Acting on screen, be it any role, is no easy feat, but the task gets way tougher when an actor take on a real-life character, especially if said real-life character has been a war hero. Which brought us to how difficult it must have been for Shershaah pair Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani to detach themselves from their real characters they were enacting in reel life, especially during the scenes of untold sacrifice, and how overwhelming it must have been to thrust themselves into such scenarios even if only on camera. Here's what they revealed to BollywoodLife when posed the question in an exclusive interview...
“I think, all the portions in Kargil because the oxygen was so low that even when he (Director Vishnuvardhan) used to say, 'Cut,' we used to be like...(depicts how they'd keep panting). So, even though he's saying, 'Cut,' we're still in that zone, trying to get our breath back. We also trained, but even the army officers would recommend to take it slow, but of course, when they had to do it in the real world, they broke all of that (physical barriers) and accomplished it. But, I just keep thinking of Kargil – it was my first time shooting there, I think, all of our first time shooting there, it was the first time any Hindi film was shot there, and it's very close to the real line of control (LOC) , where the battle kind of happened, about 10-15 odd km away,” said Sidharth Malhotra.
“The oxygen is different there, we're about 12,000-14,00 feet above sea level, and that's where I had to do my ending scenes – the scene where Captain Vikram Batra laid his life. It's within those mountains in one of those locations. When you know that scene is coming up, as an actor you start prepping weeks and months before that and as the days come closer, you try to enact it in your head, try to imagine how it'd be. And, I think, those are the trickiest scenes to do because no actor can tell you what it is to die, how it is to give your life for the country, especially in this case. We're all doing our versions of that,” added the actor
“I remember, Vishnu was planning to shoot it in the first week, ten days of going there, and I remember calling him up and asking, 'Do you really want to shoot this in the first week, ten days? You know, it's like the climax of the film,' and he was all, 'No...no...no...let's do it backwards...do this now. We'll go back to the story after a while.' And I think, that worked, that really worked because that sense of nervousness or anxiety before performing an important scene never goes away and sometimes, it really lends itselfto something so honest that you hadn't planned, that's where the magic happens. I think, all great scenes and great films have moments that are accidents. We as a tram are pretty happy with how that scene turned out and now we're hooping the audience feels the same once they see the film,” concluded Sidharth Malhotra.
“I think, all of us, and especially for me, the intention was to keep the sentiment and the emotion authentic and true in every scene. Whether it was prepping by meeting Dimple (Dimple Cheema, martyred Kargil war hero Vikram Batra's real-life girlfriend) to understand that and then being true to that and taking it forward, I feel there were many times in the film when sir (Vishnuvardhan) would say, 'Cut,' and I'd still be in that zone, particularly perhaps in that last scene. There are two other scenes that come to mind: One is when Captain Vikram Batra tells Dimple that he's decided to join the Indian Army and in this scene, I feel, Vishnu sir has written it with so much subtext, and I'll give a lot of credit to Sid (Sidharth) also because we had a lot of conversations before doing this scene, where he (Vishnu) said, 'Make it feels like it's a breakup because it's natural in that moment for a couple to have that fight with each other,' but there's also that subtext of her supporting him, which is what a lover would do in that moment and the emotion of a strong woman saying, 'Go ahead and do it,' just the way she said it, there was so much emotion in that scene, so many layers were many moments when he called, 'Cut,' and we would still be in that zone, and still true to that moment,” said Kiara Advani.
Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani's war biopic, Shershaah, based on the life of martyred Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra, is directed by noted Tamil film filmmaker Vishnuvardhan in his Bollywood debut, and releases on 12th August on Amazon Prime.
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