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Something About Sonam
|Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena and Photographs by R Burman and Styling by Nisha Jhangiani|
Published: Volume 18, Issue 12, December, 2010
The lights turn on. The music blares forth. She is ready to rock the afternoon away. In between quicksilver changes and vignettes of conversation on friends, family, fun and painting the town red, Sonam Kapoor weaves her own magic on the floor, as Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena takes in all the scintillating action
She moves quite effortlessly to the pulsating beat, casually choreographing a jaw-dropping sequence of poses that are more moods than friezes. She turns the space between the studio backdrop and the camera into a private dance floor, all her own. For, with the music resounding in the space, the crystals glinting in the flashlights, the young actor – with the long legs and slim frame – needs no second guessing or detailed direction to, well, get into the groove. She pouts and smiles, bends forwards and backwards, twists and turns with all the agility and grace of her young body.... The camera is almost forgotten in her spontaneous ‘living’ of the moment…. She is enjoying herself, being herself, celebrating being Sonam Kapoor. For her, the party has just begun....
Of a shooting star....
Inside, where Burman and Verve’s team are preparing for the task of the day is an oasis of controlled chaos and impending calm…. Dresses are being hung up in the wardrobe, stilettos are lined up in a military-like manner, lights are being set up…. Namrata Soni sweeps in with her make-up paraphernalia, staking her claim on the well-lit space in front of the mirror. All the while the music continues to rev up the tempo.
Amidst this bustle, cover girl Sonam Kapoor walks in quietly, for the moment alone. Standing tall, naturally, in flip-flops, she surveys the scene, even as her friend and manager, Alisha Dave, strolls in, seconds later. I exchange a little conversation with the girl who kick-started her career with Saawariya and then moved on to projects in a more commercial vein – Aisha and I Hate Luv Storys – but more dialogue is waived as she gets all set to turn on the heat, under the camera lights.
Sonam has settled down comfortably in the inner sanctum sanctorum, giving herself up to the ministrations of the team. She walks out a while later, a small hat perched attractively on her head. ‘Volume,’ she says, and the music gets louder.
From my vantage position on the sofa in the sitting area, I catch all Sonam’s reactions, even as they are captured for posterity by the lens. In between umpteen shots, the crew pauses to check details.... And I can see her standing behind them, looking easily over their heads to see her images. Her dil maange more…and more it is.
Soon, it’s time to break for lunch and Sonam’s tucking into home-cooked khaana as the rest of us dip into meaty subs or hot coffees. Taking advantage of the break in action, both of us begin our conversation that revolves on the year that is to end in a while. Excerpts from the chat that spans changes, tunes, fun, laughter, printed tights and tottering heels!
Of circa 2010....
Sonam puts away her plate, signals her boy to take it away, and relaxes on the low sofa before the next change and shot. Her year, like her life, has been filled with friends and fun. In fact, I Hate Luv Storys, as she explains, was made with friends Puneet (Malhotra) and Imran (Khan). “It was a romantic comedy and did not lie about who or what it was,” she states. “We set out to make a commercial potboiler. It set the tone for films that came later – Anjaana Anjaani and Break Ke Baad. It was a teenage flick about a boy and a girl. That is all.”
Another landmark event dotted 2010 – Sonam turned 25. She bursts out laughing, adding, “I cannot lie about my age. I am a quarter of a century old. I was probably around a year or two when Dad’s hit Ram Lakhan was being made. Yet though I am now all of 25, I am always treated like the youngest, for some strange reason.”
Of celebrations and bashes
Growing up in a filmi family did not mean she was allowed to have a starry childhood, late nights and relaxed curfews. Au contraire; for returning to Namrata’s domain, Sonam emphasises, “When I was too young, my parents used to put us to sleep at 9.30 pm. But I am passionate about dancing and at one of the earlier bashes that my parents threw at home, there was some music playing. I just walked down and started dancing. I love life and I grab every moment to experience it. As we began to grow up, the parties moved outside. But we had Diwali celebrations at home which were lots of fun. I was not allowed to go for many of their parties outside. When I turned 16, my parents let me go pubbing.”
In fact, Sonam led a relatively sheltered childhood. For as she points out, “My father did not like to take me to a party where there was likely to be press. The first time I went with him was for my friend Anamika Khanna’s fashion show, before I became an actor. I went because of Anamika. Everyone there was taking his pictures, but I was not bothered as I was more interested in the clothes at that point.”
Of birthdays and red-carpet moments
Family means a lot to her. No wonder then that the red-carpet moment that she remembers the most is the one she shared with her dad. Stretching out her stockinged legs delicately, she says, “There have been so many moments and all have been fun. But the one that stands out in my mind is the premiere of Slumdog Millionaire. At the event there was this exhilaration and positive feeling. I enjoyed being there. It was not my film. But ultimately it was not just about being a part of dad’s film event, but about it being such a big moment. Unforgettable.”
Of style and dressing up
What she does admit to having is her own style sense, something she has developed on her own. She laughs out loud, adding, “I don’t dress like my mom or my dad but a lot is to do with the aesthetic sense that my parents inculcated in me. My mum thinks I dress crazy. I just wear what I feel like wearing; I don’t think about it too much.” Her favourite is her “Balenciaga trousers and my see-through white shirt from Zara. It looks really sexy…and my high heels. I love being tall. It makes me look statuesque. But, I don’t think I am beautiful and don’t like looking into the mirror for that very reason.”
‘Colour me red’ is a line Sonam could have patented. She loves the memories of the moments she spent with her naani. As Namrata gives slight finishing touches before the next shot, la demoiselle points out, “When I was a kid, I would love being with naani. She wears red make-up and red nail polish. She is always in backless cholis – I used to sit with her and paint my nails. We would listen to old Hindi songs or she would tell me stories. And time would just fly.”
Of friends and frolic
Sonam bursts out laughing at Alisha’s expression and says, “My friends and I were such losers. We just had a good time. We used to go for drives. We used to go pubbing and clubbing. We haunted places like HQs and Insomnia. Today, when I still want to have fun, I go out with my friends. I play poker. I play video games. I love them. I read a lot. I go out in the night. Every month a new place opens up that we need to check out. But nowadays I am not in town. So I don’t have a life any more.”
Today as a star, she hankers after her many outings that have dropped considerably in number. “What I miss is going for shows – going out and stuff like that. I love people coming and meeting me; it’s nice to be liked. Now it’s impossible to go for things like the Kala Ghoda Festival or music programmes.”
On reel and real life
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