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Sushant Singh Rajput - Kai Po Che! (Page 93)

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Can't get Abhishek Kapoor on the phone!

Post Kai Po Che, Abhishek Kapoor has changed his cellphone number to avoid actors and producers chasing him for work

March 30, 2013

MUMBAI
Kunal M Shah


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If you call Abhishek Kapoor and can't get through him, worry not. The filmmaker has apparently changed his cell phone number after getting inundated with congratulatory calls, messages and requests for projects post his recent release Kai Po Che.

Abhishek Kapoor

A source informs, "Contrary to the fact that actors often change their numbers after their successful releases, it is a director in this case who has done it. His film has struck a chord with the youth and Gattu has multiple producers chasing him now. After the initial response, Abhishek was finding it difficult to keep up."

Those close to the director say that he started getting calls from several actors as well. The only way for him was to change his number but now that has thrown up a problem of a different kind.

The source adds, "Ever since he changed numbers, his cousin Ekta Kapoor has been getting requests asking her to introduce or set up a meeting with Abhishek." Needless to add, we also could not get through to him for confirmation on our story.  

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urt Martial

abhishekkapoor2

Abhishek Kapoor

I am ashamed of the fact that I was living on my father's money for such a long time

Simple, reticent and introvert, the Kai Po Che! director Abhishek Kapoor isn't really the best person to be featured under this section of our magazine. That's what we thought until we conducted the following interview. Just like his films, there's something about his answers which left us craving for more. After all, they are honest, hard-hitting and real. Unlike 90 per cent of his colleagues from the film fraternity, this guy does not shy away from sharing his bitter experiences from the past.

In Stardust's Court Martial of the month, the filmmaker speaks up like never before.

Your last film, Rock On!! had released in 2008. Considering the film was a massive success, what took you five years to come up with another movie?

It's really shocking but even after Rock On!!'s success, I wasn't offered a single script. No writer sent me anything. No one sends scripts in this business. It is only recently that I've seen people independently developing scripts. But at that time, no one was developing anything. So I took on Chetan Bhagat's book, Three Mistakes Of My Life and decided to make a film based on it. I had committed myself to the story of Kai Po Che!. I was firm that I'll make this film see the light of day and I am happy with the outcome.

But why wasn't the film produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's production house, Excel Entertainment, considering you share a great equation with the two? Plus, your team had dished out a hit in the form of Rock On!!.

Excel Entertainment was supposed to produce it initially. But then they had a change of heart as they wanted to make Rock On!! 2. I had started developing a script for that but by then, my heart was set on this story. I told them, 'If you don't want to do it, I'll give it to someone else'. I shared the idea with UTV Motion Pictures and they loved it.

Is Rock On!! 2 going to happen or is it shelved altogether?

I've a script for Rock On!! 2 but we don't know when we'll do it.

Atul Agnihotri's Hello based on Chetan's novel, One Night At Call Centre was a box-office dud. Rajkumar Hirani had to face several legal complications when he adapted Chetan's book, Five Point Someone into the film, 3 Idiots. Keeping all that in mind, weren't you reluctant to make a movie based on one of his novels?

Not at all. I knew that I want to make a film on this story, the moment I read the book. It was the relationship between the three boys that intrigued me the most. The dynamics that they share, their aspirations and dreams. Everything about them fascinated me. I felt that this is the real India.

Usually people say that a book is always better than the movie based on it. However, Chetan recently stated that according to him, Kai Po Che! (KPC!) has turned out to be better than his novel. Do you agree?

Well, all I can say is that I am flattered. I am not the one to decide whether he's right or not. I think that was the job of the audience. The Three Mistakes Of My Life is a great book with huge readership. If I've added any value to it in terms of creativity, story and presentation, then my job is done.

Having received the National Award for your very second film, Rock On!!, aren't you expecting such a prestigious reward for KPC as well?

I'm not expecting it but I'd like it if I get the honour again. Who wouldn't? I just hoped for people to like the film. I had made it for the Indian audiences with a lot of love. So I hoped that it would strike a chord with them. That's all. However, if it does win awards, then that's great.

You have now made two back-to-back films introducing several newcomers. You could've easily cast a superstar in KPC to ensure that it's a super hit. But you didn't. Why so?

Our industry operates in two ways. Either you look for a star who is willing to work with you or you just focus on making a film. That's because when you are looking to work with a particular star, you mould your project according to that person. Then that's not really a film; it's just a star vehicle. I believe in telling stories. I want to make a film which will have a shelf life. I'm not in this business to make money. I'm here to make movies. Money is important but it's not the most important thing. So whatever makes my project better, I opt for that. A star does not excite me, an actor does. For KPC, I needed three young boys. It wouldn't have been believable if I had taken three heroes to play the prime characters in the film. Although I did toy around with the idea of casting a star for one of the roles but then I realised that I wasn't being fair to the story as I'll end up having one hero and two flunkies. I didn't want that. I wanted three actors sharing a dynamic chemistry. They should be three friends who are equals and are crazy for each other.

