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Family First

Family First
Kapoor & Sons’ lead actors – Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan and Sidharth Malhotra – in conversation with TeamBox Office India

BOI: Please introduce both the Kapoor sons.
Alia Bhatt (AB): On my left is Rahul Kapoor, to my right is Arjun Kapoor. Rahul is the older brother and Arjun the younger brother. It’s called Kapoors & Sons Since 1921, so, obviously, the sons drive the plot in the film, which is about the characters, their motives and their conflicts… basically their journey. Both of them are writers – one is successful and one is not. Looking at how families are projected nowadays, Kapoor & Sons is a modern take on the family that we usually present. So there’s a lot of love and a lot of laughter but it also has the most important aspects of our life, which is conflict and anger. Now, over to the boys.
Sidharth Malhotra (SM): You sounded like a director now.
AB: Yes, I have mastered the art of explaining what Kapoor & Sons is all about.
Fawad Khan (FW): I think she has summarised the whole story.

BOI: And how does her character in each of your…
AB: (Cuts in) Yeah, now you guys talk about my character.
SM: She is not part of the family, she is the girl next door and it has a lot to do with… I mean, there is the romantic angle in the film but the movie is not purely about that.
FK: Basically, it is about the neighbourhood, a community. She is…
SM:
(Cuts in)  Town mein kya kya ho raha….
FK: Yes, she is a member of that community and somehow her path crosses with the Kapoors, and she has her own backstory and her own demons and whatever has been eating her for years. That is who she is…
AB: (Cuts In) I want to add that the film revolves around relationships and is not only about a girl and boy. It is the relationship that you share even with strangers. It is about a relationship of love alone; it is also about the relationship and mutual understanding between grandfather and the parents, between parents and their children, and between the parents themselves. It revolves primarily around relationships.
FK: So eloquent, yaar!
SM: (Cuts in) Yes!
FK: She is so eloquent!!
AB: ‘Eloquent’ is a new word.
FK: She has given such a good answer while I am just rambling.
AB: No, you are not rambling.
SM: I think the newness of the story is that we are not showcasing this story as larger than life or as extremely dramatic like the typical hero-and-heroine films. I think we all have a very small part to play in the story. If we could have got here all the ‘Kapoor’ family members today with us, we would have. I think Rajat (Kapoor) sir, Ratna (Shah Pathak) ma’am and Rishi Kapoor have an equally great part to play in the story and…
AB: (Cuts in) And more…
SM:  It wouldn’t have been complete without them. And I think the newness is that it is the story about your family and my family, very middle class, very relatable as all the scenes carry a very real tone. There is nothing like, ‘We will keep one close-up shot and have your dialogue.’ Here, everything flows exactly as it is real life, where we have multiple people speaking simultaneously in one house. Somebody is in the drawing room, somebody in the kitchen and somebody in the bathroom. It is kind of theatrical in that sense but I think people will enjoy that sweet, endearing love story and also the family story.

BOI: What was it about the film that made each one of you say ‘yes’?
AB: For me, it was the film… just the film.
SM: (Cuts in)  Matlab hum koi, kisi aur ke liye aaye hain? (Laughs)
AB: No, I am saying…
FK: (Cuts in)  Yaar, hum jo hain… Rs.50 crore offer ho jaatein  toh yaar…
SM: Hum paise ke liye aaye hain..
AB: Forget it, I am not saying any more.
SM: Okay, no, no, say. Say, na!
AB: I don’t want to say it.
FK: Okay, what she is saying is it was the script and the screenplay.
AB: (Cuts in) Thanks.
FK: Which is extremely…
SM: (Cuts in) But that is a given, na? They are asking what, apart from that…
AB: No, I am saying that, for me, it was the story.
FK: I think for all three of us, it was the screenplay. The script is so tightly knit and coherent. Generally, you can spot loopholes in a script and you feel that it is lacking in some way. But, with this film, I can vouch for the fact that it is a complete story which lacks all those loopholes and, because of that, it immerses you. You live the characters. All of us saw the first cut of the film and we felt as if we were inside that world rather than looking at it, wondering about our respective performances. That is the wonderful thing about the script. When you read it, you automatically say, ‘Yaar, this is gold!’
SM: I play just a small part, the youngest member of the family. There is nothing heroic about my role. It was extremely refreshing for Shakun (Batra, the director) sir to cast me in this part. For a change, I am the light-hearted one in the family, not the brooding, intense one. And that was nice. It was quite interesting to play this character.
BOI: Fawad, what was your reaction on getting a Dharma film, especially with you coming from Pakistan to India?
FK: I think the standard reaction is ‘wow!’ It’s true because Dharma is one of the most prestigious production houses in India right now and it has a track record of entertaining people across generations. Karan (Johar) is carrying on the legacy of his father so well and he takes it a notch further every time.
SM: And there are some great talents (like us). (Laughs)
FK: I think it is a wonderful opportunity to work with them in a film, where it is like family. They take care of you like family and you feel that (love). I think we have had more fun while making the film and worked less.
SM: I think there was zero ego or politics. Everybody came in to do the scene and after pack-up, everybody was chilled out and we all stayed in the same place. We hung out together and ate at the same places. I think that will show in the film.
FK: That energy translates (into the film).
SM: Yes, Coonoor does not have much to do for entertainment, so we would seek out each other for entertainment, to either play sports or a game or even to have him (Fawad) jamming on the guitar. Each one of us found our individual zones to entertain the crew and each other, and it was an extremely fun shoot.

