~Rhea Kapoor addresses nepotism, and conducts a candid chat with father Anil Kapoor on his journey in the film industry, his positive approach and the secret of this evergreen image~

Undoubtedly the highlight of the day, the evening saw a candid conversation between superstar Anil Kapoor and his Producer daughter Rhea Kapoor. The actor was welcomed to a loud cheer by a packed house with some even dancing and performing his signature step as a sign of affection towards their icon.

After settling down, daughter Rhea took turns to ask her father about questions pertaining to his journey in the film industry, his positive approach, his fitness and more.

While speaking about his foray into the film industry, the Mr India fame actor said the decision to pursue a career in acting was easy. Anil said, “I was a horse with my blinkers on. From the moment I came to my senses I wanted to be an actor. I was very fortunate to get a break in the form of a young Shashi Kapoor’s role. Since then I have not wasted, constantly dreamt, worked on my craft and worked on being a people’s person. But I am still a work in progress.”

Daughter Rhea then asked her father about the qualities and traits necessary to be an actor, and asked if academic training in theatre and acting is important or whether instincts and practical knowledge matters more. While answering this question, Anil Kapoor said, “To have a foundation of academics is great. But it needs to combined with instincts. Everything cannot be studied and planned. I credit my success to my preparedness to fail. But now the stakes are much higher.”

The actor further elaborated, “There are no shortcuts to hardwork. I believe that if you’re a trained actor in today’s times, it becomes easy for the director and the writer to mould you. Focusing too much on looks can stagnate you as an actor. It may work for a short period of time but soon there will be nothing left inside to give to the audience, to the writer and to the role. Try and increase you shelf life by being physically, mentally and spiritually fit.”

When asked about the secret of his young appearance, the actor who is a few days short of being 62 years old, said, “I need the energy and stamina to portray the characters. In the process I started looking after myself and working out. I believe you have to look after yourself. For me as an actor I have only one lifetime. I want longevity. I have always believed in marathon. I was never a 100m race person. I have been consistent, committed and worked hard, which is why I have been in the business for 38 years.”

When asked by an audience member about what her chosen career path would have been had she not been Anil Kapoor’s father, Rhea Kapoor in a frank fashion said, “I am aware of the whole nepotism debate, I know of the privileges of being Anil Kapoor’s father. But I have had only one father. I cannot help it.” The fashionista then added, “I have been interested in subjects like interior designing, fashion, visual arts and a multitude of other things. But for now I have my focus on producing films.”

Jim Sarbh and Chitrangada Singh get candid about their acting process

After raking in accolades for his performance in films like Neerja, Padmaavat and SanjuJim Sarbh is finding himself in the news for all the right reasons. The actor was seen in an In-Conversation session with the gorgeous and talented actress Chitrangada Singh to talk about ‘Unmasking the character actors’.

Actors Jim Sarbh and Chitrangada Singh

When asked if it has been an overwhelming experience to have made a mark for himself in a relatively short span of time in mainstream cinema, Jim Sarbh said, “I had acted in the theatre in the States and Mumbai for 4 years before I was cast in Neerja. The journey of acting has been an ongoing process. Getting cast in movies was just a matter of time. When I got cast in Neerja and the role was enough to sink my teeth in, I was very grateful. Sometimes, it is overwhelming – not because of acting, but because of the people that I suddenly have to deal with. It’s about managing this whole new world of egos, hierarchy which is not prevalent in theatre. I enjoy the acting part, I would like to be cast in everything always.”

Recalling the incident when popular filmmaker Ketan Mehta showered praises on Chitrangada for her performance in her debut film, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, by saying that she reminds him of the legendary actress Smita Patil, Chitrangada said, “Till date I remember exactly how he said it. He was very close to Smita ji and he was very moved after watching the film. I couldn’t say anything at that point. But it was very special. It was one of the best compliments I have ever received.”

When asked to talk about character actors, Jim said, “Aren’t we all character actors? I don’t understand any difference between character actors or any other actors. In general, we make this clear distinction between, ‘hero’, ‘villain’, damsel in distress’, ‘character actor’ – it makes no sense to me! Heroes can be women, villains can be women, damsel in distress could be men and usually all people all three of those things at different times in their lives. I don’t know why we make these clear archetypes and continue to force people into certain gender stereotypes that really do not exist in the world.”

When asked Chitrangada Singh about her process of understanding the character that she plays on screen, the model-turned-actress said, “I don’t know much about a process. I try and get the energy of the character that I’m going to play. In Bazaar, I play this very rich woman who doesn’t understand things like ambition, creed – she doesn’t understand these things because she was born in so much luxury. I start from trying to understand the energy of that person and the lines then just come, after which I get an idea of the mannerisms and the body language that the character will have.”

