Hindi film that I did — Do Labzon Ki Kahani, I played a blind girl. The best thing about acting is, you get to explore areas of the human experience that you may not have access to.
How important is it for you to remain grounded?
Very important. Most of my close friends are from outside the film industry. They don’t hesitate in letting me know the truth, even if it hurts me.
What about that special someone in your life? Are you apprehensive that a relationship may affect your career?
Not at all. I am totally open to a relationship and will welcome it whenever it comes into my life. My younger sister is happily married. So like all concerned parents, my parents too want me to find Mr. Right.
Is it true that successful actresses meet fans rather than friends?
It is a problem. I just don’t get to meet enough men outside the film industry.
While your career in Tamil and Telugu cinema is going great guns, your career in Bollywood hasn’t really taken off. Any regrets?
None at all. Cinema is no longer language-bound. Telugu and Tamil are as Indian as Hindi. Besides, I would rather be the queen of my domain than play a prop in a Bollywood superstar’s film.