Fit & Fa­mous

IN A NO-HOLDS BARRED IN­TER­VIEW, TUSSHAR KAPOOR GETS CAN­DID ABOUT HIS TRI­ALS ‘N’ TRI­UMPHS IN BOLLYWOOD, TRANS­FORM­ING INTO A HUNK FROM A LEAN BOY, EN­JOY­ING HIS SIN­GLE PAR­ENT­HOOD AND MORE...

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Huge en­trance, plush in­te­ri­ors, uni­formed do­mes­tic help… No, this is not a Balaji set. We’re at Kr­ishna Bun­ga­low in Mum­bai, vet­eran ac­tor Jee­tendra’s res­i­dence, for an in­ter­view with Tusshar Kapoor. Dressed ca­su­ally in black shorts and a tee, Tusshar comes down to the of­fice room where we are seated, af­ter put­ting his son Laksshya off to sleep. A hands-on dad, Tusshar’s day is now planned ac­cord­ing to his baby’s sched­ule. Af­ter a big glass of wa­ter and some de­li­cious choco­lates, we start off our in­ter­view… Easy­go­ing and warm, Tusshar speaks about be­ing a star kid, his strug­gle to sus­tain him­self in films, his trans­for­ma­tion from a lean guy to a mus­cle man, his de­ci­sion to be a sin­gle par­ent and more…

CHILD­HOOD AS A STAR KID

For some­one who lit­er­ally grew up in the arms of the in­dus­try and was ex­posed to the glitzy life from a young age, Tusshar comes across as a very hum­ble guy… “Ev­ery­one in the in­dus­try knows me since child­hood. I was well aware of my fa­ther’s sta­tus and fame. But de­spite that, both Ekta and I had a sim­ple up­bring­ing. We went to Bombay Scot­tish, an ICSE school, with kids from all back­grounds. We have al­ways had a very hum­ble up­bring­ing. “To­day, Laksshya is al­ready the pa­parazzi’s favourite but I want to give him as nor­mal a child­hood as I can.”

BUSI­NESS OR ACT­ING?

Grow­ing up, Tusshar re­alised he was good at maths and ac­count­ing, but act­ing was some­thing that nat­u­rally at­tracted him… “I went to the US for higher stud­ies and also to fig­ure out what ex­actly I wanted to do in life. The sub­jects abroad are wide, and I thought that will help me ex­plore var­ied in­ter­ests. For the first two years, I did lib­eral art and later on ap­plied in a busi­ness school. But once I started studying there, I re­alised I was good aca­dem­i­cally but busi­ness is not my world. “I de­cided to take the plunge in movies, but I didn’t know which part of it I would be good at – be­hind the scenes or act­ing. So I be­came an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor to David Dhawan in 1999, and while I was work­ing with him, I made some good con­tacts, who rec­om­mended my name to pro­ducer Vashu Bhag­nani, who was then look­ing for a new face for his up­com­ing project. He came, met me and of­fered me the role.”

DE­BUT DONE, BUT THE REAL STRUG­GLE BE­GINS…

While get­ting a foothold in Bollywood was not a strug­gle, giv­ing hits and cre­at­ing an im­age be­came tough… “My strug­gle started when I started shoot­ing for the movie ‘Mu­jhe Kucch Kehna Hai’. My di­rec­tor, Satish Kaushik, was very strict; he never pam­pered me just be­cause I was a star kid. Though I took act­ing classes, I didn’t have any fa­mous makeup artists or de­sign­ers dress­ing me up. I learnt ev­ery­thing on

“EV­ERY­ONE IN THE IN­DUS­TRY KNOWS ME SINCE CHILD­HOOD. I WAS WELL AWARE OF MY FA­THER’S STA­TUS AND FAME. BUT DE­SPITE THAT, BOTH EKTA AND I HAD A SIM­PLE UP­BRING­ING.”

the job through a lot of trial and er­ror when I started shoot­ing. It was only in the sec­ond sched­ule that I ac­tu­ally started to fig­ure out what and how things were happening. “Af­ter that, it was all sur­real – re­leas­ing the movie and pro­mot­ing it. To­day, new­com­ers have it all fig­ured out. They have their per­sonal pro­mo­tional strate­gies. “My first movie was a hit but I didn’t have a team to de­cide my roles and char­ac­ters. I chose my roles based only on my gut feel­ing – some worked, some didn’t. I made mis­takes just be­cause I could not say ‘no’ to peo­ple. Also, just to have the im­age of a big ac­tor and show peo­ple that I am con­tin­u­ously shoot­ing, I took up all the roles that came to me.”

