Unlike a lot of films spanning long periods of time, Pankaj Kapur’s characters in his first directorial feature go through a realistic physical transformation. How did Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor do it?
Often in Bollywood filmmakers effortlessly weave time lapses into their stories, but don’t give a thought to the physical growth of their protagonists. For instance, in Saat Khoon Maaf, Priyanka Chopra has the chutzpah to look old and wrinkled, but her character’s physical metamorphosis from 17 to 70 is inconsistent. Drastic changes in her appearance don’t occur till she turns 50. But Mausam’s writer and director Pankaj Kapur ensures that his stars Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor consistently evolve externally through the ten-year long romance. For the first part of the story, both actors easily pass off as the young 20-year-olds in love. And the facet that is often considered to be Shahid’s weak point – his boyish looks – lets the 30-year-old convincingly portray a collegian on screen. After the big leap of seven years Shahid’s character sports a moustache to disguise the very same boyish charm, whereas there is no obvious change in Sonam’s physicality. Of course, their costumes change with the setting. Fortunately, post that leap there are no long time gaps. Thus there isn’t any need to transform appearances. But there is a logic behind the way Sonam dresses. She begins with salwar kameezes, moves on to dresses when in Scotland and then, almost a decade later when she returns to India, she puts on sarees to embrace and project her character’s maturity. It’s the director’s eye for detail that gets lost in the flawed story!