BOI: Alia, Sidharth, what was it like for both of you to work with Rishi Kapoor sir after Student Of The Year. And, Fawad, you were working with him for the first time.
FK: I toh was his favourite.
SM: Because he is foreign crew, Fawad was Rishi sir’s favourite. We were like ghar ki murgi daal barabar. And Rishi sir is a foodie, he relates to every place through food. He has travelled to Pakistan and he used to keep telling Fawad, wahaan ke kebab and mutton ke baare mein. His entire family has been there several times, so he thoroughly enjoyed telling stories to Fawad.
FK: (Cuts in) No, not just to me, now you are stretching it! He told stories to all of us.
SM: No, we were still like the students.
FK: (Cuts in) You want to tell that story?
SM: Ek baat bata kya kya bola sir ne, raat ke aath baje ke baad?
AB: I wish we could remember the Dev Anand story.
SM: That is his story, we can’t… That is him, the fun was…
AB: I am not going to talk to him (Sidharth) today, he is saying rude things to me.
SM: How am I saying rude things?
FK: He is very energetic today.
AB: Who, he? No he is always like that.
FK: He is looking very fresh.
AB: You are talking, not letting me talk.
SM: I slept for three hours! I was partying last night.
FK: Three hours!
SM: Yes, my sister got married in Delhi. So, yes, coming back to Rishi Kapoorji… how do you feel, Fawad?
FK: Maine toh bata diya, I was the favourite. He never behaved rudely with Alia…
AB: (Cuts In) Yeah, he loves me!
Kapoor & Sons’ lead actors – Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan and Sidharth Malhotra – in conversation with TeamBox Office India

BOI: Please introduce both the Kapoor sons.
Alia Bhatt (AB): On my left is Rahul Kapoor, to my right is Arjun Kapoor. Rahul is the older brother and Arjun the younger brother. It’s called Kapoors & Sons Since 1921, so, obviously, the sons drive the plot in the film, which is about the characters, their motives and their conflicts… basically their journey. Both of them are writers – one is successful and one is not. Looking at how families are projected nowadays, Kapoor & Sons is a modern take on the family that we usually present. So there’s a lot of love and a lot of laughter but it also has the most important aspects of our life, which is conflict and anger. Now, over to the boys.
Sidharth Malhotra (SM): You sounded like a director now.
AB: Yes, I have mastered the art of explaining what Kapoor & Sons is all about.
Fawad Khan (FW): I think she has summarised the whole story.

