By Joginder Tuteja
Insiders v/s outsiders, stars kid launch v/s non-star kid struggles – the debate is on. However one outsider, who is not a star kid and had absolutely no connection in Bollywood when he stepped into the glamour world more than a decade back, has quietly gone ahead and made a firm place for himself in the list of Top-10 stars and superstars that the country has today.
He is Kartik Aaryan, the young man who started off with an image of being ‘that monologue boy’ to emerging as one of the most reliable actors with a box office pull in the industry.
After debuting in 2011 with Pyaar Ka Punchnama as a 20 year old and making nine movies in nine years, today Kartik Aaryan is already gearing up for five more films in different stages of production.
It wasn’t easy though for 29 year old boy from Gwalior. Coming from the family of doctors and someone who was pursuing engineering degree in biotechnology, Kartik was dreamy eyed indeed when it comes to the world of Bollywood. That was also evident in one of the pictures that he put on the social media where he was all mooney eyed over the Chak De! girl Sagarika Ghatge and even wondered if he would be able to meet the superstar of the show Shah Rukh Khan.
From there to now, he has indeed come a long way, what with several box office hits and close to a couple of dozen prestigious grand endorsements under his belt.
Just like any other struggler who was new to the industry with no backing whatsoever, Kartik too hopped from one audition to another. The legend has it that one of his first assignments required him to simply hold a placard on the frame and smile for the camera for a nanosecond before it moved on to the next kid on line. A few more still and video advertisements later, he managed to bag a three hero and three heroine film, Pyaar Ka Punchnama.
Well, one can’t really say that ‘the rest is history’ because it was not.
Yes, his monologue caught up tremendously with the audience, yes, the film went on to be a sleeper success, yes, he was considered as this new kid on the block who showed promise.
However, this is where it all stayed. His next release Akaash Vani with the same director [Luv Ranjan] and leading lady [Nushrat Bharucha] flopped badly. It was one of his most special films with the subject of marital rape, and was also ahead of its time. Audiences just didn’t come in though and it was even worse with the next film. None other than Subhash Ghai roped him in for Kaanchi and for an ‘outsider’ whose last (and only) success was three years back, it was a desperate moment indeed.
The woman centric film had him bumped off soon into the narrative and it seemed back to square one for Kartik. He was still looking not in the list of the Johars and the Chopras and was continuing to work with the father-son team of Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Pathak who went on to make Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 and Guest Iin London with him. Former emerged as a big hit, latter flopped. However there was some respite as by now Kartik had also gone through a look change, was much more solid in confidence and had managed better visibility.
This was also the time when brand endorsements started coming his way and Kartik started concentrating a lot more on his building his own brand and image. After spending close to half a decade in the industry, he had become smart enough to realize that to survive and shine, he would need to manage his own sprint instead of relying upon others to propel him towards stardom.
Well, the results were there to be seen as with his next release Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, he delivered a 100 Crore Club blockbuster. He was the ‘dost’ of the show, someone who manipulates a relationship between his best friend and girlfriend. He didn’t even have his own girlfriend in the story. This could well have flipped either ways; after all, stories are known from changing overnight after looking something different on a storyboard. None of that happened though and Kartik gained maximum share of all the laurels and the appreciations.
That was the turning point, as from enticing the youth, this time around the young star had managed to find penetration amongst the family audiences as well.
This was evident with his next release Luka Chuppi, which turned out to be another major superhit. It could well have turned into a 100 Crore Club success as well but just fell shy of that. With consistent box office opening film after film and continued results as well, it was time for Kartik to score a hat-trick with his next release in the same year, Pati Patni aur Woh. This was a film that not many believed would go for the kill. However that happened indeed as yet another superhit was earned, albeit the century mark was again missed by a whisker.
From an ‘outsider’, Kartik Aaryan was now pretty much an ‘insider’. Yes, it was slow, but steady, and actually quite firm. This was also the time when the top guns of the industry started taking a note of him. Imtiaz Ali roped him in for Love Aaj Kal and though the film didn’t do well commercially, Kartik was appreciated for delivering his career best performance till date.
The line up ahead is anyways quite solid.
Karan Johar is already making Dostana 2 with him, there is another that he is planning for him with director Shashank Khaitan (of Dulhania series fame), Anees Bazmee has already shot most of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Om Raut (who has delivered Ajay Devgn’s biggest blockbuster Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior) is making an action drama with him and then there is remake of Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, Teleugu cinema’s biggest blockbuster outsider Baahubali series, also in the pipeline. Other than these five films, there are more on the anvil.
While things are already looking up for the young star who is indeed shining bright despite no Godfather backing him up, Kartik Aaryan is maintaining one factor right through, and that’s his humility. He has stayed on to be humble, is connected to his fans on a one on one basis, has time and again demonstrated acute fondness that he has for his family, especially his mother, and even during this lockdown period, is continuously engaged with the front liners in his popular series ‘Koki Poochega’.
Next year, on 20th May 2011, he would be completing a decade in the industry as Pyaar Ka Punchnama would complete 10 years. Well, that would indeed be a rock solid punch that the (then) 30 year old would be delivering!