At an Indian restaurant called Chor Bizarre, me and my sister Natasha had a An Interview With Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra For MIRZYA. This film is a retelling of a Punjabi folklore and a love story of Mirza Sahiban. It had its European Premiere in the 60th BFI London Film Festival, in which special guests including the legendary Anil Kapoor made a guest appearance along with his Bollywood star daughter Sonam Kapoor in order to support his son Harshvardhan Kapoor and his co star Saiyami Kher on their debut film.
The London Tree: How does it feel to debut in a movie together?
Harshvardhan Kapoor: It feels great because it is something that I and Saiyami always wanted to do since college. At last we have something amazing to show people and have their opinion about it. Infact it is a start of an interesting journey ahead.
Natasha Kundi: Instead of setting the movie in a previous era Mr. Rakesh, you have used mythology. How did you come up with this idea?
Rakesh Omprakash Mehra: Mirzya is a very interesting narrative. When you are telling a story it is like going through a creative journey, and this film is a retelling of an epic love story of Mirza Sahiban, which is actually itself a mythical folklore. We took this folklore to another level and made it look more mystical, surreal, beautiful, dramatic and full of action. It has been juxtaposed with the modern day characters and a love story set in Rajasthan. It is really nice to see that Harshvardhan and Saiyami played double roles, one a mythical one, and the other a modern one.
The London Tree: There were some scenes which were very physically demanding like riding a horse and walking in the hot Rajasthani desert. How did you cope with that?
Harshvardhan Kapoor: Before the shooting began, I learned horse riding for about a year and a half in order to prepare for the film which came in very handy as you can see in the movie. As far as walking in the hot Rajasthani desert is concerned, it was a part of the script which helped me get more into the mood of the character.
Saiyami Kapoor: I also learned to ride the horse, but not as much as what Harshvardhan had to learn. He had to learn to play polo and mounted archery and also how to ride a bike on the soft sand. The location of the desert was quite tough for us because of the heat. But it’s as Harshvardhan said, a part of the script so we had to do it.
Natasha Kundi: I know that this movie is very serious, but there might have been some funny incidents that might have happened on the set which you would want to share with your audience?
Rakesh Omprakash Mehra: The movie is not only serious but also quite intense and deep. The way it has been written is full of drama, emotions of love and human conflict. The true conflict is the one of choices and the one within and both characters in mythological and modern era are struggling within their own selves. On the set while we were shooting the film, it was a lot of fun. We had an international crew with us being Indians, a Polish camera crew, an Australian stunt action team and a Danish drone team which filmed the aerial shots. With so many people from different parts of the world there were instructions coming from four different languages which at times became quite hilarious for us all.
The London Tree: Was it easy to work under Mr. Rakesh?
Harshvardhan Kapoor: It was extremely easy because the way he directed us made our job very easy. The amount of time he spent on us, the space that he gave us while performing on the camera and the affection and understanding that he had of us was simply amazing.
Saiyami Kher: He spoiled us because working with him was such a pleasure. Around Mr. Rakesh it never felt like work, infact , it was like we were on a holiday the whole time. I always looked forward to going to the set and learn something new every day. It was an amazing experience.
The London Tree: And did you Mr. Rakesh, try to push Harshvardhan and Saiyami to their extreme performance wise?
Rakesh Omprakash Mehra: No one was working over or under any one. We all went along with each other at the same level. Each one of us was playing our parts to our best. We did push each other to the limit, because when we saw Harshvardhan give his best performance while riding a horse at break neck speed with both his hands on the bow and arrow to do mounted archery, which is near to impossible, it pushed the rest of the team to give their best. Similarly when the whole team saw Saiyami performing her best in the nearly zero degree temperature and fully soaked in the rain at night in the Rajasthani desert, it encouraged us all to move forward with an inspiration. And the team would always be there on time. They all came two hours before the cast to set up the scene, and would leave two hours later after wrapping up. The whole team did their bits the best and that is how we achieved in making what we would call a masterpiece in film making.
Natasha Kundi: One last question Mr. Rakesh. The movies that you have made always depict sacrifice like Rand De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Is there any aspect of your life that inspires you to make films about sacrifice?
Rakesh Omprakash Mehra: I think it’s a journey of a hero or a heroine, although being a hero is not a gender thing, but when you become one, you have to give the ultimate sacrifice. It can be your sacrifice, or your dear ones. Even if it revolves around a mystical character such as Moses or Guru Govind Singh, Mirza Sahiban or Romeo Juliet who sacrificed their own selves for the ones they cared and lived. This is why stories go down in history and are always remembered, and people like us keep retelling them because they deserve it.
The London Tree: Thank you Mr. Rakesh, Mr Harshvardhan and Miss Saiyami for giving us your time. We hope for all the best and pray for your success in the future.
Watch MIRZYA in theatres now.
Tags: India, Interviews
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