BOI: And how does her character in each of your…
AB: (Cuts in) Yeah, now you guys talk about my character.
SM: She is not part of the family, she is the girl next door and it has a lot to do with… I mean, there is the romantic angle in the film but the movie is not purely about that.
FK: Basically, it is about the neighbourhood, a community. She is…
SM:
(Cuts in)  Town mein kya kya ho raha….
FK: Yes, she is a member of that community and somehow her path crosses with the Kapoors, and she has her own backstory and her own demons and whatever has been eating her for years. That is who she is…
AB: (Cuts In) I want to add that the film revolves around relationships and is not only about a girl and boy. It is the relationship that you share even with strangers. It is about a relationship of love alone; it is also about the relationship and mutual understanding between grandfather and the parents, between parents and their children, and between the parents themselves. It revolves primarily around relationships.
FK: So eloquent, yaar!
SM: (Cuts in) Yes!
FK: She is so eloquent!!
AB: ‘Eloquent’ is a new word.
FK: She has given such a good answer while I am just rambling.
AB: No, you are not rambling.
SM: I think the newness of the story is that we are not showcasing this story as larger than life or as extremely dramatic like the typical hero-and-heroine films. I think we all have a very small part to play in the story. If we could have got here all the ‘Kapoor’ family members today with us, we would have. I think Rajat (Kapoor) sir, Ratna (Shah Pathak) ma’am and Rishi Kapoor have an equally great part to play in the story and…
AB: (Cuts in) And more…
SM:  It wouldn’t have been complete without them. And I think the newness is that it is the story about your family and my family, very middle class, very relatable as all the scenes carry a very real tone. There is nothing like, ‘We will keep one close-up shot and have your dialogue.’ Here, everything flows exactly as it is real life, where we have multiple people speaking simultaneously in one house. Somebody is in the drawing room, somebody in the kitchen and somebody in the bathroom. It is kind of theatrical in that sense but I think people will enjoy that sweet, endearing love story and also the family story.

BOI: What was it about the film that made each one of you say ‘yes’?
AB: For me, it was the film… just the film.
SM: (Cuts in)  Matlab hum koi, kisi aur ke liye aaye hain? (Laughs)
AB: No, I am saying…
FK: (Cuts in)  Yaar, hum jo hain… Rs.50 crore offer ho jaatein  toh yaar…
SM: Hum paise ke liye aaye hain..
AB: Forget it, I am not saying any more.
SM: Okay, no, no, say. Say, na!
AB: I don’t want to say it.
FK: Okay, what she is saying is it was the script and the screenplay.
AB: (Cuts in) Thanks.
FK: Which is extremely…
SM: (Cuts in) But that is a given, na? They are asking what, apart from that…
AB: No, I am saying that, for me, it was the story.
FK: I think for all three of us, it was the screenplay. The script is so tightly knit and coherent. Generally, you can spot loopholes in a script and you feel that it is lacking in some way. But, with this film, I can vouch for the fact that it is a complete story which lacks all those loopholes and, because of that, it immerses you. You live the characters. All of us saw the first cut of the film and we felt as if we were inside that world rather than looking at it, wondering about our respective performances. That is the wonderful thing about the script. When you read it, you automatically say, ‘Yaar, this is gold!’
SM: I play just a small part, the youngest member of the family. There is nothing heroic about my role. It was extremely refreshing for Shakun (Batra, the director) sir to cast me in this part. For a change, I am the light-hearted one in the family, not the brooding, intense one. And that was nice. It was quite interesting to play this character.

BOI: Fawad, what was your reaction on getting a Dharma film, especially with you coming from Pakistan to India?
FK: I think the standard reaction is ‘wow!’ It’s true because Dharma is one of the most prestigious production houses in India right now and it has a track record of entertaining people across generations. Karan (Johar) is carrying on the legacy of his father so well and he takes it a notch further every time.
SM: And there are some great talents (like us). (Laughs)
FK: I think it is a wonderful opportunity to work with them in a film, where it is like family. They take care of you like family and you feel that (love). I think we have had more fun while making the film and worked less.
SM: I think there was zero ego or politics. Everybody came in to do the scene and after pack-up, everybody was chilled out and we all stayed in the same place. We hung out together and ate at the same places. I think that will show in the film.
FK: That energy translates (into the film).
SM: Yes, Coonoor does not have much to do for entertainment, so we would seek out each other for entertainment, to either play sports or a game or even to have him (Fawad) jamming on the guitar. Each one of us found our individual zones to entertain the crew and each other, and it was an extremely fun shoot.

