Few film houses can make the lives of beautiful people as complicated and dramatic as Dharma Productions. Their latest offering Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) focuses on family dynamics, especially between brothers (Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra) who fall in love with the same woman (Alia Bhatt). The lead actors spoke to the New York press and gave The Aerogram the inside scoop on their chemistry and acting chops.
Fawad and Sidharth, what was the process like to create a brotherly bond onscreen? And which is tougher — creating sibling chemistry or romantic chemistry?
Sidharth: The first answer is loud music, alcohol and other substances [laughter]. It’s definitely difficult to get the sibling chemistry because in romantic film you meet the boy or the girl in that film and you can build it up as the film starts. When you play a sibling you have to show chemistry from years and years of chemistry and years and years of connection, which is much more difficult in a film.
Fawad: I think to a certain extent it has a lot to do with how you are with one another not during things. I think off the set what your relationship is like. In our case I think off the sets we shared an extremely good rapport, spent a lot of time together and definitely did, what you would call, chill out together which allowed us to translate that camaraderie on the screen. Sid and I naturally got off on a great foot so we were kinda fortunate.
I think (chemistry) depends entirely on what kind of costar you have. If you have a romantic role and your costar is very frigid, I’m sure it becomes difficult to romance them, and similarly with a sibling if they’re possibly trying to beat you at your game or trying to be better then it kind of defeats the purpose. In this case I think it worked out for everyone.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received on how to be a good actor, and who gave you that advice?
Sidharth: Oohh, I’m still looking for that. And working on that. So when I do get that I’ll let you know. I can’t think of any. Fawad, what was the best piece of advice that you’ve gotten…
Alia: [interrupting] Um, I’ll give that!
Fawad: Yes, Alia’s dad (director Mahesh Bhatt) has given it for…
Alia: No, no! The solid advice my mother has given. A piece of advice that was given to me was given to me on my first film by my mother. I gave a shot, and when I came back to the monitor she said into my ear, “Alia, less is always more.” So that’s the piece of advice I’ve gotten from my mother. Fawad, your answer?
Fawad: Well, I’m not copying Alia. But I used to be a very loud, over-actor. The best piece of advice I got was from a director who basically recognized that I don’t move my eyebrows as much, that my eyes do all the talking and not my eyebrows. So I worked a lot on that.
Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) releases in theaters worldwide on March 18.
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Shivani cannot remember a time when she wasn’t madly in love with Indian cinema, which now inspires much of her writing. She lives in both New York City and Twitterpur at @Shivani510.