Rajesh Khattar can’t contain his happiness and excitement over his son Ishaan making his acting debut with international filmmaker Majid Majidi’s film Beyond The Clouds. “Ishaan has always had a bent towards this kind of good, relevant cinema. Of course, he is fascinated by Indian cinema too, but he has been an admirer of Majidi since long, and what could be better than to make his debut with him,” enthuses the proud papa. He adds that in his childhood, Ishaan was like a kid in a toy’s shop as far as films are concerned. “He would watch each and everything. Over the years, he became selective. Now, he watches a lot of European and Hollywood cinema.”
Ask him if Ishaan has taken any formal training in acting, and Rajesh says that acting cannot be taught. “The craft can be taught, not the art. And, the best way to learn the craft is on the field, rather than going to an institute. Ishaan assisted in the making of Udta Punjab and another film and that was the grounding for him.”
But Ishaan didn’t bag the film overnight. It was a long process, says Rajesh, “He gave a few auditions and look tests after which Majidi sahab felt he fitted the character that he had in mind.” Incidentally, this will also be Majidi’s first film in Hindi. “He is fascinated by India and has been working on the film for seven years. It is about human emotions and is Indian in its ethos as Majidi finds a lot of similarities between his country Iran and India.”
There were reports about Ishaan playing Deepika Padukone’s brother in the film, but Rajesh informs that she is not doing the film. “I think he wants to cast newcomers only,” reveals Rajesh.
What about rumours that Ishaan will be working in a Karan Johar film? “Right now, he will be busy with Majidi’s film and only after that’s done will he look into other things,” he signs off.
It was the most surreal experience watching Ishaan at the mahurat giving his first shot at Mukesh Mills, after which they shot at the fish market nearby. It was very crowded, so I waited in the van after that they said I would get jostled around,” says Neelima Azim of son Ishaan’s baby steps in the world of acting.
Neelima adds that she could not have asked for a better debut for her son. “It’s such a great beginning and I feel relaxed that he’s being launched with such a great filmmaker and a beautiful team. 24 years ago Shahid had made his debut as a leading actor in Ishq Vishk. I feel so grateful, so happy and blessed. It was all so soulful and beautiful. Shahid, Rajesh and I were present to give Ishaan moral support. I was not anxious at all.”
Neelima, herself an actor, adds she never has given him any acting advice, “I don’t see the reason to interfere. While I have brought him up, he has imbibed the culture around him. He has wonderful people around him. I don’t believe in giving sermons or lectures. I am just grateful. It’s been a long journey. Ishaan has got great guidance from Shahid and today, he is strong and independent. We are all very proud of him.”
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