There is more creative freedom in releasing Thar on Netflix, says actor Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor, who felt liberated that they did not have to censor scenes or think about the box office numbers of the film.
It would be the fourth Netflix release for the actor, whose films Bhavesh Joshi did well at the platform after a theatrical release while Ray and Ak vs Ak directly released on the streaming platform.
“I don’t have that vanity that my films should release in cinema. I don’t take myself that… for me it is not about me, but about the film and over the course of my career, people will see that. I am not self-involved with the approach,” Kapoor said ahead of the release of Thar.
Son of Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, the actor is working with his father in the movie, directed by debutant Raj Singh Chaudhary. The film also features Fatima Sana Shaikh, Satish Kaushik, Jitendra Joshi and Mukti Mohan.
“I feel with this film, we were creatively more liberated because you don’t have to think about the pressure of first-day number, satellite sale. There is a decent amount of action, violence, little bit of sex, all of those things… With Netflix, you get a little more leeway in terms of artistic expression.
“What is on the screen is more or less exactly what is on the page. It has not been diluted in any way through that process.” Citing the example of some of his father’s films, Kapoor said while the box office may follow the rule of demand and supply, the real test of a movie is time.
“The quality of a film is what stands the test of time. They are two very different things, like if this film released in theatres and the first three-day collection would have been good, then the trade would say, it is a successful film.
“But maybe people didn’t like the film and they just went because they were curious to see it as opposed to other films that come in cinemas that are not able to generate interest immediately, the trade writes it off as a bad film. I have a million examples like ‘Nayak’, ‘Lamhe’, ‘Pukar’, ‘Parinda’, and so many. Those are the films that people talk about now.” Kapoor, 31, made his debut with Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya in 2018. Though the film did not do well the actor was noticed for his performance. He has followed his debut with films that have avoided the definition of a typical Bollywood movie, something that the actor said is intentional on his part.
“There is a lot of spotlight (on my work) right from the start. That is more because of the lineage than me just being a young actor. I don’t think I am doing anything brave or courageous by making these choices. It is just that I am doing it for myself,” he said.
“There is always going to be some sort of criticism but I think it is becoming less and less as people see each performance. But there will always be a little bit of … until I probably do a mainstream film that kind of makes money, there will always be a little bit of, ‘oh it’s very niche’, ‘it’s very personal’.” The actor said he is “secure” in his selection of movies as he believes he has a certain “taste and sensibility” for films.
“I don’t think about anybody when I decide to do something, I think only about myself. Because I feel that’s when you are honest and you are supposed to do things for yourself and people are supposed to like it out of accident and not out of design.” Kapoor hopes that Thar reaches more people than his other films as it has a bigger cast, landscape and visual appeal.
Inspired by the Western Noir genre, Thar is set in the eighties and traces Siddharth’s (Kapoor) journey through a remote village in Rajasthan that has recently been rocked by a series of violent killings.
According to Kapoor, the film is a courageous attempt at building a new world that is visually detailed and layered in its narrative.
“There is meaning hidden in everything, there is a lot of nuance. In a film, the motivations are very clear, you know who the protagonist or antagonist is, who to root for but here, it is open for interpretation and that’s a kind of film that I am interested in.
“We don’t want to make up the mind of the audience, spoon feed them, that is being done enough, it is time for really new stuff and it (story) depends on the perspective of the viewer,” he said.
The actor said it was a challenge to get a producer on board for Thar because it is not a typical Bollywood entertainer.
Recalling the struggle of getting a producer to back Thar, Kapoor said the film came to him in March 2018 and initially it was meant to be a theatrical release but when Netflix came on board, things changed.
“Three months before ‘Bhavesh Joshi’ released Raj met me, we spent a one-and-half year pitching it to different producers and simultaneously worked on the script.
“We did get one (producer) and did a test shoot too but then… When you see the film, you will realise it is not a typical Bollywood Hindi format film. With those films, it is always challenging to get producers aligned and be able to get them financially believe in the vision,” he said.
Thar, produced by Anil Kapoor Film Company (AKFC), will release on May 6.