Young Bollywood star Alia Bhatt was attracted to her role in Kapoor & Sons—Since 1921 when she read the script and saw that the film, which opens next week (Mar. 18), “didn’t just show the happy side of a family,” she said during a video press conference yesterday from Mumbai.
“In today’s day and age, yes, we love and care for each other, but also fight like crazy and get really irritated!” said Bhatt. “There’s a lot of snapping and fighting, and even in the [movie] trailer you see it’s not a typical family set-up.”
Called “a dramedy with soul,” Kapoor & Sons is directed by Shakun Batra and also stars Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan and actor-director-producer Rishi Kapoor, a member of the large Kapoor family of Bollywood creators.
“It focuses on relationships in general—not just between girl and boy, but all family dynamics,” said Bhatt, who plays Tia, a young girl who becomes the romantic target of estranged brothers Rahul (Khan)and Arjun (Malhotra), who return home to be with their ailing grandfather (Kapoor) and discover that their entire family is in a sorry state.
“What I admire most about my character is the kind of joy in life she has,” said Bhatt, herself an upbeat presence, and also part of a prominent Bollywood family as daughter of director Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan (half siblings are the actress/director Pooja Bhatt and actor Rahul Bhatt, her uncle is producer Mukesh Bhatt, and cousins include actor Emraan Hashmi and director Mohit Suri).
“She’s been through things in her life that made her value joy a lot more,” Bhatt added of Tia. “She’s constantly playing pranks with people and joking around [and] the fondnesss she has for her family I relate to. My family is similar to the Kapoor family, so [there were] many things I looked for from real life.”
But she said that she never experienced “sibling rivalry” and was closest to her sister–“but we’re all really fond of each other.”
Asked whether it was harder to play opposite a romantic interest than a sibling character, Malhotra chose the latter, since playing a sibling requires “years and years of a connection that you have to show,” whereas a romantic interest is generally someone the character has just met.
Khan noted that he and Malhotra “shared extremely good rapport and did what we call ‘chill out’ together.”
“We were so fortunate to translate that camaraderie on screen,” he said.
As for the songs, Bhatt cited the first Kapoor & Sons song to be released, “Kar Gayi Chull” as a “simple cool house party song.” Written by Badshah and Kumaar and sung by Badshah, Fazilpuria, Sukriti Kakar and Neha Kakkar, “Kar Gayi Chull” has already garnered over 18.6 million views on YouTube.
Bhatt also lauded Rishi Kapoor, now 63, who plays the 90-year-old grandfather.
“After so many years he has the same amount of excitement and passion,” she said. “The beautiful quality about him is that he speaks his mind, and it’s good to have that energy. He’s one of the most talented actors we have.”
And she related the advice her mother gave her regarding acting.
“Less is always more,” said 22-year-old Bhatt, quoting her mom.