FLOPS MAKE YOU WISER

Af­ter a se­ries of flops and dis­ap­point­ments at the box

“EKTA AND I HAD DONE A MOVIE CALLED ‘KUCH TOH HAI’, WHICH DIDN’T DO WELL. SO I DE­CIDED NOT TO DO ANY­THING TO­GETHER SO EARLY AGAIN AS IT MIGHT NOT WORK AGAIN.”

of­fice, Tusshar de­cided to take a break and do a film only if it re­ally in­ter­ested him. And af­ter a long wait, fi­nally, he gave a hit with ‘Kha­kee’. “I was lucky to be of­fered ‘Kha­kee’, a multi-star­rer, by Ra­jku­mar San­toshi. It was an in­ter­est­ing movie and I had a good role. Af­ter ‘Kha­kee’, came ‘Gayab’, and I was again shoot­ing movies back-to-back. “There­after, Balaji was mak­ing ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum’. Riteish (Desh­mukh) was al­ready fi­nalised for it and they were look­ing for an­other hero. Pre­vi­ously, Ekta and I had done a movie called ‘Kucch Toh Hai’, which didn’t do well. So I de­cided not to do any­thing to­gether so early again as it might not work again. But there was pres­sure from Ekta; she said, ‘Just hear it and then take a de­ci­sion. Just be­cause one movie didn’t do well does not mean we don’t work to­gether’. It was In­dia’s first adult com­edy. I read the script and said ‘yes’. And the movie was a hit!”

COM­EDY, MY MAIN­STAY

“Af­ter the suc­cess of ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum’ came ‘Gol­maal’. And then came my shootout se­ries (‘Shootout at Lokhand­wala’ and ‘Shootout at Wadala’) and all the movies were re­leased backto-back. So while I did a comic role in two, I played a gang­ster in the oth­ers. But I re­alised that I was be­gin­ning to build a fan base in com­edy. “When ‘Gol­maal 2’ re­leased and I re­ceived much ap­pre­ci­a­tion and awards for it, I re­alised that there is some­thing about this happy space where fam­i­lies like me, and I am good at. So I

“WHEN I WAS TOLD THAT I WOULD BE THE FIRST SIN­GLE CELEBRITY PAR­ENT (VIA SUR­RO­GACY) IN THE COUN­TRY, I WAS SCARED BE­CAUSE WE ARE QUITE A CON­SER­VA­TIVE COUN­TRY.”

de­cided to keep com­edy as my main­stay, and don’t want to leave that now.”

TURN­ING INTO A HUNK

Fit­ness was some­thing he was never into, but grad­u­ally, he got drawn to­wards it… “My weight al­ways fluc­tu­ated when I en­tered the in­dus­try; ei­ther I was ‘fluffy’ or lean but never re­ally had a fit body. In fact, I was al­ways on the heav­ier side. I used to work out but not very in­tensely. Af­ter 2006, I got a new trainer, Pramod, who re­ally made me con­scious about my fit­ness, and I con­tinue to work with him now. “I beefed up and looked tough with big mus­cles, and post 2014, af­ter ‘Mas­ti­za­ade’, ‘Kya Su­per Kool Hai Hum’ and ‘Gol­maal 3’, I went into proper func­tional train­ing mode. I have tried many dif­fer­ent phases of fit­ness but I be­lieve this is what suits me the best. “I have lean mus­cles which make me look fit and I love do­ing func­tional and high in­ten­sity train­ing, as I tend to put on weight very eas­ily. Func­tional train­ing keeps my meta­bolic rate high and I en­joy do­ing it. I also love dif­fer­ent kinds of car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cises like kick­box­ing.”

A PRI­VATE PER­SON

“Even though I have been a me­dia per­son, I like to keep my per­sonal life pri­vate. I have been in re­la­tion­ships in the past but they have been short-lived and not any­thing that I could pro­mote in the me­dia.

