Kartik Aaryan is all over the place. Literally. He’s been travelling extensively across the length and breadth of the country to promote his latest release, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Visuals of this charismatic youth icon protectively shielding his favourite co-star Kiara Advani, as they make their way through throngs excitedly calling out their names, have been making a splash across India. Kartik sounds exhilarated yet exhausted as he speaks with HELLO!.
“I enjoy hanging out with Kiara. I share a great bond with her. This shoot got delayed due to the pandemic... We spent a lot of time together, and I enjoyed all our conversations.” The scenario is pretty much the same, be it in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, or Lucknow. His chock-a- block schedule is chaotic and taxing even to look at, but Kartik loves it as much as he loves his audience. “These days, I have breakfast in Lucknow, lunch in Delhi and dinner in Indore!” he laughs. “Every day, I’ve been travelling to a different city to promote the film. It’s the only way to connect with our audience on a personal level.” While traipsing around the country may sound exciting, it’s a harrowing task, with hurdles to overcome along the way.
“While promoting this film, we were travelling round the clock. There were times when it became difficult to coordinate schedules, or get business-class tickets, so we’d fly economy just to make it on time. It didn’t matter at all. I enjoy meeting my fans and having those private moments with them.”
And while he bonds well with the current crop of actors, not many are aware that Kartik is a diehard SRK fan. In fact, many moons ago, when this youngster from Gwalior first landed in Mumbai, Kartik drove straight to Mannat to get a view of his idol.
“It was my personal fan moment with him on a Sunday when I landed in Mumbai. Luckily, he noticed me. I didn’t share this experience with him when I finally met him... Though he has this aura around him and yet is so relatable. That’s what makes him a superstar.”
In Kartik, we notice an unflappable trait, calm and composed through all the twists and turns that shadow a career in Bollywood.
“I think better under pressure,” he admits. “I don’t get stressed as I perceive tough situations as challenges to learn from; I love what I do. If I’m not working even for a day, it feels as though there’s something missing. I enjoy everything from shooting to promoting a film, as long as it ensures that I’m working every day.”
Quick-witted, hard-working and talented, with an impeccable comic timing and a disarming smile. It’s unsurprising that this 31-year-old is the darling of the masses. As we speak on the eve of his big release, Kartik shows no signs of nervousness, supremely confident that Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 will be a resounding success.
“I’m sure of this film. I want to do good stuff and movies that everyone enjoys. I have Shehzada lined up for release later this year. It’s a commercial entertainer, and I’m optimistic about its success. I dream of becoming the number one actor in India. Hopefully, I will, someday soon. There’s no game plan as such. I just go with my instincts,” he shares.
As we go to the press, the movie has been declared a superhit, dispelling the gloom in Bollywood, which had been facing stiff competition from southern blockbusters.
Kartik’s filmography has a slew of box-office hits, dating back to his debut with bubblegum entertainer Pyaar Ka Punchnama in 2011. He’s seen his share of struggle since then, but found his mojo with Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety in 2018. Kartik followed this up with two back-to-back hits, Luka Chuppi and Pati, Patni Aur Woh in 2019. And since the Hindi film industry has a penchant for worshipping successful stars, every top filmmaker soon aspired to cast him in their movies.
However, ask Kartik who’s on his wishlist, and he pauses briefly before naming the man who all of Bollywood is besotted with: “I really want to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He’s a maverick filmmaker. I’d love to be a part of his stories.”
Photography: Victoria Krundysheva; Video Production: Viraj Joshi; Creative Direction: Avantikka Kilachand; Editor: Sonam Poladia; Junior Stylist: Anushree Sardesai; Make-Up: Vicky Salvi; Hair: Milan Kepchaki ; Wardrobe Courtesy: Marks & Spencer; Location Courtesy: The Quorum, Mumbai
This is an excerpt from an interview that was originally published in Hello! India’s June 2022 issue. To read the full interview, get your hands on the latest issue right here!