WILL KARTIK AARYAN GROW UP?
Few would have predicted that a comedy in which a young man spends over two hours warning his childhood buddy against marrying a clever woman would become India’s third-highest grossing film so far this year. But Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is defying the odds.
Made on a budget of Rs 30 crore and with no A-listers, the comedy has crossed the Rs 100 crore mark (Rs 107 crore and growing), beating bigger films such as Padman and Raid in India. In SKTKS, director and co-writer Luv Ranjan goes back to the well, again appealing to an audience of young men by ridiculing women, as he did in the Pyaar Ka Punchnama movies. And as before, actor Kartik Aaryan anchors the film.
Both Aaryan and Ranjan started their careers with Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011). “There is a special connection that we share,” says Aaryan, now 29, with six films under his belt. “We understand each other really well. We have seen highs and lows together. I blindly trust him. I always will.”
In the Pyaar Ka Punchama series, Aaryan shared time with an ensemble cast. In SKTKS, he gets more screen time to showcase his comic range. “Luv sir’s writing has always been crazy, but with Sonu... he did let me improve a lot,” says Aaryan. The film’s success, Aaryan says, is proof that content packaged with commercial value works. “The songs and locations you see, everything is bigger than what Punchnama was,” he says. Box-office success aside, film critics have blasted the character Sonu for misogyny. “Rebound ek hafte baad gusse mein sex karke hota hai, c ***** e, chheh mahine baad dukh mein shaadi karke nahin,” he says, for instance. (You get over an ex by being angry and having sex a week later, not by being sad and marrying someone six months later.)
But Aaryan feels the detractors are reading the character incorrectly. “Sonu is a bit manipulative, he has shades of grey but he is still loveable. You root for him, you want his friendship to win,” says Aaryan. “We are living in times where we crave for selfless friends like Sonu, someone who leaves everything aside and tell us what’s right.”
With his 30th birthday on the horizon, Aaryan remains focused on youth-centric films. “It’s the audience that has grown with me. It’s almost 65 per cent of the theatre-going audience. They should not forget me.”
At the same time, while as an outsider he could afford to experiment, the success of SKTKS raises the stakes for his next project. “I understand it’s a crucial time for me,” he says. “Mainstream films are what I have grown up watching and what I relate to. It’s not about small
or big film, it’s about entertainment value.”