You said you were afraid that you'll end up having one hero and two flunkies. But isn't that what happened after the film's release? Sushant Singh Rajput has been touted as the next big thing in Bollywood whereas the other two boys, Amit Sadh and and Raj Kumar Yadav aren't being talked about much in spite of delivering fine performances.

See, Sushant is a sincere boy and he's definitely more sought after. I wish him all the success. But do not underestimate the other two. Amit is a fabulous actor. He doesn't have a fan following like Sushant yet but I'm sure that he'll have a huge fan following soon. Raj Kumar is also such a fantastic actor. He has already done big banner films like Ragini MMS and Talaash. I'm overwhelmed to have worked with all the three of them, not just one.

You have made three films, of which, two are about friendship. Is it that other subjects do not interest you enough?

Friendship is not the only thing that I want to make films about. I'd like to make a love story or a film about family values too. It's just that they have to be done in my aesthetic. My films do not need to be typical Bollywood films. I want the person who watches my movie to feel emotionally attached to it. And frankly, friendship is a very important part of my life. So perhaps that's the reason why I tend to feel more about this particular relationship.

It is believed that it's seldom possible to find true friends in Bollywood. Is that true?

No, it's not true. Sohail Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar and director Chandan Arora are some of my closest friends and they all belong to the film industry.

Why is it that your films majorly revolve around the male characters and actresses do not really get to play a vital role?

I don't think that's the case at all. Even the female protagonists in my films have played very specific characters. Prachi (Desai) was not just another bubbly girl in Rock On!! She was a quiet, dignified housewife. In fact, in the second half of the film, Farhan's character becomes like her. All the girls have played very clearly defined characters in each of my films. Amrita Puri in Kai Po Che! also has a very rounded off character. Even Sneha Ullal had a very powerful role in Aryan.

Talking about Aryan, the film marked your directorial debut in Bollywood. But it bombed at the box-office as soon as it released. Didn't that disappoint you?

I took five-six years to make that film. But to get it released was the biggest task of my life. I had put in everything into that film but it didn't do well at the box-office for various reasons. I don't know what exactly went wrong. I was extremely disappointed.

But that wasn't your first experience of failure...

Well, I've made many mistakes but there's one set of mistakes which I'll always regret. Very early in my career, I committed myself to certain films like Uff Yeh Mohabbat as an actor. I was very disappointed with the way they had fared at the box-office. I wish I hadn't done some of those films as they didn't teach me anything. They did not match my sensibilities and weren't something that I'd like to attach myself to.

Why did you get into films in the first place then?

I did those films because everyone told me that it's the right thing to do. They said, 'Yeh yeh kaam karo and prove yourself'. I wasn't convinced about it but I still did it. And it was a horrible experience. I wanted to rush home everyday after finishing the shoot. I didn't want to be a part of it. I was in a dark space that time. Since my acting endeavours failed, I just took some time off to redeem myself and didn't do any work. Then I wrote Aryan which didn't do well either.

But you did redeem yourself by proving your mettle as a director with your very second film. How did that feel?

Yes, I wrote Rock On!! and it was a hit. When you see a runaway success like that, it sort of validates all your mistakes. That's the way life tells you that now you've learned so much. The mistakes are a part of your journey. You live and learn. What won't break you, will only make you stronger. So you've to keep your chin up and go through the mistakes. There's a lesson in everything.

So did you switch to direction solely because you couldn't succeed as an actor?

No. I did not plan it. When I wrote my first story, I knew that this is a movie that I want to make myself. That's when I decided to direct it. I have never been to any film school or institute. But I just started off on my own and I discovered the process of filmmaking.

You have a pleasant personality. Now that you've established yourself as a filmmaker, are you willing to take a chance and try your hands in acting again?

Never say never. Let's see, if something comes along and I feel comfortable about it, then I'll go ahead and do it.

Not many know this but you are veteran actor Jeetendra's nephew and Tusshar and Ekta Kapoor are your cousins. Are there any chances that you'll direct a film produced by Ekta?

Yes, of course. I definitely want to do a film with Balaji. We're related and I'd love to work with them. We are already talking about it. Let's see what the future holds. Ekta and Tusshar are my baby sister and brother. I have immense respect for Ekta. I feel very proud of her when I see what she has accomplished and the way people look up to her.

And what about Tusshar? Will you cast him in one of your upcoming ventures?

I will most definitely cast him in my film. In fact, I've been thinking what would be a good role for him. If I come up with a character which suits him, I will cast him for sure.

Lastly, you've always been very reserved about your personal life. Tell us a little about your family and ladylove.

