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Learn English with Kiara Advani. Join us as Kiara Advani opens up in an exclusive interview with Anupama Chopra on Film Companion Front Row. From her initial fears returning to interviews, facing the glamorous yet challenging life of acting, to discussing her personal growth, financial independence, and the nuances of the casting process. Discover Kiara’s honest reflections on her career, her marriage, and navigating the pressures of social media.

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Kiara Advani: The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

Kiara Advani


Host: Kiara, please have a seat. Thank you. Wow, it really is a packed house. How exciting.

Kiara Advani: Very. I was just telling Anu backstage, I said I’m a little nervous because I have not done interviews for the last six months. We didn’t promote the movie. We didn’t go out on, you know, the interview rounds. But I’m so happy that we’re doing this after the movie because now at least everyone’s seen it and we can have so much more to chat about.

Host: Yeah. Kiara, you always said that you wanted to always be an actor. There was no plan B. There was, you know, when you were a little girl, you were wearing your mother’s dupatta and dancing to Madhuri’s songs and Kareena’s songs and dreaming of being a Hindi film heroine. Is the reality of this very different from what you would imagine?

Kiara Advani: I mean, it’s far glamorous when you’re younger and you’re just seeing it on set. Of course, there are challenges, physical challenges like the cold and all of that. But of course, it’s very different from what I imagined. Not in a bad way, in a very interesting and fascinating way. But it’s different. I feel people, you know, what they see is only one side of… you’re seeing the best version. It’s like Instagram. You’re seeing the best version of everybody’s life. But there are a lot of challenges behind the camera that you face, everyone faces, every department faces. And that no one gets to see. And we don’t want you to see that because we want you to come to the movies and enjoy it. I mean, I would love for people to, you know, enjoy the movies as it is. You don’t need to know how hard we work to do that.

You’re all working hard in your jobs as well. And I’m sure you’re giving it your best. So there’s no, I mean, you know, we don’t have to make it sound so difficult. But there are, of course, there are hardships there. It’s not easy. It’s not so glamorous. And yeah, but the fact that we can make it look like that, it’s interesting. It’s interesting, you know, I mean, below the chiffon sarees, all the girls shivering while the men are suited and all of that. I was so happy that we went to Kashmir, and I got to wear like the jackets and the sweaters. And we kept it real for a change because I could just like just be, you know, I wasn’t like dying. Even though I kind of was under those jackets also. I said, oh my God, I don’t know how I’ve done it in the other songs and how we’ve managed.

Host: Have you ever figured out why women have to be in chiffon sarees and men get to like be fully clothed head to toe?

Kiara Advani: I feel it just looks amazing. No, I mean, it does. Like, come on. I also wanted to wear the chiffon sarees. How many times… Ok, this is what I’ve noticed about myself. How many times have you, you know, you’ve done something and you’re like, you know, you’re just doing it for the heck of it. But when the camera is on, you’ll sit straight. You’ll be proper. It’s how it is. It’s like even at the gym, if I’m working out, I’m saying this because we have the same, we’ve had at least the same trainer at one point. And I would work out with him and, you know, some would be like, No, yeah, no, I can’t do one more set. And, you know, I’m tired and let’s change it. No more squats, no more burpees for sure. But the minute he says, ok, let’s make a video for Instagram, 50 burpees and I’m killing it. I mean, I could be doing the next action film tomorrow. So it’s just how it is. You’re always putting out your best self in front of the camera.

Host: This is true. Is this how we convinced you to do more burpees?

Kiara Advani: That’s the best way to convince me. Just switch the camera on. Perfect.

Host: Would you now, Kiara, like Kareena did an audition for Lal Singh Chaddha would you do an audition today?

Kiara Advani: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I also auditioned for Lal Singh Chaddha. At the time, I didn’t know it was for Lal Singh Chaddha.

Host: Really?

Kiara Advani: Really. I really don’t want to see that audition, though. I think it must have been terrible. But I did audition for Lal Singh Chaddha. It was many, many years ago. My team is sitting there. We did, right, guys? They don’t want to say anything. I don’t know why. But anyway…

Host: They’re all just looking down.

Kiara Advani: I did. I realized much later it was for Lal Singh Chaddha. But I did. And I think it’s wonderful because casting is such an important part of filmmaking, of putting the film together. Because the right cast can really add so much more value. I mean, not to say it’s not about who’s a better actor or who’s, you know…

Host: Who’s a better fit.

