Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher may be newbies in Bollywood but they have already spent three years with the same project. Their three-year-old labour of love culminates in Mirzya — a film that questions if an eternal tale of love such as Mirza Sahibaan can survive in today’s time.
This Friday (October 7), Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is all set to launch the two fresh faces in a film scripted by Gulzar. The eminent writer has penned a screenplay after a gap of 15 years. In fact, as a film, Mirzya ticks all the boxes — written by Gulzar, the film has been directed by Mehra who has earlier given us memorable films such as Rang De Basanti (2006) and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013). The maker is also well aware that he carries huge expectations from this upcoming release and is also very confident of his cast. In an exclusive interaction with indianexpress.com, Mirzya cast Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra share their experiences.
Why would he adapt a folktale for today’s generation? The director says, “More than a folktale, it is an eternal love story and the desire to find that does love exists in today’s time. Thus we took the love story of Mirza-Sahibaan and placed it in today’s time.”
Watch | Take 5 With Saiyami Kher
Ask Harsh and Saiyami how they prepped for their roles and Harsh says, “We had to play two characters each and thus the challenges were doubled. We approached it like two different films. It took us a while to figure out what the film and the character needs. Be it physically or emotionally, we went through a lot of transformation while shooting the film. We attended workshops, did look tests, had horse riding to archery lessons, polo and mounted archery too as all this was needed for the role. It was a long journey”.
Saiyami adds, “Harsh prepared for almost 18 months. For me, it took a year… or a little more. But we believed more the challenges, more the fun.” Agreeing with her co-star that it felt like shooting for two films simultaneously, she said they were blessed to learn everything for their first film.
In fact, you find Saiyami and Harsh agreeing to a lot of things, an effect of working together for three years. The duo went through a lot of training sessions while preparing for their roles in Mirzya. The film plays in two parallel worlds — one real and one fantasy. To play such roles in their very first film, both the actors did walk miles together. Thus Saiyami feels that she has definitely found a “friend for life” in Harsh. “We were shooting for our climax sequence in Rajasthan and we had to sit under a tree for a really long. And we ended up chatting about each other lives, ” shared Saiyami. Harsh too added that “three years is much longer than one can think.”
But Harshvardhan and Saiyami are not the only two faces that Mirzya is introducing — it has two more new debutantes in Anil Chaudhary and Anjali Patil. The film is thus expressed as a ‘new way of storytelling’. “We offer a larger than live, a cinematic experience to our audiences in a musical narrative. The film is a big screen experience,” says the director.
However, ask them who was the youngest of the cast and bursting with ideas and pat comes the answer: Gulzar. “Gulzar Sir felt strongly about the film and treated it very graciously and poetically and this is how it worked out. We are fortunate to have his writing,” is their verdict.
Watch | Take 5 With Harshvardhan Kapoor
With a day to go before the film lands, what is the primary reason why people should go and watch the film? “Viewers have their own intelligence to decided that they want to go for the film or not. They see the songs, the trailer and they getting to see these actors now, so they decide. But in the past, I have got a lot of love and affection with my works like Rang De Basanti or Delhi 6 and others so there is a past with me too. Mirzya is different as this is the first time I am doing a love story which is dramatic and high octane. Also, the connect with the audience is always the actors and I am confident about Harsh and Saiyami. They are a fascinating pair out here for the role that the film needed.”
His confidence is answered by his cast. Harshvardhan is mature beyond his years, the reason why he carries his family legacy so lightly on his shoulders. “Your identity is defined by the kind of characters that you play,” the actors says while playing down on his family name, “And then it is a process to win the belief of the audience and make them believe in you as a person and as an individual and it takes time. I can only play the roles to my maximum ability and may eventually find a place in people’ hearts.”