With Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and a string of successful films to his credit, Kartik Aaryan is undoubtedly the man of the moment. And it only makes this festive season another reason to rejoice. In an exclusive chat with Bombay Times, he tells us why Diwali is so special to him, early memories and more. Excerpts…
Diwali festivities were toned down for two years due to the pandemic. Is it liberating this year to be able to step out and share happiness?
It is indeed very liberating, and it just makes the overall atmosphere that much more positive. The pandemic was a tough phase for everyone. Celebrations had to be intimate and within four walls. People around us endured terrible loss and suffering. Any sort of celebration was the last thing on anyone’s mind. This Diwali is special because we all are healing. We are not just celebrating a festival, but also our fighting spirit, resilience and never-say-die attitude as people and as a country.
Diwali means buzzing streets, sparkling lights, new beginnings and festive cheer. Do you enjoy soaking in the excitement in the air?
I’m a complete festival person. I love Diwali for the love and light it brings along. I hail from Gwalior, where every festival is celebrated with great excitement and fervour, and I’ve carried that enthusiasm with me here. Festivals bring joy and positivity. They allow us to create beautiful memories with our loved ones which we can cherish for our entire life. I always try to spend all festivals with my family, friends and loved ones. Diwali especially is a favourite, thanks to the sweets, the puja, diyas, crackers and the gifts and blessings of my elders. I also think a little less noise during Diwali is much needed for the well-being of our senior citizens, our pets or strays. We need to be mindful of that.
What are your early memories of the festival as a child?
Bursting crackers, buying new clothes, waking up early in the morning before sunrise, gorging on faraal, relatives coming over… I remember as a child, I would wait for Diwali the whole year because iss tyohar par naye kapde banwaye jaate the. Diwali ki shaam pure ghar mein bhag bhagkar diye jalaate the hum log. Meri sister aur mere beech competition hota tha ki kaun zyada diye jalayega, kiske paas zyada pataakhe hain… yeh bhi ek mudda hota tha. Bachpan ki Diwali ka alag hi mazaa tha.
What’s the mood like in your house at this time of the year?
The mood in my house pre-Diwali is always chaotic, with the moving around of furniture for some intense Diwali cleaning. There’s a lot of enthusiasm and chatter about following rituals and decorating the house together, late-night random discussions when relatives come over.
You come from a close-knit family. Do you also join the rest of your family members for Diwali duties like cleaning and tidying up the house, even today?
Being an actor hasn’t changed how I celebrate festivals at home because, in the end, acting is just my job. In the house, I am a son first. If I’m at home and not shooting, my mother ensures that I help in the Diwali cleaning of the house. And I do it happily, without any complaints. It’s, in fact, fun when everyone in the family is doing the same task and there is hustle and bustle all around. The house has a mini makeover on Diwali. These are the little things that are actually the most fun. This year, I was busy shooting for Shehzada and Freddy back-to-back, so I couldn’t participate in the cleaning ritual.
Do you enjoy going to Diwali parties, or do you prefer staying in and spending time by yourself and your family?
You must have seen me stepping out for almost every Diwali party in Mumbai (laughs). Usually, we all are caught up with our respective schedules throughout the year. We all lead a hectic life, so during festivals like Diwali, it’s good to take a break and meet with friends. However, on the day of Diwali, like today, I like to be home with my parents and sister. Every year we do puja at home, light diyas and gorge on our favourite Diwali faraal prepared by my mom. This year, we are also celebrating Diwali, at my sister’s place. She is a doctor and couldn’t get a break. She stays as a PG (paying guest) in Navi Mumbai and won’t be able to come home. So, we have decided to go to her apartment and celebrate it together.
On the personal front, any new beginnings or purchases that you had saved for the auspicious festival? New car or a house, perhaps?
Let’s not talk about buying a new car, else my mom will kill me (laughs). She says I have enough cars and I shouldn’t even think of buying a new one for at least a few years. There is, of course, a dream of owning a private jet one day, but that’s not what excites me the most. I hope to do good work and entertain audiences more and spend quality time with my family on the festival. Okay, let me share some good news with you… I just bought a new apartment in Juhu, which is going to be my work pad.