Art & Entertainment

Rajat Kapoor On Verbose Films, Mallika Sherawat And Working With Friends

Actor-director Rajat Kapoor shares his experience of working with the cast and crew of his upcoming film 'Rk/Rkay.'

Rajat Kapoor

After delivering thought-provoking films packaged with thorough entertainment like 'Mithya', 'Ankhon Dekhi', actor-filmmaker Rajat Kapoor is set to roll out another film titled 'Rk/Rkay'.

Kapoor, who has often been credited for setting a new cinematic tone, feels that our mainstream films have taken away the charm of a visual medium that cinema essentially is and has reduced it to just a dialogue-based artform. He spoke about the problem of our mainstream cinema being heavily dependent on dialogues, the inception and idea of the 'Rk/Rkay', and his experience of working with the film's cast.

Earlier, Kapoor had said in a statement given to the media that mainstream Hindi films focus too much on dialogue. But that was almost 6 years back. Has there been a shift in his thought process or he still feels the same? He has a long but convincing answer up his sleeve.

He takes flight as he throws in a bit of self-criticism, "I have also been accused of this myself, actually. My wife thinks that my films are too verbose. Whether it is 'Ankhon Dekhi' and at times even 'Rk/Rkay'. While I may have said so earlier but I suffer from the same problem as Amartya Sen has called that of an 'argumentative Indian'; maybe we talk too much."

His tone now changes to a more serious one, "Having said that, cinema is a visual medium, and great films have been made when there was no sound and no dialogue in them, purely on the merit of the visuals. What I may have meant (back in 2016) was that the mainstream cinema does not look at the cinema as a visual medium completely."

Furthering his point, he mentions, "So, the problem is not the dialogue, the lack of it or the excess of it. The problem is with the aesthetics of reducing a visual medium to a radio play. so to say. Our mainstream films, for the most part, don't care about how it looks visually; they don't give true value to the shots or how it is lit."

"They are more focused on what is being said between the characters and the overall structure of the film. They just care about the hero and heroines standing and delivering lines in front of the camera", he says.

While the film sees him reunite with his favorite bunch of actor-friends - Ranvir Shorey, Manu Rishi, and Chandrachoor Rai, it also stars Mallika Sherawat and Kubbra Sait, both of whom are working with Kapoor for the first time. For him, Sherawat's casting was something that happened organically, and he's glad that it happened.

He says, "Mallika is not from my universe. We both have done films which are vastly different from each other in terms of tonality and cinematic language. Someone from my team suggested her name, and I thought, 'Okay that sounds interesting; let's send her the script and see what she has to say. I had never met her, we didn't know each other personally, but it seems like she's a huge fan of 'Aankhon Dekhi'".

Well, who doesn't love Kapoor's "Aankhon Dekhi"? The cinephile circles in metro cities live by that film's name. So, for him, it may have come across as a surprise; it's the mark of the director that his film has been able to touch so many lives.

Recollecting his interaction with Sherawat, he continues, "When I called her, she thanked me for reaching out to her for the film. I was taken aback for a moment; I thought, 'am I really speaking with Mallika Sherawat? Or is it someone pranking me in her name?'" He expresses, "We sent her the script, and to my surprise, she really liked the script of 'Rk/Rkay' and jumped at the idea. Let me tell you, she is absolutely spot on in the film. As an actor, a person, and a professional, she was a delight to work with. Beyond that, I think her faith in the film is more than anybody else."

"From the shooting to a small screening in the US last year to now when the film is about to hit the theatres, she has been with the film. I really appreciate that. For a director to have an actor by his side, this is truly commendable", he adds.

Talking about the rest of the cast, he shares, "Ranvir, Manu, and Chandrachoor Rai are my dear friends and three actors whom I really admire. If I can, I will work with them in every film of mine."

"It was my first time working with Kubbra Sait, and she is very good in the film. I have been very lucky in that way to have worked with impeccable actors every time. That makes my job quite easy as a filmmaker because your actors share the same vision with you about the character and the overall narrative."

Before he signs off, he gives due credit to his technical team who have been with him for over 20 years, "Rafey Mehmood (director of photography), Minnal Agarwal (production designer), Resul Pookutty (the sound recordist who won an Oscar for 'Slumdog Millionaire') and Suresh Pai (the editor), these guys are truly the best at what they do. When you have such a great team backing you up, you cultivate that confidence that they will take care of things if something isn't clicking or going right", he concludes as he promises another power-packed addition to his filmography.

'Rk/Rkay' is set to release theatrically on July 22.


[With Inputs from IANS]