Kartik Aaryan: Success of Dhamaka gave me confidence to explore outside my comfort zone

Bollywood Entertainment

The biggest surprise or ‘dhamaka’ of 2021 has been Kartik Aaryan as Arjun Pathak. The actor wrapped up this year with a bang with Dhamaka, his superhit release. The movie has become a favourite among his fans and critics alike. And after having impressed the audience with this whole new genre, Aaryan promises to deliver even more varied and surprising roles in the coming year.

With your OTT blockbuster, Dhamaka, people saw your true potential as an actor in a new genre. How do you feel when you look back at 2021?

When Ram (Madhvani, director) sir put his faith in me and gave me this author-backed role of Arjun Pathak, I instantly knew I would put in my blood, sweat, tears and anything that the role demanded to make it happen. It was a conscious decision to step into a different arena, but also a risk that paid off. I was overwhelmed with the love the film received, be it from the audience or critics. The praise and love for my role gave me a huge sense of validation as an actor. Dhamaka’s success has also given me the confidence to explore things outside of my comfort zone and push the envelope. Also, it was my debut on OTT and it has been such a dhamakedaar one that it has made 2021 extra special.

How does it feel to be on most filmmakers’ wishlists and to have an incredible lineup set for release next year?

I feel blessed and my heart swells with gratitude that, as an outsider with no connections to the industry, I am now topping big filmmakers’ wishlist. I’ve dreamt of being an actor for as long as I can remember, and now I’ve reached a position where I can actually choose the kind of films I’d like to do. And once an actor reaches that stage, one has to double up their hard work. So, today when I see my forthcoming films, be it Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Shehzada, Freddy, Captain India or Sajid (Nadiadwala, filmmaker) sir’s love story, they all belong to different genres, and this makes my journey exciting.

The actor feels that small gestures by his fans really make him happy and make him think that all his hard work is worth it
The actor feels that small gestures by his fans really make him happy and make him think that all his hard work is worth it

As an incredible year for you comes to a close, what’s on your wishlist this New Year?

The year 2021 has treated me well. I am safe, healthy and so are my family and loved ones. It has also been a great year professionally, one of risks and rewards. Dhamaka changed the perspective of filmmakers towards me. I hope 2022 is just as kind and rewarding. I can’t wait for audiences and my fans to see me take on different roles, and I hope to have their continued support and love.

With such a varied lineup spread across different genres, are you consciously choosing to do different kinds of films?

Yes, that is something I started thinking about more recently, once I had that opportunity to really choose my projects. I want to expand my boundaries as an actor. I want to play many characters and live different lives. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the kind of roles I have already done, but even in those spaces, I would like to try and do things differently. I think it is very important to reinvent and move with the times. That, to me, is a mark of a great actor.

You have one of the widest and most ardent fan bases in the country today. Has any fan story, in particular, stood out for you this year?

I think the #KartikPurnima trend really surprised me — fans dedicating a day to you, expressing their love, sharing videos, performing rituals. Even the one fan who kept a fast for me was something that I never expected fans would do. I feel so eternally grateful. Another interesting incident was when a fan showed me a tattoo she got for me — a permanent inking of my name and birth date. Such small gestures by my fans really make me happy and make me think that all my hard work is worth it, as I receive so much love.

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