‘Introducing newcomers is so undervalued’

Debarati Palit Singh
Thursday, 6 June 2019

Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath is making its TV premiere on Zee Cinema on June 9 at 12 noon. The filmmaker talks about the creative process he follows and what elements appeal to him when he is working on a script

I feel that newcomers are more suited for the kind of films I make,” says filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor. In the past, he has directed newcomers like Sneha Ullal (Aryan), Farhan Akhtar (Rock On!!), Sushant Singh Rajput (Kai Po Che!) and Sara Ali Khan (Kedarnath). Giving his reasons for working with first-time actors, Abhishek says, “Newcomers bring in a lot of freshness and innocence. They do not have any preconceived notions about themselves and they can be anything the script demands them to be.”

That said, it’s difficult to make films with newcomers. “If it was easy, most people would be doing it,” he says adding, “People don’t do it because there is so much riding on the project. I think I am privileged to have people who put their trust on me with their budget and projects with newcomers.” When a new actor joins the industry, there is so much more money generated, projects put together and so many mouths fed. “Introducing newcomers is so undervalued but it contributes to the industry immensely,” he further mentions. 

The filmmaker has been promoting the television premiere of his film Kedarnath, which released last year. The film will be aired on Zee Cinema on June 9 at 12 noon. Sounding excited about the premiere, he says, “I am very happy because it will reach out to so many people, all over the country and abroad. This is one such film that should reach far and wide because it’s about one of the worst catastrophes that hit the world.” 

Abhishek says once a film is done, he doesn’t look back. “But when your project is appreciated and liked, it definitely feels good because we put everything into a film. The joy is actually in making it and we just hope everyone loves and appreciates it,” says the filmmaker who has several critically acclaimed films under his belt.  

He has both written his own scrips and adapted books into film scripts. Kai Po Che was adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life and Fitoor was adapted from Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations. Ask him what he enjoys more and he replies, “They both are different animals to handle and equally difficult. When you write something original, you can create your own world and there is no benchmark. But when adapting a book, readers could have imagined the story in some way or the other. So people are bound to compare each depiction. Sometimes you don’t adapt the story as it is. There are different exercises that you have to do, like break the story down, rewrite it, add new elements, take out a few elements. Just because you have a book, doesn’t mean life is more easier. I feel a lot of responsibility and integrity towards anything that comes out of my head creatively and it’s got to have some sort of standard.”  

No one can deny that music plays an integral role in all his stories, but the filmmaker says that he just follows the demands of the script. “Everytime I attempt a project, I leave behind my earlier work. I treat it as my first. Everything that emerges out of the project is absolutely pure and comes out of the script,” he says, adding, “It’s a lot of unlearning and bringing in absolute originality and purity to a project.”

Abhishek attempts different genres and subjects. But how difficult is it to be different in the film industry? “Very difficult actually,” he says, adding, “I could have continued making films like Rock On!! or Kai Po Che! but I would find myself dying and decaying. My aspiration as a filmmaker has been versatility. I would like to make as many different kinds of stories and subjects. There are filmmakers who like to see their stamp on every project as if they are bigger than the project. I don’t want people to pick up and say, ‘Oh this has got Abhishek Kapoor’s stamp’.” 

While working on a script, different elements appeal to him as a writer. “It’s either the world, plot, characters. Most of of the time, it’s the character and their dilemma, and the worlds they are from. Watching people emerge in their worlds is very humbling,” he says.  

It’s not just his films but Abhishek is also known for the controversies that emerge while working on his projects. From threatening to take Sara to court to not completing projects on time, there’s some kind of talk or the other. But do these controversies affect him while working on a project? “It tries to disturb the process but that’s my job. I try to secure my film and keep everything away so that nothing should harm my film. I am guarded against any kind of invasion. Whoever comes to harm my film, I will fight them off,” he says. 

ST Readers Service 
Kedarnath will premiere on Zee Cinema on June 9 (Sunday) at 
12 noon

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