The immensely talented Ishaan Khattar admits to being disappointed by the tepid response to his debut film Beyond the Clouds directed by none other than famous Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi. But he is now looking hopefully into the future.
Snatching time off from the intense promotion of Dhadak, the Hindi remake of the historic Marathi hit Sairat, Ishaan says, “I am not very adept yet at analysing box-office figures. But yes, the performance of my first film was disappointing. We could find any number of reasons for why the film didn’t work. The best advice that I got after the film’s low key performance was to move on. To me that film will always remain special.”
Now Ishaan must brace himself for comparisons with Sairat. “I am aware that remakes are judged harshly. But we haven’t made Dhadak to be one-up on Sairat. We went into the remake out of our collective love and respect for the original. Sairat is a film that created history. We can’t even hope to repeat what it has done.”
Ishaan admits Dhadak has moved far away from the original. “Our director Shashank Khaitan has relocated the film to Rajasthan and that has made all the difference in the world. Sairat had a very strong message on things that are happening around us. And we have been respectful to that message.”
Ishaan admits to having seen Sairat twice. “Once as a member of the audience, then as an actor. I was fascinated by all the stories that surrounded the making of Sairat, about how the lead pair Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru actually stayed in the director Nagraj Manjule’s house for months.”
Ishaan says he shared some such bonding with his Dhadak director too. “Both Janhvi and I have grown very close to our director Shashank Khaitan. In fact when he went for two recces to Rajasthan I accompanied him. We are all very protective about one another.”
The young actor who speaks with the confidence of a seasoned trouper, has one request for the audience. “Please don’t judge our film against the original. We haven’t made Dhadak to prove we can do it better. I agree there has been criticism about the way we’ve done the Zingat song from Sairat. But there has also been a lot of love from people who are not waiting to judge us unfavourably in comparison with Sairat.