Kartik Aaryan for HELLO! India© HelloIndia

EXCLUSIVE: Kartik Aaryan, Geared Up!

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Nayare Ali

Kartik Aaryan is undeniably an uber-popular and sought-after youth icon. The exuberant actor, who has showcased his versatility in movies like Dhamaka, Freddy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, is filled with immense gratitude for the way his life has panned out, crediting his journey to the challenges from his early days in the industry. But today, Kartik is gung ho about his latest film in the works, Satyaprem Ki Katha, in which he plays a character he believes comes closest to his real-life persona.

Unchanged by the trappings of fame, Kartik has come a long since his days of struggle. From heading straight home to his parents and dog from sets to his manic love for cars and his fans, Kartik candidly discusses every aspect of his life in this free-wheeling chat with HELLO!.

HELLO!: Kartik, there was a time you shared a flat with many roommates. You’re now at the top of your career with your own space. How do you look back at this journey?

Kartik Aaryan: “I always look back with gratitude. The journey’s been pretty rough and tough. This industry is so vast, and the challenges are so many for those from both within the industry and outside. There are times when it’s difficult to make things work and hold onto hope. But I didn’t look at sharing a flat with multiple people as a challenge back then. I come from a middle-class family from a small town. So I know how to adjust even in the tiniest of places with many others. The challenges at the time were bigger. Like getting a break and learning how to survive in the business without a godfather. That journey, that struggle was essential for me to have reached where I am today. It’s made me who I am. It shaped my perspective and kept me grounded.”

Kartik Aaryan for HELLO! India©HelloIndia

H!: In what ways has your lifestyle evolved since finding success?

KA: “I love cars and bikes. In fact, I love travelling to shoots on my bike to avoid traffic. So one major lifestyle change would be my collection of hotwheels. Ask any car or bike enthusiast and they’ll say that no number of cars is enough! I’m too tempted to buy some more, but my mother has made sure that I don’t go overboard. She keeps a close eye on my expenses! Besides my love for wheels, there’s barely anything else I like to splurge on. I’m pretty content when it comes to materialistic things.”

H!: Do you think success has empowered you in any way? And are there any drawbacks?

KA: “Success has empowered me to pick better scripts, to wait and work with the best. But it’s a double-edged sword. When you have it, you feel immense satisfaction and validation as an artist. You experience the love of fans. You are inspired to do better and to push harder. On the other hand, it takes away your privacy. Your life is now open to the public. You don’t have a lot of time for yourself, or your friends and family. The pressure and expectations on you build. So success comes with both its perks and drawbacks.”

H!: It’s been a while since we’ve seen you play a romantic hero on the big screen. And you’re now working on Satyaprem Ki Katha with Kiara Advani. But the rom-com genre appears to have taken a backseat in Bollywood. Why is that?

KA: “I think the love and craze for romantic movies is still alive. Bollywood has always been known for its iconic romantic films, but I guess they’re trickier than even comedy. Today, the definition of love has changed, even though the emotion remains the same. When I pick a romantic movie, I make sure it has something real for the audience to connect with, for them to relate their relationships with. Luka Chuppi saw me as a lover boy struggling with a live-in relationship and later staying with his girlfriend and his family. With SPKK, as well, the attempt is to do something new but keep the romance alive. I hope audiences love this magic, and Sattu and Katha’s love story strikes a chord with everyone.”

Kartik Aaryan for HELLO! India©HelloIndia

H!: This is your second movie with Kiara. How different was the experience this time?

KA: “Kiara is a lovely co-star. She’s highly professional, and it’s always fun to work with her. The audience loved our chemistry in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and I guess they want more of us. So I’m really glad that Satyaprem Ki Katha happened.”

H!: How would you describe romance?

KA: “I’ve watched my parents’ marriage... My idea of romance is that love is always in the small things, and it’s the small moments that matter the most. Grand romantic gestures are great, but the real test is sustaining and nurturing that love on an everyday basis. I’m a complete romantic at heart. It spills out of me!”

H!: It’s been a quiet year for you in terms of relationship rumours. Have you just been focusing on your career?

KA: “(Laughs) I’ve stopped taking relationship rumours seriously. That’s the only way to live with them. While I’m focusing on my career, I haven’t closed the door on love. I’m an old-school romantic. I’m in a place where I’m not avoiding or chasing love. I take each day as it comes.”

Photos: Rohan Shrestha; Creative Direction: Avantikka Kilachand; Styling: Anushree Sardesai & Richa Mehta; Assisted By: Jhanvi Khatwani; Hair: Milan Thapa; Makeup: Vicky Salvi; Production: Dandelion Pictures

This is an excerpt from an interview from HELLO! India’s May-June 2023 issue. To read the full interview, check out the latest issue right here.