Ishaan Khatter debuts with ”˜Beyond the Clouds’

By Neeru Saluja

He’s the new kid on the Bollywood block. But 22 year old Ishaan Khatter is not the conventional star kid. The half-brother of actor Shahid Kapoor and son of Neelima Azeem, is making his big screen debut with ace international filmmaker Majid Majidi’s film ”˜Beyond the Clouds’.

With no formal training in acting, Ishaan feels privileged to be selected by the Iranian director of the Oscar nominated film ”˜Children of Heaven’. And while his intense performance as the brave and bindaas ”˜Amir’ is being called the ”˜most confident debut’, he will also be seen shortly in Karan Johar’s ”˜Dhadak’ opposite Jhanvi Kapoor.

As he juggles two vastly different films, his newly found stardom, comparisons with his big brother, Ishaan stands confident and calm at the start of his career. As we talked to him prior to the release of his film ”˜Beyond the Clouds’, it was a pleasure to get an insight into the natural born actor.

”˜Beyond the Clouds’, a story of two siblings Amir (played by Ishaan) and Taara (actress Malavika Mohanan) set in Mumbai is being released on May 4 in Australia by Zee Studios.

Ishaan, what makes your character Amir so appealing to the audience?

Amir is an 18 year old boy orphaned at a very young age. He has been raised by his elder sister Taara. Due to a series of unfortunate events, he has to leave his sister’s house when he was fourteen. Ever since then, he fends for himself. He lives on the streets and does what he can do to live his life. He is a robust, quick witted and sharp boy. He has built a tough exterior but inside he is a vulnerable young character. This dimension of his character makes him interesting.

Do you feel a connection to Amir’s character? You are just 22 and have already bagged two big banners?

I do feel a connection as I’m quite childlike in real life. My childhood was deeply connected to cinema, music and art. It defines my identity. In the same way Amir’s tough character is built by his independent childhood.

You are being compared to your half-brother actor Shahid Kapoor. He started off quite young just like you.

He is my elder brother and is 15 years older to me. I have grown up under his wings and mentorship. He has a huge influence on my life. He likes to play the big brother card. We bond through our common passion for music and cinema. He became an actor at a very young age and has a very busy life. It’s one of those relationships where he has advised me since I was a kid in acting and dancing.

The comparisons don’t bother me. There are millions of people who follow his body of work and I understand the excitement. I feel it a bit amusing when people pick me against him. I can’t compete with my brother. We are one unit and are a team.

You are also coming in ”˜Dhadak’ which marks the debut of late Sridevi’s daughter Jhanvi Kapoor.

”˜Dhadak’ is an adaptation of the Marathi film ”˜Sairat’. It’s a Dharma production film. It’s very different to ”˜Beyond the Clouds’. The characters are extremely different in a large way.

Do you fear being stereotyped as both your films are unconventional for a newcomer?

No. I chose neither of my films, I was chosen for these films. It’s my good fortune that director Majid Majidi chose me for my first film. He is not only a world renowned filmmaker but he is someone who has made soulful and very valuable films consistently. I’m a huge admirer of his films and he has a made a film in a different country and a language that he doesn’t speak. He has such a remarkable grasp on the authenticity of the characters which is really fascinating. I couldn’t be more grateful to be the lead character for his film. Therefore, I don’t see this as an unconventional film and once you go to the theatre you will see this is a universal story. It’s a film that will connect to both the audience.

So what will the audience take home after watching ”˜Beyond the Clouds’?

It’s a unique cinematic experience. It’s the first Indian film by Majid who is the man of faith. This is a film very deeply rooted with human values. It’s a film about family bonding and has been shot in Mumbai in a total different light.






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