The team of producer Karan Johar’s Kapoor & Sons — Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan — visited the Hindustan Times office recently. During the hour-long interaction, the actors discussed several topics — from their upcoming film and Fawad’s enormous fan base in India to Alia and Sidharth’s alleged relationship, and so on. Here are some excerpts.
Do you relate to your characters in the film?
Fawad: I think madness prevails in all families. In the film, we all are completely uninhibited; it’s like a circus. There are no black or white characters, but just greyness in all the members. That’s an enjoyable factor of the movie.
Sidharth: I could relate to mine, as I also have an older brother. Shakun (Batra; director) has shown everything that goes on in a family. You might be fighting with a family member today, but tomorrow you will pose with them for pictures. We aren’t showing anything larger than life. It’s a real and endearing family film.
Alia: What I like about my character is her gratitude towards the good things in life, which I can relate to. She is happy with the little things in life.
Did working with Rishi Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah make you nervous while shooting?
Sidharth: It helped a lot. You have to be on top of your game, as their improvisation is spontaneous and subtle. You won’t even realise that they have added new lines.
Fawad: It’s a treat to work with senior actors. They have years of experience. They do even the toughest scenes with such ease that it’s inspiring.
Fawad, you have been coming to India quite often in the last two years. Do you still feel like a guest in the country now?
Fawad: I’m not completely settled here, because it will take time for me to meet people and develop a sense of familiarity. You build camaraderie with people over time and your reservations go down. I’m definitely less shy now, as opposed to when I first came here. My work experience is less, but once that increases, there will be a greater sense of familiarity. But, I don’t feel like a guest anymore.
Have you managed to find the time to see the country?
Fawad: I have been to 15 cities already, but there are some restrictions as the visas are for work purposes. Hopefully, in the future, I will get to see more of India.
Alia, how have you changed as an actor over the years?
Alia: I learn more with each film, but what I miss about myself is a certain amount of unawareness and innocence. I didn’t know a lot of things, and I felt better not knowing them.
Sidharth, are you consciously doing different kinds of films...
Sidharth: I’m doing different things, but there are only those many genres you can choose from. My last two films were very intense, but I am happy to start this year with a lighter one.
Alia, you are not part of the central story of the film. Usually, do you look at the length of your role when you sign a film?
Alia: What matters to me the most is my character’s graph and whether the film engages me in anyway. I’ve seen Shakun’s (Batra; director) Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012), and I’ve worked with him on the Genius Of The Year YouTube video as well. I knew he would never take me for a ride. Even if the screen time was less, I knew that my character wouldn’t fall short. I had that belief in Shakun. I’m happy being part of the film because I feel it’s a special movie. Whatever the result may be, I would not feel like I had a small role. For me, it’s about quality.
You have all done serious roles at some point in your careers. Was Kapoor & Sons easier to do, as it is light-hearted?
Alia: No, in fact, I would say that it’s quite the opposite. Comedy films are harder to do, because it’s difficult to be convincingly joyful. Secondly, this film has happy moments, along with really deep and emotional ones.
Sidharth: We aren’t really portraying characters that are far from real people. For me, it was refreshing to do this film. Shakun didn’t want us to follow certain instructions. He gave us leeway with scenes, and we didn’t have to mug-up lines or say them in a particular way. We thoroughly enjoyed the process, especially with the kind of director we had.
Sidharth, you have worked with Alia before, but this is your first film with Fawad. Does it help when you have worked with an actor before?
Sidharth: Definitely, I just realised that this was my first experience of working with an actor again. The comfort and the friendship do help. You can improvise together, and you can try and do things without being scared. When you work with someone for the first time, you aren’t aware of what might offend the other person, or what might not work. Also, Alia has grown by leaps and bounds. Her comfort and spontaneity in scenes has become more visible, and she’s totally different in front of the camera now. It was fun to work with her.
Alia and Sidharth, this is your second film together. What qualities did you notice about each other this time?
Alia: Sidharth has opened up, and I think everybody will agree with me. He has become more comfortable, not just in front of the camera, but also in front of people. He has become more engaging in conversations, even while giving interviews. Not once did I feel that we were giving a shot, because Sidharth believes that when your mind is at ease, your performance is better. So, he was constantly at ease and put me at ease as well, which is why we had a lot of fun with our dialogues. It’s nice when you have that comfort.
Sidharth: Also, in this film, I play the youngest in the family. This character is closest to how I am with my family or with my friends. I picked up a lot of things from my past for this role.
Fawad, do you plan to continue working in TV serials?
Fawad: Yes, I have a lot of respect and love for television. The work I have done has given me the name that I have today. It has introduced people to me. The stories that we tell on television [in Pakistan] are very monotonous. If I do television shows again, I would like to take a different approach to storytelling, but that doesn’t mean that I would not do the romantic roles that gave me so much popularity.
Fawad, who are you going to support in the much-awaited World T20 match between India and Pakistan?
Fawad: I am wondering whether I should say the truth or not (laughs). Honestly, I am not a huge cricket follower. Of course, there’s a lot of interest in the game, but I feel the spirit of the game is most important. Of course, I am not playing the match, so I can afford to say that (laughs). May the best team win.