Kartik Aryan, the Birthday boy who loves to be loved

Kartik Aryan turned 30 on Sunday. But he strikes me as being 13 or maybe 15, no more. He is childlike in his enthusiasm to win approval

Photo Courtesy: Social Media
Photo Courtesy: Social Media
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Subhash K Jha

Kartik Aryan turned 30 on Sunday. But he strikes me as being 13 or maybe 15, no more. He is childlike in his enthusiasm to win approval. And he loves to be loved. I think Kartik became a film actor only so that he would get optimum attention. It took time, though. And Kartik being a Scorpio had no patience to wait for stardom to happen.

Director Luv Ranjan found Kartik on Facebook. He had auditioned at least 50-55 young aspirants for the role in Pyaar Ka Punchnama. It was Kartik who got the role. The boy from Gwalior finally got his break.

Recalling his initial days of struggle Kartik in an interview to me in 2018 had said, “I started really young and was youngest (sic.) actor to debut as a lead in a movie and before entering the industry a senior person had told me once that generally, it takes 7 to 8 years to make your identity in this city, Mumbai. It may sound (sic.) a long span of time but trust me you won't even realise and it will go like this (sic.). But I feel you need to go through your own journey of struggle. It's important, its neccesary. It teaches you a lot about life. It makes you to (sic.) value things in life. I used to travel from Navi Mumbai to Andheri for auditions via local train everyday. I used to get ready in railway stations’ washroom. But I had no option. I didn't know anyone in the city. But today I feel happy and proud when I look back at (sic) those days.”

(I have not changed any words in the quote, because Kartik doesn’t like his words changed in interviews).

I remember he was first noticed doing his misogynistic monologue in Luv Ranjan’s Pyaar Ka Punchnama. Looking back at that vehemently viral voice striptease, it seems like an embarrassment, almost like a waiter rattling off the menu at a roadside dhaba. Initially Kartik was happy just getting recognition.He would rattle off the monologue on request with push-button dexterity.

But the sheer constraint of being ‘that boy who did the monologue’ began to get him.During the last two years Kartik has been desperately desirous of acquiring the image of a ‘serious’ actor.With this purpose in his mind he surrendered to Imtiaz Ali for Love Aaj Kal which turned out to be disastrous for both Kartik and Sarah. Both are energetic, physical actors, not much into expressing angst in close-ups. Imtiaz’s blurred vision couldn’t see how off-the-mark his judgment was this time, how miscast Kartik Aryan was in a role that was written for Ranbir Kapoor.

Success has come Kartik’s way with difficulty. He is loved by the audience for his flippant frivolous flirtatious lover-boy roles, the lighter the better.Why darken the light road with hurdles? Why not just be happy with the success that has come his way, and not without a struggle?

Has success changed Kartik? I think it has. But it’s also the way we perceive successful people that has changed. Kartik doesn’t drink alcohol, so he makes a hasty exit from parties. If he did that now we would say, ‘Look at his starry behavior. Nakhre toh dekho.’

So yes, success does change the pieces on the board. I don’t know if Kartik is still the same or pretending still to be the same. The answer to that depends on how good an actor he is.

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