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.
WITH HIS BANNER RELEASING ITS FIRST FILM, PIHU, THIS MONTH, SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR HAS BIG PLANS FOR HIS NEW PRODUCTION HOUSE