BOI: Alia, Sidharth, what was it like for both of you to work with Rishi Kapoor sir after Student Of The Year. And, Fawad, you were working with him for the first time.
FK: I toh was his favourite.
SM: Because he is foreign crew, Fawad was Rishi sir’s favourite. We were like ghar ki murgi daal barabar. And Rishi sir is a foodie, he relates to every place through food. He has travelled to Pakistan and he used to keep telling Fawad, wahaan ke kebab and mutton ke baare mein. His entire family has been there several times, so he thoroughly enjoyed telling stories to Fawad.
FK: (Cuts in) No, not just to me, now you are stretching it! He told stories to all of us.
SM: No, we were still like the students.
FK: (Cuts in) You want to tell that story?
SM: Ek baat bata kya kya bola sir ne, raat ke aath baje ke baad?
AB: I wish we could remember the Dev Anand story.
SM: That is his story, we can’t… That is him, the fun was…
AB: I am not going to talk to him (Sidharth) today, he is saying rude things to me.
SM: How am I saying rude things?
FK: He is very energetic today.
AB: Who, he? No he is always like that.
FK: He is looking very fresh.
AB: You are talking, not letting me talk.
SM: I slept for three hours! I was partying last night.
FK: Three hours!
SM: Yes, my sister got married in Delhi. So, yes, coming back to Rishi Kapoorji… how do you feel, Fawad?
FK: Maine toh bata diya, I was the favourite. He never behaved rudely with Alia…
AB: (Cuts In) Yeah, he loves me!
FK: But Rishi sir hated Sidharth.
AB: Yes, he constantly hated him.
SM: I was a vegetarian in that shoot. He…
AB: (Cuts in) He was totally judging him.
SM: Yes, he was like, ‘Sidharth, tu vegetarian ban gaya kab se?’ He hated that but we bonded over Twitter. I realised that, in the beginning, he didn’t know how to hashtag and tag people. So I was, like, ‘Sir, naam likhne se kuch nahin hota, you have to put handles.’
FK: (Cuts in) Ek baar, mujhe bhi ek din tedhi nazar se dekha tha.
SM: Kya bolta hai! (Laughs)
AB: Tedhi nazar se dekha tha matlab?
SM: Tedhi nazar se dekha tha matlab gusse se dekha tha.
AB: Tedhi nazar se dekha means checking someone out.
FK: India mein tedhi nazar yeh hoti hai?! Nahin but tedhi nazar actually means looking at someone angrily.
SM: Over here, tedhi nazar ka matlab gussa bhi hota hai aur woh bhi hota hai.
AB: Woh bhi matlab checking out.
FK: Woh toh maili nazar hoti hai!
AB: Maili!
FK: Maili, gandi nazar!
SM: Yes right!
AB: Yahaan par sirf tedhi nazar hi hoti hai.
FK: Acha, anyway.
SM: Jaise bachiyaan. (Laughs)
FK: Humare yahaan pe bachiyaan…
SM: (Cuts in) What do you call young, hot girls?

BOI: Pataka.
SM: See, aisa kuch.

BOI: In Punjab it is tota.
AB: And in Mumbaiya language?

BOI: Babe or item or maal.
SM: Exactly, item and he says bachiyaan! (Laughs)
AB: Bachiyaan!!
SM: But that is the thing, that is the difference. This is slang.
FK: That is slang, in Pakistan slang if you call a lady or a woman or a girl; or whatever you choose it doesn’t mean that I am… it is the slang it doesn’t sound inappropriate if you say ‘girl’ in English but Urdu mein bachiyaan bol diya toh bolte hai buraa bol diya.
SM: But yahaan pe nahin bolte hain.
AB: It is very entertaining.
SM: We used to laugh just the way you guys are laughing right now. We used to keep pulling Fawad’s leg about this. The way they use slang in Pakistan is very different.
AB: But it is also so interesting to listen to it.
SM: The language is same but certain…
AB: (Cuts in) I have learnt so many new and nice Hindi words because of Fawad, because Urdu itni meethi bhaasha hai. It is nice to hear this lovely Hindi and I am this Bombay girl whose Hindi is very bad, who is always struggling with the language. So whenever I had trouble, I would go to Fawad. Very nice!
FK: Thank you, so sweet of you.

BOI: You also said it is an emotional family story. While doing the scenes or during the narration, did you bring in anything from your personal life?
FK: Thank God we didn’t get a narration.
SM: We all read the script.
AB: Yes.
FK: Is it inappropriate to say you don’t like narrations?
AB: No. I too openly admit that I don’t like narrations.

