India Today - - LEISURE - —Suhani Singh

Posters of Raj Kapoor, Nu­tan, Dilip Ku­mar and Guru Dutt grace the walls of the of­fice of Sid­dharth Roy Ka­pur’s two-year-old film pro­duc­tion house–a tribute to Hindi cin­ema’s glo­ri­ous past. But one wall is de­voted to more mod­ern clas­sics.

Over a decade at the UTV and later Dis­ney In­dia, Roy Ka­pur pro­duced Rang De Bas­anti, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Jod­haa Ak­bar, Delhi Belly, Paan Singh To­mar, Rowdy Rathore, Udaan, Barfi!, PK, and Dan­gal, among oth­ers, con­sis­tently strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween in­ge­nious con­tent and com­mer­cial suc­cess.

His solo act be­gan with the re­lease of his new ban­ner’s first film, Pihu, on No­vem­ber 16. The tense drama—about a two-year-old girl stranded in an apart­ment in a high-rise build­ing—promises the same mix of nov­elty and mass ap­peal.

Is he rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to be his own boss? Turns out he’s a pretty strict taskmas­ter. “One tends to be the most de­mand­ing of one­self,” he says, adding that he aims to bring his sen­si­bil­ity to var­i­ous gen­res. That’s ev­i­dent in the ros­ter of projects he has an­nounced thus far. There’s Pihu, which he hopes “will at­tract a younger au­di­ence look­ing for some­thing ex­per­i­men­tal”. Next year he’ll re­lease The Sky is Pink star­ring Priyanka Chopra, Zaira Wasim and Farhan Akhtar—an in­spi­ra­tional biopic based on mo­ti­va­tional speaker Aisha Chaud­hary’s strug­gle with pul­monary fi­bro­sis. Both films are in col­lab­o­ra­tion with his erst­while boss Ron­nie Screw­vala’s ban­ner, RSVP. “He told me that he would love to be the stu­dio to my pro­duc­tion house,” says Roy Ka­pur. “It works well be­cause we have had a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship and know each other well. I keep learn­ing from him all the time,” he adds.

With po­ten­tial cin­ema­go­ers in­creas­ingly turn­ing to­wards their mo­biles and computers for en­ter­tain­ment, Roy Ka­pur be­lieves it’s also im­por­tant to as­cer­tain “what makes for a cin­e­matic ex­pe­ri­ence and what doesn’t”. His big screen-ori­ented projects in the pipe­line in­clude a biopic based on the life of as­tro­naut Rakesh Sharma and fea­tur­ing Shah Rukh Khan as the lead ac­tor, Sooni Tara­porevala’s film based on the true story of two Mum­baibased bal­let en­thu­si­asts, and films di­rected by Vinil Mathew and R.S. Prasanna. The idea is to make three to four films a year.

Apart from that, Roy Ka­pur will make his foray into the dig­i­tal space, cre­at­ing orig­i­nals for Jio. “It’s an in­ter­est­ing time right now be­cause no­body knows where the dig­i­tal view­er­ship is go­ing. The dan­ger is to pre­sup­pose that what’s work­ing in the West will work here as well,” he says. What he does know is that he will have ac­cess to a wide au­di­ence—250 mil­lion users and grow­ing— one that cin­e­mas can’t prom­ise.


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