GO­ING THE FAM­ILY WAY

The birth of Laksshya has def­i­nitely brought much cheer in the Kapoor fam­ily. Tusshar proudly an­nounced the birth of his child in 2016 with the help of IVF and sur­ro­gacy… What trig­gered this de­ci­sion? “It was a lit­tle dif­fi­cult ini­tially but once I de­cided that this is the way I want to move ahead, it was not hard. The pa­ter­nal in­stincts in me have been over­pow­er­ing my heart and mind. I was 39 when I be­came a fa­ther. I feel that was the right time for me. “Then, when I got to know that the baby will soon come in my arms and I have to an­nounce it to the world, it was a lit­tle over­whelm­ing and dif­fi­cult for me. And when I was told that I would be the first sin­gle celebrity par­ent (via sur­ro­gacy) in the coun­try, I was scared be­cause we are quite a con­ser­va­tive coun­try, and I didn’t know what kind of re­ac­tion I would re­ceive. But I was pleas­antly sur­prised by the love and sup­port I got. I was de­lighted! “Friends, fam­ily, rel­a­tives, and spe­cially the me­dia have been with me in this un­con­ven­tional path I have taken. Every­body de­serves to have a fam­ily in any way they can. But chances of be­com­ing a par­ent were re­duc­ing. I could be 50 or 60 when I would get mar­ried but I could not wait that long to have a child. The bi­o­log­i­cal clock was tick­ing away. “Jaslok Hos­pi­tal re­spected my pri­vacy and the law, and ev­ery­one at the hos­pi­tal helped us. As per the law, the process had to be very pri­vate; the hos­pi­tal co­op­er­ated and did not re­veal any­thing un­til we were ready to an­nounce it.”

MAR­RIAGE GOALS

So does he be­lieve in the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage? And is he still look­ing for a per­fect match? “I to­tally be­lieve in the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage; I be­lieve liv­ing life, the tra­di­tional way.

I may have had a fam­ily in a very non-tra­di­tional path, but my val­ues are still very mid­dle­class. “All the same, I don’t be­lieve that mar­riage is made for ev­ery­one, nei­ther do I be­lieve that ev­ery per­son needs to get mar­ried. Ev­ery­one has their own right to choose. Mar­riage will hap­pen if it has to. Cur­rently, my lone­li­ness is ful­filled by my child.”

THE PER­FECT WIFE

Get­ting a lit­tle more per­sonal, we ask Tusshar what kind of part­ner he is look­ing for… “I have to be at­tracted to her, I don’t mean just by looks, but there has to be some chem­istry, some spark. I want my part­ner to be in­tel­li­gent, at least as in­tel­li­gent as me. She should be a good hu­man be­ing, and en­ter­tain­ing to talk to too.”

PAR­ENT­ING MANTRAS

Laksshya has al­ways been pa­parazzi’s favourite. We ask him if that scares the lit­tle baby, and how com­fort­able is he around the cam­eras… “He does not un­der­stand the at­ten­tion yet but he is very chilled out around the cam­eras. Be­sides, I am with him all the time so he knows that no mat­ter what, papa is al­ways there with me. He ac­tu­ally looks di­rectly into the camera lenses…” “Par­ent­ing, how­ever, is not hard for me… I just love watch­ing ev­ery new thing he learns. I ob­serve him play. I agree the process is very time­con­sum­ing, and I have to plan my day ac­cord­ing to my baby as I have no time to waste now.

“MY SIT­U­A­TION AND THE DIF­FI­CUL­TIES I WILL FACE WILL BE NO DIF­FER­ENT FROM ANY OTHER NOR­MAL MAR­RIED COU­PLE. I WILL BE AS IN­VOLVED AS I WOULD BE IF I WAS MAR­RIED.”

“MY PAR­ENTS AND SIS­TER ARE ALSO AS IN­VOLVED AS I AM WITH LAKSSHYA, AND I AM HAPPY THAT FI­NALLY ALL THE AT­TEN­TION IS NOT ON ME.”

In a way, his com­ing into my life has ac­tu­ally sorted out my time table. “I agree that there are some sac­ri­fices to be made but it’s all good, and I feel more fo­cused now. I feel em­pow­ered be­ing a sin­gle par­ent, and not hand­i­capped. “My main mantra is to value the time we spend with the baby as par­ents, and cher­ish those mo­ments. Be­cause the qual­ity of time spent mat­ters in boost­ing the con­fi­dence level of the child. “Right now, I am al­ready wor­ried about his school ad­mis­sions, his fu­ture, what will be his ap­ti­tude, will he want to be an ac­tor when he grows up or some­thing else. I will be very happy if he wants to be an ac­tor, but all that de­pends on him. My sit­u­a­tion and the dif­fi­cul­ties I will face will be no dif­fer­ent from any other nor­mal mar­ried cou­ple. I will be as in­volved as I would be if I was mar­ried. Be­ing a hand­son par­ent does not de­pend on whether you are mar­ried or not. “My par­ents and sis­ter are also as in­volved as I am with Laksshya, and I am happy that fi­nally all the at­ten­tion is not on me.”

With co-stars

With Ekta

Li’l Tusshar with sis Ekta

With dad Jee­tendra

With son Laksshya

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