He has been called everything from the next best thing to a by-product of nepotism, and he has taken everything in his stride. Having a Majid Majidi film as a debut ensures he has an extra bounce in his gait, he knows what he brings to the table and is ready to enjoy the feast.
He talks sure, he talks fast, he is not afraid of laughing at the media whenever possible, he is not afraid of people laughing all alone. He takes his work seriously and is already enjoying his moment in the sun. Of course, he is in the limelight. His troupe of PRs and managers make sure people do his bidding, times are good for Ishaan…
‘Dhadak’ just released, do you remember how it all came together?
On the way to the screening of Sairat, Shashank (Khaitan, director) mentioned they were planning on working on an adaption. I loved the film, and later I told my mother to watch it too; my brother had already seen it. When Dhadak started falling in place, it was more than I could have asked for. I spoke to my brother about it, he was thrilled. He was glad I was collaborating with these guys….
What was Shahid’s reaction to the way the trailer was appreciated?
I called him, asking if he saw it… he said it was great and that I should hang up and let him work!
Tell us about Madhukar… how was it playing him?
It was an experience that will stay with me for a long time. Madhu is very far removed from what I am; frankly, it might surprise some, but Dhadak is more of a departure from who I am in my real life than my previous character (in Beyond The Clouds). There are certain things I identified with, but mostly this character I had to discover.
Tell us a little about the process of discovering Madhukar….
I think Janhvi and I going with Shashank during the recce to Udaipur really helped. We were out there with the locals understanding the flavour, picking up some mannerisms here and there; it was fabulous. We were actually trying to converse in their dialect to get the authenticity in place for the film. By the end of the first schedule, we were very well versed with nooks and corner of the place. It was exciting…
You have come a long way from the little boy who insisted on being a part of Life Ho to Aisi, right?
Of course, it was hilarious. I had gone visiting Bhai and saw the film had so many kids, and it just seemed so wrong that I wasn’t a part of it!
Did you ever feel the pressure of expectations because you had come from the sets of Beyond The Clouds? Out here, people might be expecting you to be very sure footed and this is only your second film…
I will never forget what I learnt working with Majidi sir. Of course, it helped my craft and understanding of my acting, but when I walked onto the sets of Shashank’s film it was all about him and how he wants me to take on the character. Shashank has done two fabulous films and has a very clear idea of what he wants from his actors, he has the knack of translating it beautifully….
Was there a lot of learning and unlearning to do?
You could say that. There was this particular part wherein I was doing the scene a particular way…. However, that wasn’t what Shashank had in mind. Suddenly, in the midst of the scene I could hear him scream, “Ishaan HAM!” It was hilarious!
This being Janhvi’s debut film, tell us a bit about her….
She is lovely. Working with her, I know I have a friend for life. She is whacked completely. Her laugh is infectious. She made the Dhadak sets so vibrant, with her madness. It was fab working with her.
It might have been really tough working for her, after her mother’s untimely demise….
n It is really too personal for me to comment on it. But seeing the way Janhvi has handled herself, I have tremendous respect for her.
This is getting too serious… let’s get back to happy thoughts. You are playing a dad in the film too, how was that? Was it tough getting a grip on that facet of your character?
I don’t think it was particularly tough playing a father to a small child; it was the mannerisms, the small details considering there is a time lapse, that we had to be clear about. After the time you have spent with your own child you are used to handling the baby. He is a young father with a toddler so I had to play it accordingly.
Baby talks, bring me to the happy news of you being an uncle again….
Yeah! I cannot wait. I am going to be chachuuuuuuu again! Of course, Misha has already trained me well enough. I am just looking forward to enjoying every bit of pampering the new addition.
Are you rooting for a boy or a girl?
How does it matter? We are just waiting for the new baby, and praying for the child is healthy and happy always. I am speaking here for Bhai and Mira, they too don’t have any preferences…