Abhishek Kapoor directorial Kedarnath is all set to release on December 7. Set against the devastating 2013 Uttarakhand floods, the film stars Sushant Singh Rajput and marks the debut of Sara Ali Khan. The trailer and songs of Kedarnath have been garnering a lot of positive response from cinephiles. Ahead of the release, Abhishek sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Sharing that the seed of the story was developed when he went for a pilgrimage after his last film, Abhishek said, “I was on the lookout for a new story for my next project. And if you stay in the business, you end up getting the same ideas. So rather than a holiday, I decided to hunt for my story among people. I have been to pilgrimages as a child with my parents, but it didn’t mean much to me then.”
He added, “But when I went to Vaishno Devi sometime back, I was amazed. I could see the world there so differently. You start understanding the Hindu philosophy better. It rightly says that God resides within each one of us. Since one has to travel up a slope, the elders have a hard time. And I was surprised to find so many Muslim porters helping these Hindu pilgrims there. That’s what defines us as humans. We can all live together beautifully. It’s only politics that divide us.”
As we discussed the controversy surrounding Kedarnath for allegedly promoting Love Jihad, Abhishek said, “That’s an interpretation of a few people from a 2-minute trailer but there’s nothing like that. Their ideology comes out of fear. I believe in harmony and humanity. The film is about how people come together during a difficult time. It’s an honest film. I am confident that I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Even while filming, Kedarnath courted controversy with the earlier producers (Prernaa Arora, Bhushan Kumar and Ekta Kapoor) opting to move out mid-way. Sharing that it was a difficult time for the team, the filmmaker said, “After they left, I had no one. And to be honest, no one was even willing to touch it. I worked on it alone, invested my own money before Ronnie (Screwvala) came in. When he saw the film, he realised it had potential and helped me take Kedarnath to the finish line. I will not lie, it was a very tough phase. It really affected me as I was stuck with half the film. But not even for a second did I think of shelving it.”
A firm believer of Lord Shiv, Abhishek shared that it was the God’s blessing that helped him sail through. “Leave aside the production issue, it is a very difficult film to make as we were recreating a natural disaster. But you don’t choose a few films, they choose you. I feel I was blessed by Bholenath, who put me to the task of making Kedarnath. It took a lot from every department, every member to make it. This is not just a big movie with a small idea but the subject itself is a gargantuan one,” he said.
Hailing the current trend of content-driven films, Abhishek said, “It is really a positive change that good content is working and not just star vehicles. As a filmmaker, I have always paid more attention to the script. That’s the rightful hero for me. I have collaborated with good writers and focussed on that part. And now, with a much wider scale, it is important to strike a balance between good cinema and star shows.”
Bankrolled by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP and Guy in the Sky Pictures, Kedarnath will release on December 7.