Well, my parents live close to me and I love them. My father has done a lot for me. I've had so many failures but he was always there for me. Without him, I don't know how I would have survived everything. I am ashamed of the fact that I was living on my father's money for such a long time. But in spite of being worried, he always supported me in making my dreams come true. There was a time when I used to fight a lot with my parents and sister as I was so frustrated. They've all made too many sacrifices for me. When success came to me, it finally set us free. Today, we all are very happy and I know that I wouldn't have been where I am, without my family. And coming to my love life, I have been seeing this lovely girl named Pragya for one year now. I met her at a concert and we just hit it off instantl



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Court Martial

abhishekkapoor2

Abhishek Kapoor

I am ashamed of the fact that I was living on my father's money for such a long time

Simple, reticent and introvert, the Kai Po Che! director Abhishek Kapoor isn't really the best person to be featured under this section of our magazine. That's what we thought until we conducted the following interview. Just like his films, there's something about his answers which left us craving for more. After all, they are honest, hard-hitting and real. Unlike 90 per cent of his colleagues from the film fraternity, this guy does not shy away from sharing his bitter experiences from the past.

In Stardust's Court Martial of the month, the filmmaker speaks up like never before.

Your last film, Rock On!! had released in 2008. Considering the film was a massive success, what took you five years to come up with another movie?

It's really shocking but even after Rock On!!'s success, I wasn't offered a single script. No writer sent me anything. No one sends scripts in this business. It is only recently that I've seen people independently developing scripts. But at that time, no one was developing anything. So I took on Chetan Bhagat's book, Three Mistakes Of My Life and decided to make a film based on it. I had committed myself to the story of Kai Po Che!. I was firm that I'll make this film see the light of day and I am happy with the outcome.

But why wasn't the film produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani's production house, Excel Entertainment, considering you share a great equation with the two? Plus, your team had dished out a hit in the form of Rock On!!.

Excel Entertainment was supposed to produce it initially. But then they had a change of heart as they wanted to make Rock On!! 2. I had started developing a script for that but by then, my heart was set on this story. I told them, 'If you don't want to do it, I'll give it to someone else'. I shared the idea with UTV Motion Pictures and they loved it.

Is Rock On!! 2 going to happen or is it shelved altogether?

I've a script for Rock On!! 2 but we don't know when we'll do it.

Atul Agnihotri's Hello based on Chetan's novel, One Night At Call Centre was a box-office dud. Rajkumar Hirani had to face several legal complications when he adapted Chetan's book, Five Point Someone into the film, 3 Idiots. Keeping all that in mind, weren't you reluctant to make a movie based on one of his novels?

Not at all. I knew that I want to make a film on this story, the moment I read the book. It was the relationship between the three boys that intrigued me the most. The dynamics that they share, their aspirations and dreams. Everything about them fascinated me. I felt that this is the real India.

Usually people say that a book is always better than the movie based on it. However, Chetan recently stated that according to him, Kai Po Che! (KPC!) has turned out to be better than his novel. Do you agree?

Well, all I can say is that I am flattered. I am not the one to decide whether he's right or not. I think that was the job of the audience. The Three Mistakes Of My Life is a great book with huge readership. If I've added any value to it in terms of creativity, story and presentation, then my job is done.

Having received the National Award for your very second film, Rock On!!, aren't you expecting such a prestigious reward for KPC as well?

I'm not expecting it but I'd like it if I get the honour again. Who wouldn't? I just hoped for people to like the film. I had made it for the Indian audiences with a lot of love. So I hoped that it would strike a chord with them. That's all. However, if it does win awards, then that's great.

You have now made two back-to-back films introducing several newcomers. You could've easily cast a superstar in KPC to ensure that it's a super hit. But you didn't. Why so?

Our industry operates in two ways. Either you look for a star who is willing to work with you or you just focus on making a film. That's because when you are looking to work with a particular star, you mould your project according to that person. Then that's not really a film; it's just a star vehicle. I believe in telling stories. I want to make a film which will have a shelf life. I'm not in this business to make money. I'm here to make movies. Money is important but it's not the most important thing. So whatever makes my project better, I opt for that. A star does not excite me, an actor does. For KPC, I needed three young boys. It wouldn't have been believable if I had taken three heroes to play the prime characters in the film. Although I did toy around with the idea of casting a star for one of the roles but then I realised that I wasn't being fair to the story as I'll end up having one hero and two flunkies. I didn't want that. I wanted three actors sharing a dynamic chemistry. They should be three friends who are equals and are crazy for each other.

You said you were afraid that you'll end up having one hero and two flunkies. But isn't that what happened after the film's release? Sushant Singh Rajput has been touted as the next big thing in Bollywood whereas the other two boys, Amit Sadh and and Raj Kumar Yadav aren't being talked about much in spite of delivering fine performances.

