Harshvardhan Kapoor may have a rich, filmy lineage, but he’s not just another star kid, and it’s evident in his thirst to learn the art of moviemaking more intricately. We caught up with the Kapoor lad in the midst of his debut, Mirzya’s promotions, as he talks about his future aspirations, his bond with the family, and more. Excerpts:
Did you have to go through a change in appearance for Mirzya?
I’m playing a Rajasthan-based boy in the film. He spends a lot of time in the sun. If one does so, it basically burns the skin. Mirzya is also a warrior, who rode horses under the sun. It was very important for me to reflect that skin tone in the movie.
Is Mirzya based on a true story?
Mirzya is a romantic tragedy, and it’s a timeless story. Gulzaar saab has written the contemporary adaptation of the story. It’s a love story that takes place in an undefined time and stands to the generations and lands in 2016. These two lovers play out Mirzya and Sahibaan in the modern day. In fact, the contemporary adaptation is different than the original. The main point of them that we’ve explored is the most interesting part of the story; it’s a very deep conflict.
Considering it’s a tough movie, what made you choose Mirzya as your debut film?
It’s just that I kind of made up my mind to do slightly different films at an early age. I like such kind of films, and I’m very close to traditional values. So, I didn’t think much about it.
What took you so long to make your debut?
I was in college in Los Angeles for four years, studying screenwriting and acting. Then, I came back and started working with Anurag Kashyap as an assistant. I am trained as an actor, and I reconnected with Mehra (Rakeysh Omprakash); and he always wanted to do Mirzya Sahibaan and he thought I could do it.
How is your bond with Sonam and Rhea?
The bond is very strong, of course. I have tattoos of them on my back. However, I don’t take any creative tips from them, since I do it on my own. I think the actor’s instinct is his own; everyone has different instincts and will play a role in a certain manner. There are thousands of ways of doing a role, but the first instinct should always be yours. The only correct thing is what your director tells you, because it’s his vision. In terms of styling me, and clothing, both Sonam and Rhea are damn good.
Since Sonam did Delhi 6 with Rakeysh, did he have a soft corner to sign you?
I don’t think it was that because he’s a very instinctive person and he realised that my facial characteristics, the way I look and carry myself is perfect for the role. And he wanted to utilise all that to convey the story. It’s not a very dialogue-based movie; it’s more the kind that’s told through music, visuals and the actor’s eyes. He felt that I have the skill set.
Are you nervous of being scrutinised for being a star kid?
Creatively, I’m not nervous. What I’ve done in the film will be visible after the release. I feel the Indian audience is very honest and intelligent; they have human instincts and they will judge me on my hard work. We’ve all worked hard. This film is made with a lot of love. Gulzaar saab writes one film in 15 years; Mehra makes one film in four years. There’s a lot of pain and honesty that went into the making of the film, and I’m sure the audience is going to pick it.
Were you at ease considering your career is secured, as you belong to a film family?
I think being an actor is the most insecure thing. The worst thing in the world is to become an actor and not find consistency in the work. What if one reaches a point where we won’t get work we want to do? Everything changes on Friday — actually, Monday. At the end of the day, you believe in your talent, and the way you look at the world.
Do you agree that being a star kid gets you a launch pad to Bollywood?
Ranveer Singh isn’t a star kid for that matter, and he’s very successful. I think maybe there’s a certain potential curiosity to see you, because you have that legacy behind you. But now, if you see any film on Friday, and it’s horrible, then you’ve lost. You might get that first opportunity, but you won’t get the first five. People aren’t dumb and they don’t want to lose money. Nobody sets up to make a bad film with a bad actor.
Going forward, what kind of films do you aim to work in?
I hope I’m still in the film industry in the coming five years. I strongly believe that films are the director’s medium, and I want to work with good directors. The best directors will understand that potential I could fit in.