Interview By: DRISHTI PANDEY
We had an articulate chat with the self-made, honest – Karan Kapadia, since his debut film ‘Blank’ has hit the marquee. He talks to us about what was the starting point for him to be an actor, working on his first film with his two long-term friends, how it’s the best time for aspiring actors in the industry amidst much more…
What was your thought process when ‘Blank’ was offered to you, in terms of its genre for a debutant to begin with?
Honestly, there were no other opportunities. This was the only opportunity that came my way. I didn’t go out of my way to choose any kind of genre to begin with. I was auditioning a lot and opportunity was hard to come by. I just got lucky that one script that was offered to me was ‘Blank’. The concept was amazing and it had an amazing director who I have known for a long time. So it was good timing and good fortune.
Coming from a filmy background, was there a time you thought of asking help from family or you were determined to do it by yourself?
I always wanted to do it on my own and I told my family about it, and they were also very proud of the fact that I want to do it all by myself. Because end of the day, if a movie does well or doesn’t do well, the responsibility of that is on my shoulder, I don’t have to feel guilty that I let so and so down. Because they invested money on me or they had to take a favor for me, I didn’t want that. I wanted to be self-made thus whatever the consequences are; that will be on me and I like it that way. It’s tough, but it’s also less pressure and there is a sense of pride that comes with it.
What was the prep needed from your end for your character?
There was nothing specific as such, as I signed the film in 2016 and we started shooting in 2018. So I had 2 years in hand and in between the script changed a lot. They had developed it, but the character stayed the same so in these 2 years there were constant workshops and more of discussions with Behzad over the characters, the direction. So these two years time, helped me to sort of construct this character from scratch.
What do you have to say about Behzad as a director?
He is phenomenal. Not only the script was amazing but there was an amazing director attached to it. I know, it’s his first film but like I said, I know Behzad since 8 years now and he has done it all. As one would say, he has paid his dues from being an AD to being an associate, to do post production, he has done everything. Hence I know technically he is very good and when you talk to someone, you sort of have an understanding about their personality and what they are capable of. So I always knew he is going to do a great job, even the DOP, writers, when you speak to them, you know that they have this vision and they how to execute that vision. And one of Behzad’s specialties, apart from very personal relationship that he strikes with all his actors is that he has the edit in his mind. He knows exactly what he wants and we don’t need to take extra shots and that saves a lot of time. And I believe it’s a producer and an actor’s dream to work with such a director because you do the same thing six times and get tired and get invested, so I think he really knows how to bring the best out of his actors.
What do you have to say about the kind of films Hindi cinema is making today and how good it is for new talent?
I think it’s the best time for aspiring actor who is trying to be in this industry. Amazing stories was always there but there was no platform to showcase them. And now the whole digital boom, also in digital space you have the liberty in terms of creative and all; you can show a lot more, say a lot more. So, because of that and also the audiences are different right now. They have become smarter, they want to see different things; look at the pattern of films that have worked. People are taking gamble on newer actors for instance, Vicky Kaushal. Ronnie sir really invested in him and that film really paid off and that is a good example. I think the trend is changing, good work is been recognized, more I content is being appreciated and there are more platforms to showcase these awesome stories and it is the best time for new talent.
What is your acting process like?
I think every character you will play is going to be different so your approach to that character is going to be different. For example, the character I am playing in this film is a fictitious character but if you’re playing someone who already exists and is a real person so you have to stay true to that. For me, I don’t have any specific process it depends on what I am doing. But the only thing I really depend on is music, for me it’s a big stimulate. So, if I am doing an intense scene then I will listen to music that is in that sort of zone that will help me stay. But apart from that, there is nothing specific. And I am definitely not a method actor and I personally don’t believe in it. Not that, there is anything wrong in it, it’s an amazing art. But I personally can’t apply to myself, because then I won’t enjoy my work if I am always in my character. Once I wrap up and go home, I don’t take my work home and I don’t think about it, unless I am preparing for it then it’s a different thing, or else I just do it instinctively.
“I wanted to become an actor because I had severe anxiety problem as a child”
Has the feeling of being an actor now sunk in?
No, not really. I don’t know about the people but I don’t really enjoy seeing myself onscreen.
I don’t know. Even if someone is watching my work in front of me, I don’t like to be around while they are watching it. I don’t like watching myself and I think it’s with many people, in many fields and not just creative field. When you see something, you always think that you could have done better, or could have done differently. But with time and experience you get better. So I don’t like to cloud my judgment like that, so the feeling of being an actor hasn’t really sunk in. Actually when I saw the finished product of the film that’s when it sunk in but I wasn’t in the scene when it sunk in ( laughs) I was like – this is an awesome movie and I am part of it, that was the feeling I had.
But then how did acting happen to you?
I wanted to become an actor because I had severe anxiety problem as a child. I remember when the teacher use to call me to come and say a joke in front of the whole class, my legs use to start shivering and I use to start sweating. So, it was really bad. I always wanted to take part in plays but I couldn’t do it. So when I started doing short films and few plays, I use to get this feeling of personal accomplishment. It’s like you over came something, every time you go onstage or in front of the camera. So that feeling is what I chase and the day I stop feeling a sense of accomplishment, ill stop acting. That’s what drives me that feeling at the end of a performance because my personality in really life is very different – I’m a reserved and shy person.
After your first film, how will your approach towards films be?
I don’t have any particular approach and I am honest enough to say – I am not in a position to choose, I will have to really take what’s given to me. I will obviously still give auditions and try and get work as much as I can. And hopefully as I said, luck has a big part to play in it. But I’ve always said that, I want to be a part of content that I would watch as an audience myself. So if anything interesting comes, I won’t care if it’s the lead, if it’s the supporting lead, if it’s the villain. If it’s something good and I think I can showcase my talent and I can contribute something meaningful into it, then I’ll do it. Then I won’t care about what platform it is, if its television, digital, or anything else.
What is it that you take back from ‘Blank’?
What I take back from ‘Blank’ is a lot, it is my first film and I have learnt a lot. I have been involved from the scripting process, from pre-production to shoot, to post- production. I have seen everything. So you learn a lot as to how films are made and you realize how difficult it is. It was an amazing journey and lot of dreams came true for me, dreams that were in my bucket list – a song with Akshay sir, working with Sunny sir. Working with Behzad and Pranav who I have known for 8 years and obviously knowing this unique film that we sometimes thought over the course of 3 years, would never get made. So that is an amazing feeling. And what I take away from it is the experience of working with my two friends who I met and we never thought that we would be in this place. We use to talk about making short films and now we are here, made a feature film. And I always say that – we came into the films as friends and left as brothers. And I will definitely work with them in whatever capacity I can, and they are already writing something.
Writing something, with you in mind?
Actually it was my idea and they are developing it. It’s a sci-fi concept so there is a lot to it. So let’s see what happens. I try to sort of contribute as much as I can. I don’t see myself as a filmmaker but I enjoy coming up with stories, ideas, even if I’m not necessarily going to be a part of it, I enjoy the process.