She may come from one of the most revered Bollywood families, but Rhea Kapoor has carved a niche for herself in the industry. She is a fashion stylist, a film producer, and a big-time foodie – Rhea and her filmmaker beau Karan Boolani’s love for cocktails is also evident in their recent collaboration with Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve’s #PourOfGold digital campaign alongside couturiers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. In an exclusive conversation with Outlook’s Eshita Bhargava, Rhea Kapoor spoke about being an independent businesswoman, three things Kapoors are known for, Veere Di Wedding 2, and much more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Despite hailing from a family of actors, you’ve struck out on your own and made your mark as a businesswoman. How has the journey been?
I think I knew quite early in an age that my path would be different. I think when I was young, everyone suggested that I should be doing whatever my family does because it is easy for people to think that way. Then when I went to college and I came back from the first day on the 'Wake-Up Sid' set I just knew that I won’t ever be able to be in front of the camera and I will always want to be part of the process from beginning to end and then my interest grew from one to the other and I realized that I am someone who needs to multitask all the time and need to create all the time and be in control all the time. I don’t know this is a good or bad thing but that’s just kind of where it has led me. The journey has been very rewarding often frustrating because you have to create everything from scratch and that is a very painful and long process. But I think in the end it is worth it.
Kapoors are known to throw amazing parties. What are the 3 things according to you that the Kapoors do really well?
I really do think that Punjabi’s throw one of the best parties and we love entertaining and I love entertaining specifically. The three things Kapoors do really well is feed people, Kapoors are good at motivating people and Kapoors are really good at making Pulav (chuckles).
Share some tips on how to curate the perfect cocktail menu for your wedding.
I think that for a cocktail menu for a wedding you need to have a personal touch. There need to be memories attached to it. There needs to be some individuality attached to it. Think of the moment you fell in love with that cocktail who you were with, why you fell in love with that cocktail. I think also to keep a balance some dark spirits, some light spirits, something for people who really don’t want to ingest a lot of sugar and something that keep people sipping the whole night, it’s not too heavy. These are really essential. Understand your crowd and understand that the people coming in and what they like to drink and what they don’t like to drink. Take interest in making sure people have a good time. It is not just the cocktail menu; it is the secret to have a good party.
Tell us something about your association with Johnnie Walker.
Well, I was really excited to be associated with Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker is actually the first luxury name that I became familiar with growing up with alcohol and whisky because whenever we flew back we used to bring back a bottle of Johnnie Walker for my dadu and that’s how I started to learn about people valuing quality spirits and enjoying their drink and putting a value on that. It was my dadu’s favourite part of his day, having his drink and his snack, sitting with my Dadi. I remember that about him. I remember the smell I remember everything. I was so excited to partner with Johnnie Walker. It was like coming home.
Modern Indian weddings and your take on the ideal styling checklist for the brides-to-be.
I would say comfortable shoes first and foremost. Enjoy your wedding. Don’t be uncomfortable. Or have a shoe change-ready that is something that matches your outfit. The length of your outfit should be comfortable shoe happy. Don’t make it too long that you are tripping over it. Comfortable underclothes, something that compliments your outfit. I feel it is really important to have footpads, it is really important to have double-stick tapes. It is important to have all sizes of safety pins and nice pretty looking safety pins. I think people don’t understand that an outfit can get ruined by the details that just stick out. I also feel like it is really important to think about your hair and makeup and the presentation of how you are putting it all together. So, dream of that, look at pictures, and just be ready for it. Remember your environment. Don’t rock up to like a lawn Mehndi, sunglasses, and heels. You are not gonna have a good time.
Did you take charge of the food and drinks at Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s wedding back in 2018? What was the fun part of planning a wedding?
Yes, I did take charge of the food and the drinks at Sonam’s wedding and the décor. The only thing that I really sit on were her clothes. She did that herself mostly and I was just around as a sister and not as a stylist. I did say I like this I don’t like this, but that was only personal. Yes, the food and the booze and the décor were all me. In terms of organization and micro-managing. But the most fun part I think was just to correlate everything to the theme and to a feeling and to think of different ways to get people excited. Food and alcohol and can all be an adventure and that’s what I love.
What is it that you love so much about the craft of filmmaking? And what are the prospects for female directors/ producers in Bollywood?
I really like the idea of filmmaking because it a way to bring all different kinds of art and craft together. Music, visualization, fashion, storytelling, dance, so many different things. It is kind of a collage... a moving collage. Just the most complete way of expressing yourself. The most profound way to express yourself and I love that. I think the prospects for female directors and producers just growing and evolving in Bollywood. I think it is still pretty limited and I still think people can put you in a box but it is up to us to kinda breakthrough and do squash the clichés.
How come you are so committed to making fun films defying Bollywood's clichéd notion that women-centric cinema must perforce be grim?
I am committed to making entertaining movies because it is just my personality. I have never like horror movies or grim movies as such and I just feel like sometimes it is easier to give information or convince somebody of something or at least inspire a new perspective in someone when they are happy, they are smiling, when they feel good when they feel inspired. I just feel like it is a… I always like to present things beautifully with like a nice little stylish bow. I am hoping that the films I am making and the stories that I want to tell and the messages that I wanna give come through a little bit more because I am giving them to you in an entertaining fun and pleasurable way.
Will you ever become a director?
I would love to direct a movie sometime. I will do it when I am ready and I will do it when the right film comes along. I am nervous about it because I know how tricky that job is. Yeah, I mean I would like to.
When can we expect Veere Di Wedding 2?
Veere Di Wedding 2 will happen but I think it is going to happen in a different way than people expect. You will have to just wait and see.