BOI: Was there anything that you were able to connect with your personal life, as you play brothers?
FK: Sure, I have two sisters, an elder one and a younger one. So it was an opportunity for me to have a brother, which I didn’t have in real life.
SM: (Cuts in) Now he knows what it is like to have a brother.
FK: And now, I don’t want a brother! (Laughs)
SM: That’s what I was going to say. After what he experienced, he was, like, ‘I am good with my sisters.’ I actually don’t know what it’s like to have a sister as I grew up with an elder brother and four cousins and we had only one sister. So I can relate to these stories about, you know, the brother conflict that Shakun has tried to show and how they had issues and still did not talk about it. But I think the one thing that you take back from this film is that we must communicate with our family, they are the only people who will stick by you in rough times. 
box office indiaBut Rishi sir hated Sidharth.
AB: Yes, he constantly hated him.
SM: I was a vegetarian in that shoot. He…
AB: (Cuts in) He was totally judging him.
SM: Yes, he was like, ‘Sidharth, tu vegetarian ban gaya kab se?’ He hated that but we bonded over Twitter. I realised that, in the beginning, he didn’t know how to hashtag and tag people. So I was, like, ‘Sir, naam likhne se kuch nahin hota, you have to put handles.’
FK: (Cuts in) Ek baar, mujhe bhi ek din tedhi nazar se dekha tha.
SM: Kya bolta hai! (Laughs)
AB: Tedhi nazar se dekha tha matlab?
SM: Tedhi nazar se dekha tha matlab gusse se dekha tha.
AB: Tedhi nazar se dekha means checking someone out.
FK: India mein tedhi nazar yeh hoti hai?! Nahin but tedhi nazar actually means looking at someone angrily.
SM: Over here, tedhi nazar ka matlab gussa bhi hota hai aur woh bhi hota hai.
AB: Woh bhi matlab checking out.
FK: Woh toh maili nazar hoti hai!
AB: Maili!
FK: Maili, gandi nazar!
SM: Yes right!
AB: Yahaan par sirf tedhi nazar hi hoti hai.
FK: Acha, anyway.
SM: Jaise bachiyaan. (Laughs)
FK: Humare yahaan pe bachiyaan…
SM: (Cuts in) What do you call young, hot girls?

BOI: Pataka.
SM: See, aisa kuch.

BOI: In Punjab it is tota.
AB: And in Mumbaiya language?

BOI: Babe or item or maal.
SM: Exactly, item and he says bachiyaan! (Laughs)
AB: Bachiyaan!!
SM: But that is the thing, that is the difference. This is slang.
FK: That is slang, in Pakistan slang if you call a lady or a woman or a girl; or whatever you choose it doesn’t mean that I am… it is the slang it doesn’t sound inappropriate if you say ‘girl’ in English but Urdu mein bachiyaan bol diya toh bolte hai buraa bol diya.
SM: But yahaan pe nahin bolte hain.
AB: It is very entertaining.
SM: We used to laugh just the way you guys are laughing right now. We used to keep pulling Fawad’s leg about this. The way they use slang in Pakistan is very different.
AB: But it is also so interesting to listen to it.
SM: The language is same but certain…
AB: (Cuts in) I have learnt so many new and nice Hindi words because of Fawad, because Urdu itni meethi bhaasha hai. It is nice to hear this lovely Hindi and I am this Bombay girl whose Hindi is very bad, who is always struggling with the language. So whenever I had trouble, I would go to Fawad. Very nice!
FK: Thank you, so sweet of you.

BOI: You also said it is an emotional family story. While doing the scenes or during the narration, did you bring in anything from your personal life?
FK: Thank God we didn’t get a narration.
SM: We all read the script.
AB: Yes.
FK: Is it inappropriate to say you don’t like narrations?
AB: No. I too openly admit that I don’t like narrations.

BOI: Was there anything that you were able to connect with your personal life, as you play brothers?
FK: Sure, I have two sisters, an elder one and a younger one. So it was an opportunity for me to have a brother, which I didn’t have in real life.
SM: (Cuts in) Now he knows what it is like to have a brother.
FK: And now, I don’t want a brother! (Laughs)
SM: That’s what I was going to say. After what he experienced, he was, like, ‘I am good with my sisters.’ I actually don’t know what it’s like to have a sister as I grew up with an elder brother and four cousins and we had only one sister. So I can relate to these stories about, you know, the brother conflict that Shakun has tried to show and how they had issues and still did not talk about it. But I think the one thing that you take back from this film is that we must communicate with our family, they are the only people who will stick by you in rough times. 

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