Kiara Advani: It’s just, yes, who’s a better fit? Who’s more suited for the part? And it just adds so much more value to the film. I feel like in every, whether it’s your lead actor, actress, the father, the mother, every character around you. I mean, it’s always teamwork. And it’s so important to get the right cast for a film. So having said that, I feel it’s absolutely wonderful to audition. And it’s great to know if then you’re suited for the part or if you can look the part. So you need to see if you fit that, if you’re capable of doing that, if you know, if you can push yourself and look a certain way or be a certain way. And it’s normal. It’s like how we do look tests and, you know, try to get into the look and feel of a character.

Host: But that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. Because I like even 10 years ago, this very, very, you know, renowned international director who said to me that it was impossible to cast because no A-list mainstream actor was willing to do auditions. You know, so it’s a wonderful new space that all of you, you know, come with. I mean, everyone’s just more sorted about these things, which is fab. Which is just lovely. You know, apart from the acting, you also are the face of 25 brands.

Kiara Advani: Good job team.

Host: So I asked Sanjita, your lovely publicist, and she sent me this list and I was like, oh my God, it was incredible. And I understand, especially in the Hindi film industry, brands are also a marker of how successful you are. So it’s not like the West where a lot of them don’t do ads. You know, it’s just not seen as like the place for actors to be seen at a lot. But here it is. It’s a part of your job to be doing a lot of brands. But does the law of making a lot of money in very little time ever distract you from your real job, which is acting?

Kiara Advani: No, it never distracts me. I mean, acting is my first love. It’s like my first baby. It’s there’s a lot of passion there. So, I mean, I feel it’s yes, like you’re saying, it’s I think it’s a part of the job. It’s also nice that, you know, there are certain brands which are hereditary brands which you’ve grown up using and you feel, oh, how what an honor to be a part of this family and be taking this legacy forward. While that is one thing, the other… I don’t think it can ever take away from acting. And it’s correlated. I mean, today, if I’m not doing movies, these brands are not coming. Or if they are, then wow, I must have done something right. But it’s all correlated. Having said that, I feel it can never take away from the craft and from movies. And, you know, it’s… I would rather be on a film set any day over anything else in life. I feel that’s my that’s just my safe place. That’s the place that makes me happy. And I truly feel like myself there. It’s a magical space. I think anyone who’s doing who’s in a field doing something that they truly love, it never feels like work.

Host: Yeah.

Kiara Advani: And you feel a sense of liberation and freedom in doing that. You know, you could be any job, a corporate job, dancing, you’re an athlete, anything, an actor, whatever it is. But that’s it just comes to you naturally. And then you take it into the ads and you, you know, you expand with this talent. And I think that’s what I feel with all the commercials. And I do feel with the brands. I’ve also tried to be very mindful of the brands that I endorse somewhere. I feel it should fit with my personality. It should we should be saying the same, telling the same story or at least have the same core values and goals so that even the audience doesn’t feel cheated. And they don’t feel like, “Haan ye toh pachas ads kar rahi hai.” That shouldn’t happen. While that can tend to happen when you when you when you put a number to it. I wish you didn’t put a number to it. But again, good job, guys. We’ve really done well with the ads. Only they are clapping. They’re very happy.

Host: The other job, which is, I think now, and other like a whole other job, which has also become part of being an actor is, of course, the social media, right? You have like 30 million followers on Instagram. How do you and Sid decide what is public and what is private? Does he ever say to you, like, “Don’t post that. I don’t look good.”

Kiara Advani: All the time. He didn’t want us to post some of the wedding stuff we posted. That video. Oh, my God. That video that we posted, there was a lot of debate about it. Sid is a very private person. He’s a bit too private, you know. And I remember when the wedding filmer team presented us with this video and it was very quickly, you know, put together right after the wedding. They said, “We put this for you all if you all want to post it.” And both of us at the time were like, “No, let’s not. You know, it’s giving out too much. And let’s just keep it personal and private.” And Manish was like, “You’ll have to post it.” And we were like, “No, no, no, it’s too much.” Manish Malhotra. And we were like, “No, no, no, it’s too much.” And he said, “It’s just so much love and everybody’s waiting to see something. Why not, guys? Just put it out. You know, it’s for the… it’s like inviting people into that side that we couldn’t have everyone come to. So let’s share something.” So we did post that. But he was just like, “I don’t want to post any videos.

