Kapoor & Sons – Family and Drama always go together
They are the next generation of Hindi cinema who have carved a niche for themselves in the industry. Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan are all set to enthrall us in their upcoming film, Kapoor & Sons produced by Dharma Productions. The film which is ‘not a love triangle’ has already generated much interest with the endearing trailers and everyone is eager to know how the story plays out. We caught up with the dynamic actors to know more about the film, their roles and their chemistry with each other.
What made you want to be a part of Kapoor & Sons?
The story. One would imagine that as an actor I would assess basis how much of a part I have or how many I get or who is the director. But that’s not why I went for this film. If you look in retrospect, my screen time will probable be the least of all the characters. But I do films because of the film itself, because of the character, the story and the power of the screenplay. I feel this is a very unique story that has not been told. Ghar ghar ki kahani hai – everybody has a family, everybody has fights, everybody has laughs and conflicts. So you’ll be able to relate to it instantly. And we are just representatives of the film. Rajat sir, Ratna ma’am and Rishi sir are the essence of the film.
After Shaandaar, are you being a little more conscious while selecting scripts?
I think I was always very conscious and always very picky. But I feel that after Shaandaar I have calmed down way more. I know that if it’s a good film it will always do well, and if it’s not a good film it won’t. You can’t make an average film pass any more. Only good films and good content is working.
How would you describe your role in Kapoor & Sons?
My character Tia is a free spirited, happy, open and easy going girl who is covering up a mountain of depth.
My favorite thing is when an actor catches you off guard, because then you have the most natural reaction
Is there a process that you follow to get into a character?
No, I normally go with the flow and the director’s vision. But in Udta Punjab where I was playing something very different from my character and personal life, it was a big step away. So I had to prepare extensively.
You are a very spontaneous actor. So how did that play off with your co-actors Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan while acting?
I think Fawad is also very spontaneous. Sid (Sidharth) is very good at improvising. You would decide how you want to say a line, but suddenly at the end or in the middle of it, he will catch you off guard. And I love that. My favorite thing is when an actor catches you off guard, because then you have the most natural reaction.
Tell us about your collaboration with director Shakun Batra. What kind of a director is he on the set?
I have collaborated with him before, not for a full film but for Genius of the year, which was a big hit, so hopefully Kapoor & Sons will be a big hit too. Shakun is amazing. He is one of the best directors that I have worked with. He is so easy in terms of taking any criticism or suggestions very well. He is very adjusting and compromising.
And how was the experience of working with Rishi Kapoor once again?
It was amazing. He is a very entertaining person to have on set. And hats off to him for sitting in that chair for five hours each day and getting all that make up done. The one thing that I learned from him was that even after so many years of doing the same thing again and again, he is still as passionate about his work as he probably was at the beginning. And when you’re passionate, the sky is the limit.
I have grown up a lot but a part of me wants a little bit of the same unknowingness
Do you have a dream role?
I don’t know about a dream role but a dream genre maybe. I would love to do an action film and I want to do a comedy too.
From Student of the Year to Kapoor & Sons, how would you describe your growth in the industry?
I think each film has been a different experience for me. I have grown up a lot but a part of me wants a little bit of the same unknowingness, where I was very unaware of what was happening. And I miss a little bit of my naive self who didn’t know anything. The one thing that I am grateful for is the support that I have had from my family through this whole journey.
How do you choose a film that you would like to be associated with?
I feel that there is one thing that we don’t tap into enough and that is a middle class family story; scenarios like The Pursuit of Happyness. I feel that these kind of films connect more with the masses and this is what is commercial – to live the life of an average man and show the average man that there is no reason to despair, there is only reason to move forward. And that I feel is an inspiring story. These may commonly be real stories but even if they are fiction, any real characters are more inspiring.
Is working in India different from working in Pakistan?
The mechanics are the same – the shooting, the craft of acting, performing in theatre or films or even recording a song, is pretty much the same all over the world. The place where the difference lies is in technical expertise. And more than the expertise, it’s also about the availability of the technicians. In the last few years, the industry in Pakistan has rebooted and the technicians are now getting accustomed to the film format as opposed to what they have done in advertisements and TV. It will take some time for them to catch up but eventually they will.
The place where the difference lies between India and Pakistan is in the technical expertise
‘Two brothers falling for the same girl’ is a story that has been reprised over and over again. How is the treatment different in Kapoor & Sons?
I think the treatment is the original part of the film. It has been treated in a very subtly nuanced way where the actor is not larger than life. We have so many films where the actors are embroiled in some conflict; like Sidharth’s previous film, Brothers where there was something or the other that kept instigating the action. The thing that makes Kapoor & Sons so adorable and lovable is that it keeps bringing the focus to the relationship between the people. As opposed to a single person carrying the film, this film is carried equally by all the characters.
How do you work out the finer details of the characters you play?
I ask the director various questions ranging from where was this character born to his favorite food, what he likes to do, his favorite gaali and so on. I feel that these things add more dimension to the character and allow you to play with things and form habits. If that is not given to me in the material then I invent it.
Tell us about the experience of teaming up with Alia Bhatt.
She is a wonderful actor and whatever interaction that I have had with Alia, I ave understood her to be a very intelligent and extremely observant person. She is very informed about her craft and the mechanics of the industry and how it works. At such a young age, she has accomplished so much.
The medium is not important as long as the story is enjoyable
You have a huge fan following in Pakistan and India as well. Does it make you nervous while performing?
Of course it makes you nervous because people’s expectations are high. And you feel that if people don’t like your performance then they would call you a ‘one hit wonder.’ Acting allows you to compete with yourself, and fight harder and be better than before. So that apprehension will always be there, but if it works, then it works.
You have worked in television and films too. What next would you like to experiment with?
I’d like to play more characters, and I hope that my fans support me in this. But I’d like to depart from the roles that they have seen me in –’Humsafar’ or ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’. I’d like to get out of that and try something new – I look up to actors like Peter Sellers who are called behroopiyas. In Pakistan also, we had an actor, Mohin Akhtar, who is unfortunately no more. He was one of the greatest assets of the fraternity. Even in India, actors like Mehmood were known for their disguises. I feel that one should constantly change their outlook and keep themselves fresh and I want to get into that zone. The medium is not important as long as the story is enjoyable and so is the character with which you can play around and entertain your audience with something new every time. Or else the audience will get bored and I don’t want that time to come. If this is my career, my passion, then I want to give it some longevity.
What made you want to be part of Kapoor & Sons?
Being Dharma Talent, most of the scripts are bounced off us. So when I read this script I just loved the simplicity of it and said yes to it. I guess once I said yes then the others – Alia (Bhatt) and Fawad (Khan) also followed.
When you do a serious film, it’s a little difficult to improvise or catch your co-star off guard and play off of their reactions
What’s your character in the film like?
I play the role of an aspiring writer while my brother (Fawad Khan) is already an established writer. The story is a simple one about a middle class family. I could relate to it because the dinner table sequences shown were very relatable for me. I too have an elder brother and my grandmother used to stay with us, while in the film we have a grandfather. In every family there will always be one child everyone is fond of, who is everyone’s favorite. While I was the ‘you should be more like your brother’ son (laughs). So the story was very much like a normal family and so it appealed to me.
Having worked in an action drama, romantic thriller and romantic comedies, if you had to pick a favorite genre, which would it be?
After having done Ek Villain and Brothers which were both intense films, I was looking forward to doing Kapoor & Sons and Baar Baar Dekho which are both comparatively lighter films. When you do a serious film, it’s a little difficult to improvise or catch your co-star off guard and play off of their reactions. Lighter films have more scope that way.