As of March this year, ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’s lead Kartik Aaryan is Bollywood’s latest entrant to the 100-crore-club that has been glamourised and popularised by the Khans, Kumars, and Kapoors of the Hindi film industry. Unlike them, however, Kartik Aaryan neither comes with the assurance of a godfather in Bollywood; nor does his filmography boast of a big-budget star-studded film with the Johars or Yash Raj Films.
What makes his achievement all the more extraordinary is the fact that it comes at the very beginning of his career. Kartik Aaryan is only six films old. In contrast, the two actors who accompanied him in the 100 crore-club in the last year are much senior. Varun Dhawan became the 100-crore-club hero with last year’s ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ and ‘Judwaa’, his eighth and ninth film respectively. And Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Padmaavat’ act ensured he became a 100-crore-club hero after almost 24 films.
What is worth noting is that these are both star-kids. Kartik Aaryan on the other hand, is a complete outsider in the strictest sense of the word. Granted that doesn’t take away from the immense talent both Varun and Shahid possess, but it also can’t be denied that their lineage certainly has made the process of landing films for them much easier. Kartik Aaryan on the other hand, has had to slog it out and get films either on his own merit or based on the box-office fate of his previous films.
At a time when it takes seasoned, talented heroes innumerable years, Kartik Aaryan’s sudden success has been the kind of anomaly a Khan-drunk Bollywood has hardly seen. If nothing, the 27-year-old actor’s early success might have just inspired a horde of aspiring actors who dream of making it big in Bollywood without any godfathers or filmi connections. Yet, we’re all aware of how cut-throat and competitive the industry can be, and yet Kartik Aaryan has managed to pass with flying colours. The question then is: What is the secret to Kartik Aaryan’s success?
To find an answer to that, look no further than his act in ‘Sonu in Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’. In the film, Kartik plays a charming Sonu, who is best friends with Titu and is extremely protective of him—to the extent that he is ready to go to any lengths to protect his best friend from a gold-digger wife or a girlfriend who doesn’t treat him right. In a way, this classic fight between the best friend and the girlfriend has been the oldest story in any guy’s life.
© pyaar ka punchnama
Regardless of how deep and unbreakable your bond with your oldest childhood friend is, the arrival of a girlfriend ensures that priorities are shaken. From there on, the girlfriend always comes first; a cruel truth that ensures that the best friend and the better half are no longer on the same footing anymore. Only one party gets to have the upper hand, and more often than not, that ends up being the fairer sex. Before you know it, the number of times you hang out with your guy friends dwindle, before it ends up occurring once in a blue moon.
But, how many guys haven’t once dreamt of a world where they protected their best friends from a dominating, possessive and an overbearing girlfriend? Kartik Aaryan’s brilliance lies in the fact that he gives a face to these unnamed countless guys, doing onscreen what they couldn’t do offscreen: protecting his best friend at all costs. In the film, he fights tooth and nail to make Sonu see reason and save from the clutches of Sweety who could have made his life a living hell. In making his best friend choose friendship, instead of love, he spoke for a generation of middle-class guys who haven’t felt represented on screen, and who have jumped headfirst at relating to at an actor who wants to place them in the limelight.
His debut role in Luv Ranjan’s ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ also follows this same trajectory. As Rajat, or Rajjo if you will, Kartik Aaryan gave a voice to the millions of enthusiastic lovers who were taken for a ride by their objects of affections. In a way, what makes his characters all the more relatable is the fact that they are unabashedly millennial and blunt. Take that famous monologue that heralded the actor’s loyal fan following, for instance. Besides the fact that it was a one-shot monologue delivered impeccably, its virality also stems from the fact that Kartik Aaryan made it so inherently male, shining a light on all the problems every guy in a relationship has to endure.
Before Kartik Aaryan and his brand of romantic comedies, Bollywood was only speaking for the macho or NRI guys who are used to spreading their hands, taking Euro trips with girls and making them fall in love with them via their charm. But with Kartik Aaryan, Bollywood also got a hero who speaks to the masses and is heard by them. He doesn’t sugarcoat romance, highlights the fallacies of being in a relationship as well. To put it simply, Kartik Aaryan has heralded a genre of movies meant only for the guys. And, for India’s middle-class men, that is the best news they could have ever gotten. Suddenly every Indian man wants to be Kartik Aaryan.
Couple that with his affecting acting skills, fashionable persona, and glorious screen presence, and you have a star in your hands; one who doesn’t need the backing of any godfather. It’s something that ace Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra has clearly identified choosing Kartik Aaryan to be showstopper along with Kareena Kapoor in Singapore. If that’s not evidence of Bollywood taking Kartik Aaryan seriously and accepting him as royalty, what is?
And after ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ touched the 100-crore-club, the actor did numerous interviews, claiming that this was proof that he had made it. Well, the gatekeepers of Bollywood certainly seem to agree.