I don’t want to post anything.” And I said, “OK, fair enough. It is a private… even I don’t want to go into too many pictures and all of that.” So we do keep our private life, our personal life as private as we can. I think in your personal life, like for both of us, we are individuals as well. You know, we’ve both worked hard to come to where we are at today. And while we are a unit and there is, you know, we are married to one another, we do want to keep our professional lives and our work lives to have their own identity. And we don’t want our personal life to be the only focus because you’ve worked so hard and you’ve come so far that you want people to still be looking forward to your work and still be talking about that. So sometimes, personally on social media, I don’t share too many personal moments in my life. But professionally, I feel very excited to share as much as I can. And I feel that becomes like your little portfolio of… or like your little, you know, everything that’s happening in your life, you keep putting it out there, whether it’s promos or what, you know, shoots that you’re doing.

The first time I felt a sense of this overbearing, like something is overpowering me with social media was during the time of Satya Prem Ki Katha when the movie was coming out because I’d just been married. And I suddenly felt like there was certain, there was this very weird negativity that was going on about, you know, just certain scenes, “usne yeh kyu kiya hai, wo kyu kiya hai.” And maybe it was to do because, “Oh, now she’s married” and all of that. And I just felt like, “Wait, what has happened here? This is all too new for me.” Because on one hand, you know, people troll you for very ridiculous things. But on the other hand, people were trolling you because now you’re a married actor and you’re expected to be or say or do a certain thing. And that got to me slightly. And it got to me in a way that I was not able to just like brush it off. I was not able to see past it. It was really affecting me. My team was like, “Forget it. What’s wrong with you?”

Host: But you read everything?

Kiara Advani: I do. It’s not a good habit. It’s a very bad habit. I read a bit too much. I’m trying not to. But I’m human. Like, you know, I want to know what they say, especially when your movies, I don’t read on a daily basis. But when your movie’s coming out, you’re constantly seeing what are people, what is the response to whatever promos are coming out. And at that time, I remember there was a little bit of negativity that really got to me. And I didn’t even discuss it with my husband. I was just like, “I don’t want to talk about it because the minute I talk about it, then I’m going deeper into it. So let’s not talk about it.” And he had also seen it on his own and did not bring it up because he didn’t want to make a big deal of it. And he was the one who explained it to me. And he said, “Look, there will always be these, you know, these negative trollers, this and that, whatever you want to call them. But if you’re going to give so much importance to this and be sitting at home and crying and behaving like, you know, shit has hit the roof right now, what’s wrong with you? You don’t know them. They don’t know you.

These could be like certain fans who are not happy we got married. Like, just let it be. Like, they’ll grow up. But why are you going into that? Why are you letting it get to you?” And I realized, I said, “If he’s so mature about it, why am I sitting and feeling all of these things?” And that’s when I was just like, “Thank God I have somebody who’s, you know, who’s got so much wisdom and maturity and experience in this matter to kind of tell me that don’t pay attention to this stuff. Just let this stuff go. There’s so much happiness. Look at… I think as human beings, we tend to… even if there are fifteen people saying amazing things about you, you’ll tend to look at that one person who’s saying something negative.

Host: Always!

Kiara Advani: And that is something we need to change. That’s something I need to change. I realized that I need to focus on these fifteen people who’ve taken out the time to write something so moving and so sweet and so touching. And I’m ignoring them for one person who God knows had a bad day and for no rhyme or reason has given you something that really means nothing. Why am I focusing on that one person? So I think it kind of puts things into perspective, and makes you realize that you need to focus on the positive. And in a world of social media, there’s a lot of, you know, there’s both. There’s positives, there’s negatives. You have to focus on the positives if you want to be a sane person in this industry for sure. Any industry, actually.

Host: Yeah. But it’s wonderful that Sid is able to help you steer through these.

Kiara Advani: In this case, he really did. I have to say that.

Host: So here’s a question, Kiara, that I ask all actors whose partners are also actors. Because in my head, I always tell them that I feel like two actors must be sitting and just discussing process and what did you do? And this is what I did and this really helped. And everyone’s like, no, we don’t do that. Does that happen? Or this is just my fantasy about two actors being in a marriage.

Kiara Advani: No, no, we definitely don’t do that. We watch good films together and we do chat about that.

Host: And your taste is the same?

Kiara Advani: Not always. But it’s interesting because now we’re both open to, or rather I’m more open to different genres. I’m a bit of a, you know, I’m someone who’ll end up watching the same genre. Like I love romance films. I’m happy to be the brand ambassador of romantic films because I absolutely love any day, rainy day. You know, it’s my comfort space. It’s the movie. It’s my go-to genre. He, on the other hand, of course, is he likes to watch action. He likes to watch much more. I think his palate is wider and he’s introduced me to many more interesting films, actors, filmmakers. I was that kid who always watched only Hindi movies. So now we watch a variety of stuff, thanks to all the platforms and all the multiple languages.

