Photography by Shreya Dev Dube
For an actor who is still in his early twenties, Ishaan Khatter has been spoilt for choice. Early on in 2017, he managed to bag two vastly different films. One was from Dharma Productions—Hindi remake of the Marathi Blockbuster, Sairat. The other was Beyond the Clouds by celebrated Iranian director, Majid Majidi. He lived the ultimate dream for an actor of juggling two worlds far removed from one another in his very first year of films. Ishaan may come from Bollywood’s most influential film families but he is the perfect combination of privilege, talent, and hard work. Even his latest offering, A Suitable Boy, by the brilliant filmmaker Mira Nair, adds onto his already interesting filmography. We got in touch with him to unravel his quirks, likes, dislikes and idiosyncrasies.
Contextualise yourself in one word.
First memory of performing?
I remember performing on the song, Ek Pal Ka Jeena from Kaho Na Pyaar Hain for my mother and brother when I was four years old.
What was it about A Suitable Boy that struck a chord with you?
The fact that it is emotional and sweeping in equal measures and the fact that it is so Indian in its fabric, the fact that it displayed the deep, interwoven nature of our existence as people. These are the things that resonated with me and Maan.
How is Maan (your character in A Suitable Boy) different from the real you?
He is much more haphazard, a lot more directionless than I am.
Which genre would you like to explore as an actor and why?
I want to do a thriller, a musical...I want to do a horror film, I want to do all genres because I love movies; whatever genres they may be of.
Why do you do what you do?
I can’t think of any other way of living. That’s why I do what I do. I have a deep desire to connect with different people with different perceptions, schools of thought. I seek feelings, experiences and that motivates me to push myself in a different direction every time. I feel I am a gypsy so acting is the only profession for me.
The one artist from any genre you can’t stop admiring.
Probably be Les Twins—my dance idols.
The day you realised the power of social media.
Quite recently there was a reminder of it when a video of small thela in Delhi went viral and the old couple that was running it were out of money and not making any money in dire circumstances. They were overwhelmed with the customers when people learnt about it through social media. All came together to help them and now it’s becoming something of a trend. There’s a video from Allahabad as well. I hope this continues and this is the positive nature of social media that needs to be given more momentum.
The one label a person from the 31st century, writing about us, would use to describe humanity today.
If the world were ending in ten minutes, what would you do?
I’ll probably eat a piece of cake and then call everyone I love. And hopefully be around someone I love. And dance.
Tell us things people will be surprised to know about you.
I’m a very fast typer. Very slow reader, mostly. I really enjoy cooking pancakes for my friends. And I like making my own coffee. Also, I’m really good at scrabble. And I’m an ATV [Bike] prodigy.
The last time you did something for the first time.
Shooting in the middle of a pandemic, that was new. Also, last year. I went on an ATV expedition and I’ve never driven an ATV before.
One ritual in life you can’t do away with.
Starting anything good or new in the name of God. That’s a ritual. And listening to music on set...any music.
A film you wish you had been a part of.
I recently saw the making of Lagaan— madness in the dessert. So Lagaan.
Which cartoon or historical character do you most identify with?
What makes you a. mad b. sexy c. happy?
a. Unkind people. b. & c. Dance.
The one thing desperately lacking in the film industry.
Sense of abandon, I guess.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpower to be?
To slowdown time so I can make that most of it.
Lastly, what has been your Platform moment?
I don’t know what a Platform moment is. Perhaps, this is my Platform moment.
This is an all exlcusive from our November Bookazine. To read from grab your copy here.