Choosing the gritty Faraaz instead of a glitzy star-kid launch, Shashi Kapoor’s grandson Zahan hopes to ‘earn’ his place in the industry
The late Shashi Kapoor flanked by children Kunal and Sanjana, and grandkids Shaira and Zahan
There is bound to be immense curiosity when the late Shashi Kapoor’s grandson makes his Hindi film debut. But Zahan Kapoor wants people to watch Faraaz with the expectation of a good film, not as a star-kid’s launch vehicle. “My biggest fear is this being construed as the debut film of a Kapoor. If you are coming in with that expectation, you will be disappointed,” he says.
Hansal Mehta’s directorial venture, also starring Aditya Rawal, recounts the 2016 terrorist attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where five gunmen held customers hostage for 12 hours and killed over 20 of them. Zahan plays the eponymous character, a young boy who stood on the right side of faith and humanity in the face of violence. “This film is not about a character who is prepared to be on a mission; here, the character emerges. Hansal sir’s choice was to show that the guy was caught in an experience, and was compelled to stand by his belief,” explains Zahan.
It’s easy to see that the hostage drama is far from the conventional star-kid launch vehicles that come with a fair amount of razzmatazz. Zahan, son of Kunal Kapoor and Sheena Sippy, says it falls perfectly in line with his family values, where merit takes precedence over privilege. “No one is putting me on a magazine cover before my debut film. We have to earn our place. I was taught that despite our privilege, we have to be responsible and aware about the reality that surrounds us. My father is an ad filmmaker, and when he started working, we weren’t in a good position, financially. His story was independent of his father’s, and I hope mine is independent too.” His father often reminds him of the fickle nature of both success and failure. “He often jokes that he could tell how my grandfather’s career was going by the number of bouquets that would come home on his birthday. The biggest advantage is not the family, but the privilege to make our own choices.”
With the movie, he says he has “reintroduced” himself as an artiste to his family that has more than its share of superstars — from cousins Kareena Kapoor Khan and Ranbir Kapoor, to Alia Bhatt. “My family is proud of me. I am happy I could tell [my cousins] that I am also walking the same path, even if behind them.”