It’s one of those lovely monsoon evenings in Mumbai, when the reflection of the street lights glistens on the busy city roads, against the starkness of the cloudy skies. Kiara Advani is winding her way back home from a script reading session of her newest film, Satyaprem Ki Katha with Kartik Aaryan, to be directed by National Award-winner Sameer Vidwans.
“Fortunately, our pairing really worked well in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2,” says Kiara. “We started off on such a great note. We’ve begun to prep for the film and will be shooting later this month together. I’m excited to be working with him once again! It’s a love story, my favourite genre, where I play Katha, and he plays Satya. My last was Kabir Singh, which everyone loved!”
The Mumbai-born actor is really soaking up the sun (monsoon notwithstanding!) with the success of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, the highest grossing film of the year, and is now enjoying the success of Jugjugg Jeeyo, co-starring Varun Dhawan — literally back-to-back successes that have established Kiara as the new ‘golden girl’ of Hindi cinema. While she admits expectations of a sequel are always high, she says it was imperative that Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 have its own identity.
“It was just so overwhelming for the entire team. We worked on it for three years, even during the pandemic. Everyone was happy with the result. It was incredible to be a part of a family comedy that also has an element of horror and was part of a well-known franchise,” she says, delighted that the film brought back audiences to theatres in large numbers. “This year’s highest-grossing film has given the industry hope!”
Satyaprem Ki Katha has already creating a buzz in fan groups across social media. It’s said to be filmed in Gujarat. And while it’s the Ki-Ka pairing that’s got everyone excited, Kiara maintains a laser-sharp focus on her role and her task ahead.
“I surrender completely to the director, the costume designer and their vision,” she says. “In our readings, I get to understand the character — what she’d wear, how she’d feel — and then we see the final product. It’s an interesting process, a part of preparing for my role.”
And the beloved actor, who’s known for her wholesome characters — she played former Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s wife Sakshi Singh Rawat in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, co-starring the late Sushant Singh Rajput — knows how to connect with the audience.
“The more relatable you are, the easier it is to find this connect,” says Kiara. “I’m fortunate that all the characters I’ve played until now have been likeable and relatable (the adorable Monika Batra of Good Newwz fame opposite Diljit Dosanjh comes to mind). Even today, when I go out, a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘Preeti, Preeti!’ remembering my character’s name (in Kabir Singh with Shahid Kapoor).” For Kiara, it’s a gratifying experience to be remembered for certain characters.
“At the end of the day, it’s what you’re working for. It’s rare for actors to get so much love for these characters. I took a lot of risks early on in my career, be it Lust Stories (a Karan Johar Netflix production), or Preeti’s character. I’ve pushed boundaries as an actor, and my aim is to be as versatile as I can. But it should be relatable, and for that, my identifying with the character I play should be as organic as possible.”
This is an excerpt from an interview that was originally published in Hello! India’s September 2022 issue. To read the full interview, get your hands on the latest issue right here!
Photography: Vaishnav Praveen; From The House Of Pixels; Creative Direction & Styling: Amber Tikari; Fashion Editor: Sonam Poladia; Hair & Makeup: Mehek Oberoi; Production: Think Thesis