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra regales the IFFI audience with stories from his colourful journey

One of the most interesting sessions of the day had filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra talk to a hall full of interested participants and share nuggets of wisdom from his long filmmaking journey.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra at the ‘Inspirational Cinema’ Masterclass

“You make films the same way you live your life. You can’t fake it.” Mehra started with how he’s drawn from his life for every film of his. His first film Aks spoke about how good and evil are two sides of the same coin. This he said was based on the teachings of his grandmom who would narrate mythological stories to him and his cousins and stress on the two faced nature of good and evil.

“I used to study in this school in Delhi where most of the students came from Air Force families. My teacher’s husband was a Commander in the Air Force. We would run around MiG’s while playing. And then I went to Delhi University. The main characters in the film Rang De Basanti are all based on my closest friends. I borrowed from each of them for my characters.”

Even for Delhi-6 he borrowed from his childhood. He spoke about how he’s spent many days in old Delhi where all the communities lived next to each other. “There was temple next to a mosque and a gurudwara. We would attend the Ram Lila events one day and then sit for qawwali sessions the next day. I wanted to bring this alive on the big screen and that’s what I did with Delhi-6.”

The packed hall threw questions at the filmmaker who answered each of them with patience. He exhorted the young crowd of filmmakers to draw from their lives and not be afraid to be brave. He said, “Every time I start a film I think it’s going to be a big disaster. That somehow frees me up. I feel less fearful. I feel braver.”

Top producers from India and Hollywood discuss the future of film industry and collaboration

In accordance with its end motive of developing the art of cinema in the country, IFFI 2018 is hosting an In-Conversation session with some critically acclaimed and celebrated filmmakers from India and from the United States of America. The session titled, ‘Round Table Business Conference’ is a producers’ pitch that aims to bring distinguished producers from India and United States to share their views on film production.

‘Making Co-Productions Works’ Panel

This list consisted of filmmakers, artistes and professionals who have been instrumental behind the scenes of a film some of the most popular films of the recent times. The roster included celebrated producers of films such as 300 and The Hangover, a development associate with Johnny Depp’s production company, producer of films like Magadheera, amongst others.

Moderated by the popular Bollywood trade analyst Komal Nahta, the panel consisted of dignitaries such as John Hart who has been producing theatre works and movies for nearly 40 years that have garnered him five personal Tony Awards for Best Production, William Fay – the President of Production, Legendary Pictures [June 2005] and President of Centropolis Entertainment [1998] who has produced global successes like 300 (2006), The Hangover (2009), and Independence Day (1996), Bobby Deleon – a Hollywood Entertainment Executive with over two decades of industry experience and a development associate at Infinitum NihilJohnny Depp‘s production company in Los Angeles, Christopher Tillman – an actor/ producer whose short film The Distance Between won him the jury prize at the Omaha Film Festival (2013), Bianca Goodloe – an expert on entertainment law and film finance, Allu Arvind, who has produced many widely watched movies including Magadheera (2009), Kalaipuli S. Thanu whose productions have been commercially successful, three of which are among the top-ten highest grossing Tamil films of all time, and Suresh Babu Daggubati – an acclaimed Telugu film producer, studio owner and distributor and managing director of Suresh Productions.

The panel discussion started with addressing the issue of how easy or difficult it is for co-productions to happen in India. While elaborating on this topic, William Fay said, “The film business, because it is a global business, is moving beyond more and more co-productions as the audience discovers different voices around the world. The international business has certainly been dominated by Hollywood film industry for quite a while but I think that dynamic is changing. As audiences become more global and they have more understanding of other cultures, I think the push would be certainly in that direction.”

The panel discussed the difficulties that a producer can face when trying to work out co-productions dealing with the laws that are different in different countries. When asked about how to ensure that the shooting gets going and remains fair to all parties involved, Bianca Goodloe said, “Over the last 20 years, I have worked on over 200 productions, of which, a vast majority have been co-productions. Co-productions fall into two categories – those that fall into bilateral or multi-lateral treaties, and those that fall outside of it. It should not be viewed as a barrier when seeking a co-production partner just because there is no bilateral or multilateral treaty.”

While discussing about how easy it is for co-productions to happen in India, Allu Arvind said, “You are speaking to a person who has twice dropped out of a co-production. In the Indian context, when we get into a co-production and shoot the film in England or in Mauritius, they are giving us a subsidy of around 30-35% on the money spent. That was my attraction to negotiate first. Every producer thinks what is that he can get if I collaborate with someone. Culturally the subject has to be accepted by the countries involved in the co-production. The subject is very important. If both the cultures accept it, it makes business sense. I feel this is the right time where the borders are being erased for entertainment. And now is a right time for bigger production houses in India to look in the direction.”

The decision to whether or not get into a co-production is determined by a set of factors. When asked about what these factors are, Suresh Babu said, “One needs to analyse the reasons for getting into a co-production – whether it is for risk mitigation or to have access better talent, locations, do better distribution, have access to better technology, etc. If you’re able to answer this question, then we can see how we can take it forward. This is a creative process. It is already difficult for the producer and director to make a good product, in a co-production, it becomes even more difficult. To me, ticking off these boxes determines the decision to whether or not to get into a co-production.”