By Zainab Koli

Director: Shakun Batra
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan, and Rishi Kapoor
Producers: Karan Johar and Hiroo Yash Johar
Music: Amaal Mallik
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Shakun Batra’s upcoming film, ‘Kapoor & Sons’ is not the simple love triangle we’d expect from a Bollywood film with two young male leads (Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan) and one female lead (Alia Bhatt). Instead, the dramedy shows the good, the bad, and the crazy sides of the dysfunctional Kapoor family, a family everyone can relate to. The three young actors sat down to talk about their film, set to release on Friday, March 18, 2016.

What kind of process did you (Fawad and Sidharth) undertake in order to create a sibling chemistry or a brotherly bond? Do you think it’s more difficult to create onscreen sibling chemistry or romantic chemistry?

Sidharth: Firstly, a lot of music, alcohol and other substances. And secondly, I think definitely, it’s difficult to get sibling chemistry because in most of the romantic films, you meet the boy or the girl in that film, so you can build it up as the film starts. But when you’re playing a sibling you have to show years and years of chemistry, and years and years of connections.

Fawad: I think to a certain extent it has a lot do with how you are with one another, not during takes, as in off the set, what your relationship is like and in our case I think we just got off very well. Off the set we shared an extremely good bond. We spent a lot of time together and we definitely did what you would do, go and chill out together, which allowed us to sort of translate that camaraderie on the screen. Sid and I, we naturally get off on a really great point. So we were kind of fortunate.

I think either one [sibling chemistry or romantic chemistry] can be difficult which is completely dependent on the kind of co star you have. If you have a romantic role with someone and your co star is very frigid, then it becomes difficult to romance them. And similarly, as a sibling, when someone’s trying to beat you at your game or trying to be the better actor, then it kind of defeats the purpose. In this case, I think it worked out for everyone.

What makes the Kapoor family relatable?

Alia: When I first read the script what I really loved was the fact that we’re not just showing the happy, funny side of the family. And for me that was really refreshing because I feel in today’s day and age, yes we love each other, and we care for each other, but we also fight like crazy and get really irritated and upset with our family members. As you can see from the trailer, it’s not a typical family set up. There are a lot of heated arguments. There are a lot of conflicts. And because the film focuses on relationships in general, relationships between one another, not just between a girl and a boy, but all your family dynamics, I think it’s really important to show the more vulnerable side of the relationships. So that’s what I like the most and that’s why I think that it’s very relatable.

Tell us about the songs in the film.

Alia: Because I feel this film is more about the story, the place for song and dance, which actually we are really proud of in Bollywood, was not really massive. But in our own way we had to slip it in. So what we did have was the first song that released, which is called ‘Kar Gayi Chull.’ It is like a typical house party set up. Our director is one of those directors who doesn’t really understand the item number so he wanted to make it his own and make it stand out. I think what really worked was that it was a house party and we haven’t really had a house party song where people are actually just chilling. There are shots of us on a tire swinging, we’re playing the drum, and there’s one of confetti. So it’s a very simple, cool house party. I think that song really worked. And the other songs, there’s a love song and there is a birthday party song which is the grandfather’s birthday party called ‘Buddhu Sa Mann.’ So that’s pretty cool.

Sidharth: My favorite song has to be ‘Kar Gayi Chull’ because it was one of the first songs that we selected for the film and the first song that we shot for the film. I was there in the office when Karan made us hear ‘Kar Gayi Chull.’ Shakun was a little bit skeptical and I was the one pushing him, saying ‘you have to take this songs, it’s a big hit.’ So I feel that we took a good call and now the song is a big hit and I’m pretty excited for it.

What does “chull” mean to you?

Sidharth: Chull, up north in India, means some kind of itch but we are trying to make it universal. We’re using it for terms like ‘we all are really chulled out,’ ‘he’s a chuller,’ ‘this conversation is extremely chull.’ So we’re making it worldwide, all thanks to Badshah and his great song, ‘Kar Gayi Chull.’

How was your experience working with Rishi Kapoor?

Alia: This is the second time around for me and Sid to be working with Rishi Kapoor. Hats off to him, firstly, for really giving his all to his character when he was sitting for five to six hours every day to get into his aesthetics for the character. And what really is so inspiring is that even after so many years he has the same amount of diligence, same amount of excitement, same amount of passion, when he comes on set. He is known to be one of those bossy, loud actors to have on set. People say that. But I feel like that’s one of the most refreshing and enduring qualities about him because he just speaks his mind and it’s so nice to have that energy on set.

Sidharth: He’s the best. I think he’s one of the most talented actors we have here. And you will see him in our film like never before because he’s playing a ninety year old senile grandfather. The kind of requests he’s asking us for, you’ll see in the film, are kind of kinky, the things he wants us to show him and take him to. He’ll be a lot of fun. It’s our take on the dirty grandfather. And for us it will be refreshing to see him in this light as well because we’ve seen him in ‘Student of the Year,’ where he’s playing our principal and where he is extremely stern and strict. So it’s great to see his lighter side.

How do you relate to the specific characters you each play?

Fawad: In my case, I think I can relate more with Sidharth’s character, Arjun. The reason for that is that I had two siblings in the family, one elder sister and one younger sister, so I was kind of a black sheep and the one who was scorned the most. But other than that, I think with my own character I can relate to the empathy that he has for other characters and how he’s willing to go out of the way to make things work, but at the same time it’s in a kind of a gray and selfish zone.

Alia: I’ll tell you what I admired and what I wish I had was the kind of joy and zest for life that she has. I feel like my character, her name is Tia, she has been through things in her life that have probably made her value the little moments and joy a lot more than, probably, the second person. So that’s what I really admired of her character. She has an emotional drain as well, but she’s one of those girls who’s constantly playing pranks on people. She’s constantly laughing and joking around which is why you would just think she’s cool. It’s not like she knows that she’s cool and cute. She’s just like that, very effortless. So that’s what I liked a lot. And in terms of relating to her character, I think the only thing I could really relate to was the fondness she has for her family, an unabashed kind of fondness.

Sidharth: Well, my family is very similar to the Kapoor family in terms of a number of things. I come from a family of an older brother, my parents, and instead of grandfather, I had a grandmom staying with me and sadly she’s passed away now and she wasn’t half as mad as Rishi Kapoor. But, of course, I think there’s so many things I drew from my real life. We are a novel family which parties, laughs, wants to kill each other at one point, but the next day if we’re socializing we’ll all pretend to be happy. And I think that’s what you’ll see in the film as well. The tone of the film is very real. The tone of the film is very middle class and how it happens in every household. And within that we’re trying to showcase a sweet, endearing story of how a grandfather wants to bring his family back to his house to take a family portrait which he doesn’t have and why it’s so difficult in today’s day and age to take a family photo and get the family together, to be happy and pose for the picture.

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