ISHAAN KHATTER HAS MADE A MARK WITH HIS FIRST TWO FILMS NEWCOMER Ishaan Khatter has had an impressive start to his acting career with lead roles in internationally renowned director Majid Majidi’s acclaimed film Beyond The Clouds and the Karan Johar-produced Bollywood drama Dhadak, which has clocked up decent numbers at the box office since its recent release. Ishaan stars opposite Janhvi Kapoor in the Hindi remake of Marathi film Sairat. The half-brother of Shahid Kapoor has impressed with his acting ability in both films and already has filmmakers lining up to work with him. I caught up with one of the big Bollywood breakout stars of 2018 to find out more about him. You grew up surrounded by cinema and in a film family, but when did you decide to become an actor? I don’t think there was one moment or an epiphany. I always sort of wanted to perform and have been most passionate about dancing and acting ever since I can remember. But before I was passionate about it, I was fascinated by it. So there was never one decisive moment. What was the experience of making your debut in high-profile film Beyond The Clouds like? Well, it was very enriching, both as an artist and human being. Of course I was just an aspiring actor before the film, but it was a very moving and enriching experience. It made me feel years wiser once I was done with it. Some of the key things I learned during making the film were about the importance of being a good human being and the fact that everything I aspire to be as an artist comes with hard work. As an actor there were things I learned every day, so it was quite an overwhelming experience. Do you feel like you have been thrown into the deep end because the first two films in your career have been so challenging? I never looked at it in that manner, but I definitely feel that films like these two are rare to come by, so I feel very blessed and grateful to have been a part of them in any capacity. I hope I can maintain that momentum going forward. Where do you get the confidence to undertake such challenging roles? I think it’s important to be able to set aside one’s own inhibitions, especially when someone like Majid Majeedi or Karan Johar believes in you. It’s important to find that trust within yourself and to trust their experience and perspective over yours. That is very empowering. At the same time, like I said, it [cinema] is something I have loved all my life. It is something I have been working towards, in the sense that I watch a lot of movies, have trained as a dancer and have done theatre courses as an actor. Also, assisting on films helped a great deal too. What is your favourite moment in Dhadak? I don’t think I have just one favourite moment in the movie. There is a whole lot through the film. I also have great memories of Udaipur [in Rajasthan] during the shoot. We all grew deeply attached to the city, so some of my most wonderful memories are related to shooting there. What is Janhvi Kapoor like as a co-star? She is just incredible and delightful to work with. (Laughs) She is also very amusing, both intentionally and unintentionally. She is dedicated to her work, likes to put in a lot of thought and prepares well. She brings a wonderful energy onto set too. And what about Karan Johar as a producer? He is incredible and very empowering. He really does understand cinema and the director’s vision. He doesn’t enforce his opinion. He is very experienced and of course he gives a lot of confidence to the entire unit. He has a wonderful energy and is very collaborative. He has a great working vibe. Your character is a hopeless romantic in Dhadak, but how much of a romantic are you in real life? Just a little short of my character in the film, if not as much. What kind of movies do you enjoy watching? I don’t have a favourite genre. I believe there are good films and ones that aren’t all that great. I would just like to be a part of the good ones. Finally, what is the master plan going forward? There really isn’t a master plan or strategy. I just would like to keep it simple and be a part of good films. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to do so. Dhadak is in cinemas now.