Actor Kartik Aaryan is the man of the moment and the youth of the country clings to every word he says. When we take him to Juhu Beach, Mumbai for this exclusive shoot, a crowd gathers in no time. But the Tricolor already has his attention!

As we celebrate the 75th Independence Day, the 31-year-old talks to us about freedom:

How much has the way you view Independence Day changed? From just another vacation at school to now when you’re an adult…

I studied at St Paul’s High School in Gwalior and my Independence Day memories go back to my school days. I remember the flag raising ceremonies we had, where we participated in special Independence Day programs. I even remember waiting for laddoos, listening to patriotic songs, feeling an extra amount of pride, but over the years, when you learn more about history and grow up its impact in your life, it becomes more real. I realized how much it is to be a part of such a wonderfully diversified country and how people serve the nation and give more than anything for it. so the idea then shifted from a fun vacation to a deep sense of responsibility and gratitude for those who made it possible. Today’s feeling is also an immense love for our motherland – Bharat Mata…a feeling that exists every day but gets super special on Independence Day. A few years ago I was invited to my old school as the main guest and I attended the flag raising with thousands of young children, it was a special feeling full of nostalgia and also with so much of the incredible love I received from the students there. It felt like life was round.

What do you think the current generation wants from their country? What are the ambitions of today’s youth?

Opportunity! I feel that the youth in India, the highest youth population in the world, is packed with potential, equipped with advanced skills and above all hard working to the core. We are always looking for opportunities to hurt, striving for a better future, a better life… They are highly motivated, ambitious with a go-getter attitude. With the right opportunities, there is nothing that we as Young India cannot do.

It’s our 75th Independence Day. What is that one thing that you think we still need freedom in today’s time?

I don’t know if we can call it ‘freedom’ of it… but it certainly needs to be erased is the pressure on children and young minds. From the time a child is in his or her school age to the time his or her teen graduates – there are times when they are always pressured. Their academics, the stream to choose, the profession to choose – these decisions are often not made by the children, but rather by their families and parents. It’s really sad that a young mind who probably already has the potential to explore his or her desired territory. This pressure starts at a very young age and lasts for a long time. It is really less talked about and sometimes it is not healthy for the mental state of the person. So hoping that somehow there would be a way to erase this problem and guide our youth in the right direction…if their hearts and minds long for something that can shape their future.

When we talk about independence, there is a certain pressure that has to come on a star like you. On social media or in public, every word you say will be scrutinized. Do you think that detracts from your independence in that regard?

I wouldn’t say that social media takes away my independence, because I’m still me there. I don’t depend on anyone else to come and tell me what to do and still do everything the way I feel. Independence and freedom is still there. It’s absolutely nothing that takes away my independence or freedom, but yes you have to be aware of what you’re saying there which I think is a normal practice for anyone that people in general should practice because whether it’s a star or not, social media has the power to influence the people who follow you and view your stories and posts. So in general I think people should be more careful with what they say. Actually think twice before speaking out is what they say right? Like I feel like I’m where I am because of my freedom to really show my fans who I am, and by being as real as possible.

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