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What mom Neelima Azeem told Ishaan Khatter: It’s good to have fire in your belly

Dhadak actor Ishaan Khatter shares that he would love to direct, but not right now. About the advice he got from his mum — It’s not that great to be all chilled out!

bollywood Updated: Aug 16, 2018 14:40 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Ishaan Khatter,Bollywood,Neelima Azeem
Ishaan Khatter made his film debut with Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds.(RAAJESSH KASHYAP/HT)

Even as his big Bollywood film, Dhadak, was being talked about so much in the pre-release phase, Ishaan Khatter made his debut with a stunning performance — in a role that was a highly unusual choice — in Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds. That showed his adventurous spirit when it comes to the art of cinema.

No surprise then, that Ishaan was assistant directors for two films, Udta Punjab (2016) and Half Widow (2017), before stepping in front of the camera. Is full-fledged direction on his mind? “I’d love to, provided I’m capable of it,” says Ishaan. “I have to be sure about direction, or the end result might be not as expected. I also think now is not the time.”

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Explaining why, he says, “Performing is my primary passion and I have everything in the world to learn yet, and I think I always will, so that’s a long way [ahead]. But I’m very passionate about cinema, and if I ever get the opportunity, I’d love to explore more.”

He credits his mother, actor Neelima Azeem, and half-brother, actor Shahid Kapoor, for teaching him a lot. “I learned so much by observing them. There are a lot of things you absorb subconsciously; you can’t break them down technically and explain,” says Ishaan, who adds that he has “always received the most profound words” from his mother. “She’d show me films and tell me to particularly watch a scene or an actor, what they’re channelling, how they’re doing it, who they are in real life, and what made them so endearing or vulnerable on screen.”

कच्छा बनियान mornings by @laserbeamfistface

A post shared by Ishaan Khatter (@ishaan95) on

His mother loved both his first two films, says Ishaan. “In fact, she liked Dhadak more than she expected. Mom liked Sairat (the Marathi film from which Dhadak was adapted); she thought it’s a phenomenal film. So when she said that I had carried the mantle ahead, I felt relieved,” smiles the young actor.

😊 with bhaijaan

A post shared by Ishaan Khatter (@ishaan95) on

Neelima has instilled some work ethics in him, too. “She told me discipline and passion are very important. It’s a good thing to have fire in your belly. She thinks it’s not that helpful to be chilled out. When you are passionate about something, be a go-getter, give your 100%. That’s the attitude I’ve learnt from her,” says Ishaan.

Learnings from Shahid Kapoor

Talking about his half-brother, who’s a big star, Ishaan shares, “My brother told me a lot, but the bit that has stuck to me is that he said ‘Whenever you’re performing, be honest in front of the camera. Always [act] from inside; don’t try to externalise too much.’

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Aug 16, 2018 14:40 IST