Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar

Quite different in his approach and cinema influence, one finds Harshvardhan Kapoor quite unique in a way. Being a cinephile, his passion towards his craft is just natural. In a quick chat, he speaks about his second film ‘Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’ which has just hit the marquee amidst more…

From the script level, to how ‘Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’ has turned out on screen, are you happy?
I’m very happy with the film, Vikram is also happy with the way the film has turned out. We made sure that we first get the script hundred percent right. We have been through a lot of hardships and then we had a teaser and trailer which people also liked. We also had some great songs and even in terms of the promotions, we did everything we could. Obviously, we aren’t a very expensive film, so we had a very reasonable P & A budget but within that, we did the best that we can. But we believe the product is good, so hope people like it. It’s difficult to make a good film and release it so we only hope people like it.

Usually, we see superhero films being larger-than-life, but ‘Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’ seems in a very real, ordinary space making it unique…
Yes true. I never really saw it as a superhero film. I saw it as a film about an ordinary guy who finds himself in extra-ordinary circumstances and decides to do something about it. I see it more as an action drama. ‘Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’ is more like there’s a superhero within every common man but it’s our actions which define us. We all have the potential to be heroes so that’s where its idea comes from.

As an actor how do you feel about starting out with someone like a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and then another fine director like Vikramaditya Motwane? And what has your learning been while working with them?
I think for me, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and then Vikramaditya Motwane fall in the category of the top ten film-makers of the country. They have made some of the best films ever. ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Delhi 6’ and even ‘Mirzya’ in its own artistic way. And ‘Udaan’, ‘Lootera’ from Vikramaditya. This is what I always wanted. I never wanted to do the run-of-the-mill generic films. I wanted to work with directors who are visionaries and to be a part of their vision is so exciting. Even if a film like ‘Mirzya’ doesn’t work and it may not have come together in a whole-hearted narrative way for many, there is still a cult audience who loves that film and if you see it in its elements – the way its lit, the way its shot and how the songs are composed, the music blends into the story – so from a cinematic point of view, there is so much to like about that film. Even when I see the rushes or songs, I feel great to be a part of something so ambitious. And even with ‘Bhavesh Joshi’, you have not seen a dark action drama like this. We don’t really make such films. And you know, hardly 10-15 films do well in a year, so I feel it’s not always right to define a film by its box-office, because I feel films do have a great shelf life even after that. Many of my father’s films like ‘Parinda’, ‘Pukar’, ‘Lamhe’, all of these were box-office disasters, but they all have great shelf-life. So, I don’t just feel good about working in a Mehra or Motwane film but I feel good about working in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Vikramaditya Motwane’s most ambitious films. And they are directors who want to make sure you pull off the characters.

Perhaps, I feel ‘Delhi 6’ and ‘Lootera’, the previous works of both these film-makers are under-rated…
I strongly feel that both the films were under-rated and again, both were box-office disasters. I feel that in a way, ‘Delhi 6’ is one of Mehra’s best works, he has blended these socio-political issues and still made it musical and entertaining. The film made Sonam a star. He gave ‘Masakkali’, just the way he gave ‘Hitchki’ in ‘Mirzya’. He is a visionary film-maker and so is Vikram. I will keep this in my mind that tomorrow if we all get lucky and ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ does well, and it becomes a small indie film of sort, the first person I would go back to is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to do a film. I really want to work with him again because it was such a great experience.

What has been an influence on you as a cinema audience, which probably makes you want to choose a certain kind of films?
I’ve only made three choices – ‘Mirzya’, ‘Bhavesh Joshi..’ and the Abhinav Bindra biopic which is my next. I feel I’ve grown up on seeing a lot of great films. I really like Sophia Coppola, Terrance Malick, Darren Aronofsky – I really like indie films. For example, ‘Udaan’. I feel, ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ is a slightly bigger film, independent in the spirit of it. I also like prestige films. Like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is a prestige film. It’s by a big film-maker, unconventional but the budget is big. I feel like, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is like a prestige film-maker.

One of your recent Instagram posts said that, you were dying to do a film where your character has access to nice clothes. Were you apprehensive at any point about having such films as your initial career choices?
No, because firstly I wanted to work with great directors. And I always wanted to show people what I can do as an actor. With ‘Mirzya’, because the character was a certain way. He was more silent, it was more to do with the eyes, and it was kind of big in an audio-visual way. Some people liked my performance, but some people thought I could have been a lot better. But the material was limited. In that sense, ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ has a lot of range and it’s such a different character so I feel like I would be able to open up a lot more with ‘Bhavesh Joshi’. My aim is to always grow as an actor and be known as a good actor and then kind of hopefully become on the way, then that’s good. But I’m not aiming to have stardom or money overnight. Because luckily, I have been privileged. So, I use my privilege to do these kind of movies.

Do you feel like there’s still a lot more you could do, when you see the work you’ve done so far?
There are always certain scenes where you feel, you could have done this or done that. That’s a never-ending thing. But mainly I always look for growth and progress and hope people see that with this film.

What else do you like doing apart from movies?
I like exercising, listening to music. I love playing football, watching sports, travelling and eating. I like having fun, I’m just a normal guy and I think that’s also something a lot of people complain about. They tell me, you should be doing more hero stuff and I’m like, I’m a normal guy. I’m a quiet guy, and an introvert I feel. I’m quite a passive person. A lot of people are used to Bollywood actors being aggressive but I’m quite a passive person and that’s just my personality.

Is there something common between your father and you as an actor?
We are both passionate about the work we do. That’s the common thread but apart from that, we’re both very different personalities.

Last words on Bhavesh Joshi before we wrap up…
‘Bhavesh Joshi’ is Vikramaditya Motwane’s dream project, it has all the elements of a classic multiplex commercial Hindi film. It has good music from Amit Trivedi. ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ is a relatable, commercial Hindi film, but it is Vikramaditya Motwane’s take and his touch so that’s what makes it unique.

And incidentally, your film clashes with your home-production, starring your sister…
Yes, I don’t think clash is the right word, they are both such different films. My film was supposed to release on May 25, but John Abraham’s film happened to release that day since the court case got sorted out. It was the IPL final weekend and ‘Raazi’ became a big hit, that would have still been there. And then there were Hollywood releases. Plus we wanted more time to finish the film and promote it. We couldn’t delay it further since we had already started promoting and spending money. So, it’s okay to come together because there are just 52 weeks in the year. ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ is a small film. It’s just my second film and Vikram also doesn’t really make very massive films. ‘Veere Di Wedding’ is a big commercial entertainer with Kareena who has been a superstar for 18 years and Sonam who has been a star for a decade. Bhavesh Joshi is a limited release and a word of mouth film. They are both like chalk and cheese in their genre. ‘Veere Di Wedding’ is a wider film. So, we thought it’s okay that they come out together.

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