But… but it’s interesting. I think it’s interesting when there are two actors at home, because you share experiences and, you know, you share… There’s a lot of… there’s common interests. There’s or you’ve been in situations where you can kind of help and guide the other person as well. So it’s interesting. I think it’s in our case, I feel it’s been quite helpful in that sense. I feel he’s also more mature than me. He’s seen more than me. He’s been in this industry a few years longer than I have. So it’s easy to sit and understand what one’s going through. You understand a person, you know, when you’ve had a hard day of work and maybe you just don’t want to talk to someone and you just want to be. But you want the person to be by your side. But just don’t talk to me. Don’t ask me questions. You know, we both have that. But you be here, you be in the room. But let’s just do our own thing. And that’s lovely. I feel like if you’re able to do that and just be in silence.

Host: It’s what my children say. Let’s spend quality time apart.

Kiara Advani: That’s what I told my mother all my life. And now, fortunately, my husband gets it as well.

Host: You talked about keeping your professional lives, you know, having separate identities. What do you, Kiara, find most exciting about being a financially independent woman?

Kiara Advani: Well, firstly, I must say that it’s a luxury. It is… I wish that every single woman is able to be financially independent. I really thank my father who insured both his children. And he always told me, he said, whatever you do in life, I want you to be financially independent. Whoever you marry, whatever you decide to do, be financially independent. Have your own identity and don’t be dependent on anyone, not even your own parents. And I feel for me that has empowered me to make the decisions that I make, to make the choices that I make. I remember a couple of years ago, I didn’t know where I was headed in life. I mean, of course, as an actor, I did, but I didn’t know my personal life. I didn’t know when I was going to be married or whatever. But I knew one thing. I said before I get married, I want to buy my own home.

Host: Really?

Kiara Advani: And I said, I have to do this for myself. And my dad nudged me, he pushed me. He said, you know, you’re doing well and you’re capable. Take a loan. Go ahead. And we had seen a particular property and I was a little skeptical. I said, no, but how would I pay it back? How will I do it? He said, we’re going to work harder if you take that loan. So you go ahead and do this, do it for yourself. And I did it. And it’s been very easy to work harder when you know you have something or when you know you have to pay back or you have to have that loan on your head and you work, you push yourself that much more. Not that I wasn’t working hard anyway, but that has been easy to do. But I also feel a great sense of accomplishment because I feel like today, whether I’m living in there, in that home or not, my parents are and I’ve done it for them. And this is just a stepping stone. There’ll be many more decisions that I make in my life like that. But for me, that was a great sense of accomplishment. And I think anyone sitting in this audience would feel that way, that if you’re, you know, the day you’re able to buy your first home, it’s a huge achievement. It’s a huge feeling that I was able to do this, especially in Mumbai, where the prices are like skyrocketing.

So for me, that was my first feeling of accomplishment, of being financially independent, of not having anyone’s help in doing this. Of course, my parents were always there to support me, but just to be able to do this for myself and for them just made me feel so fulfilled. And I honestly thank my dad. I feel he sits with me every now and then telling me to sit on my finances and understand, you know, where I’m spending my money, where to invest, what to do. He’s like, you need to be on top of it. You cannot be going from your father’s house to your husband’s house and putting that on anybody else. You need to be in charge of it. And sometimes as women, we tend to… we know that our dad’s there, you know, there’s a male counterpart who will help us out. But no, I think as women, we’re capable of doing anything and everything we put our mind to. And if we’re working and if we are financially independent, we should be well informed of our finances. And I know when my father watches this video, he’s going to show it to me tomorrow and sit with me and say, now that you’ve said this, sit with me and understand the next plan of action when it comes to your finances. I’ve given this whole thing. And when I’m at home, I’m like, oh God, today’s finance day. I’m like, you know, I want to do math and I don’t want to know about these different investment plans and all of that. But he’s like, you need to be aware of it. And I think as women, we need to take charge. We cannot leave it to the men.

Host: But hats off for buying your own house.

Kiara Advani: Thank you.

Host: Thank you so much. It’s always lovely to speak with you. Thank you. And thank you to all of you for being such a lovely audience.

Kiara Advani: Thank you.