See, Sushant is a sincere boy and he's definitely more sought after. I wish him all the success. But do not underestimate the other two. Amit is a fabulous actor. He doesn't have a fan following like Sushant yet but I'm sure that he'll have a huge fan following soon. Raj Kumar is also such a fantastic actor. He has already done big banner films like Ragini MMS and Talaash. I'm overwhelmed to have worked with all the three of them, not just one.

You have made three films, of which, two are about friendship. Is it that other subjects do not interest you enough?

Friendship is not the only thing that I want to make films about. I'd like to make a love story or a film about family values too. It's just that they have to be done in my aesthetic. My films do not need to be typical Bollywood films. I want the person who watches my movie to feel emotionally attached to it. And frankly, friendship is a very important part of my life. So perhaps that's the reason why I tend to feel more about this particular relationship.

It is believed that it's seldom possible to find true friends in Bollywood. Is that true?

No, it's not true. Sohail Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar and director Chandan Arora are some of my closest friends and they all belong to the film industry.

Why is it that your films majorly revolve around the male characters and actresses do not really get to play a vital role?

I don't think that's the case at all. Even the female protagonists in my films have played very specific characters. Prachi (Desai) was not just another bubbly girl in Rock On!! She was a quiet, dignified housewife. In fact, in the second half of the film, Farhan's character becomes like her. All the girls have played very clearly defined characters in each of my films. Amrita Puri in Kai Po Che! also has a very rounded off character. Even Sneha Ullal had a very powerful role in Aryan.

Talking about Aryan, the film marked your directorial debut in Bollywood. But it bombed at the box-office as soon as it released. Didn't that disappoint you?

I took five-six years to make that film. But to get it released was the biggest task of my life. I had put in everything into that film but it didn't do well at the box-office for various reasons. I don't know what exactly went wrong. I was extremely disappointed.

But that wasn't your first experience of failure...

Well, I've made many mistakes but there's one set of mistakes which I'll always regret. Very early in my career, I committed myself to certain films like Uff Yeh Mohabbat as an actor. I was very disappointed with the way they had fared at the box-office. I wish I hadn't done some of those films as they didn't teach me anything. They did not match my sensibilities and weren't something that I'd like to attach myself to.

Why did you get into films in the first place then?

I did those films because everyone told me that it's the right thing to do. They said, 'Yeh yeh kaam karo and prove yourself'. I wasn't convinced about it but I still did it. And it was a horrible experience. I wanted to rush home everyday after finishing the shoot. I didn't want to be a part of it. I was in a dark space that time. Since my acting endeavours failed, I just took some time off to redeem myself and didn't do any work. Then I wrote Aryan which didn't do well either.

But you did redeem yourself by proving your mettle as a director with your very second film. How did that feel?

Yes, I wrote Rock On!! and it was a hit. When you see a runaway success like that, it sort of validates all your mistakes. That's the way life tells you that now you've learned so much. The mistakes are a part of your journey. You live and learn. What won't break you, will only make you stronger. So you've to keep your chin up and go through the mistakes. There's a lesson in everything.

So did you switch to direction solely because you couldn't succeed as an actor?

No. I did not plan it. When I wrote my first story, I knew that this is a movie that I want to make myself. That's when I decided to direct it. I have never been to any film school or institute. But I just started off on my own and I discovered the process of filmmaking.

You have a pleasant personality. Now that you've established yourself as a filmmaker, are you willing to take a chance and try your hands in acting again?

Never say never. Let's see, if something comes along and I feel comfortable about it, then I'll go ahead and do it.

Not many know this but you are veteran actor Jeetendra's nephew and Tusshar and Ekta Kapoor are your cousins. Are there any chances that you'll direct a film produced by Ekta?

Yes, of course. I definitely want to do a film with Balaji. We're related and I'd love to work with them. We are already talking about it. Let's see what the future holds. Ekta and Tusshar are my baby sister and brother. I have immense respect for Ekta. I feel very proud of her when I see what she has accomplished and the way people look up to her.

And what about Tusshar? Will you cast him in one of your upcoming ventures?

I will most definitely cast him in my film. In fact, I've been thinking what would be a good role for him. If I come up with a character which suits him, I will cast him for sure.

Lastly, you've always been very reserved about your personal life. Tell us a little about your family and ladylove.

Well, my parents live close to me and I love them. My father has done a lot for me. I've had so many failures but he was always there for me. Without him, I don't know how I would have survived everything. I am ashamed of the fact that I was living on my father's money for such a long time. But in spite of being worried, he always supported me in making my dreams come true. There was a time when I used to fight a lot with my parents and sister as I was so frustrated. They've all made too many sacrifices for me. When success came to me, it finally set us free. Today, we all are very happy and I know that I wouldn't have been where I am, without my family. And coming to my love life, I have been seeing this lovely girl named Pragya for one year now. I met her at a concert and we just hit it off instantl

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