Who doesn’t like watching superhero films? Ever since I was a kid, I remember being fascinated with these films, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t dream of becoming like one of those heroes in Hollywood movies. Then, as I was growing up, our Indian superheroes too started showcasing their powers on the 70mm, and yet again, the kid in me couldn’t resist. But along the period, I kept wondering to myself if it was even slightly possible to be a superhero without having the power to fly, to shoot at 50 targets at the same time or even to hear from 10 km away. Somewhere I think Vikramaditya Motwane heard my calling and then released Bhavesh Joshi. A film which was in news for the longest time and I wanted to know what was the noise about. When I watched it, I understood why so many people around me were talking about this cinematic wonder.
Bhavesh Joshi, which starred Harshvarrdhan Kapoor, Priyanshu Paniyulli, Nishikant Kamat, Shreiyah Sabharwal, was the film I used to image about as a kid. A film about a superhero standing against the villains without actually possessing superpowers. I loved this one so much that when it released on Netflix, I watched it twice in a row. It’s been two years since the film released — on June 1st 2018 — and even today, I feel as strongly for it as I did two years ago. But while that’s how strongly I feel, back when it hit the cinemas, it didn’t manage to get the kind of audience it should have got. When I suggest the films to my peers, they come back to me saying, “How did we even miss this one?” But even today not many have seen this wonder which I think pushed the envelope in the superhero universe and created a niche for its self.
But things are changing now (thanks to the lockdown). People are finally noticing this hidden gem and are kind enough to text the lead actor. Harshvarrdhan shared:
I get more DMs about Bhavesh Joshi than I did two years ago. For me, it’s like the film is fresher now because with time more and more people are discovering it. And I think the more films I do the more they will realise that I am out there and go back and see this is one. Also, people who are watching Bhavesh for the first time, haven’t seen Mirzya. So they’ll end up going to Mirzya. I think Bhavesh Joshi is a film which is under-watched. I think it’s the kind of film that would have the viewership of a hit film after 6-8 years of views accumulating over time.
The characters of Bhavesh are people you and I have met. The action sequences are very realistic in a genre where people expect larger then life heroes or a fantasy like treatment which is where the uniqness of the film lies. That’s how the attraction is so much and the viewers are surprised by it. I’m not a movie star just a young new actor so when people watch the film on digital they don’t have expectations or preconceived notions and can enjoy the film for what it is.
Harsh made his Bollywood debut in 2016 with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra‘s Mirzya and then went on to star in Bhavesh Joshi. For somebody who belongs to a lineage like his, it was quite unusual to select these two films at the start of his career than a typical masala entertainer. While many come to Bollywood thinking of a grand debut, here was Harshvarrdhan taking the unusual route and that’s how he caught my attention. I mean, how could I not notice it?
When you choose Mirzya and Bhavesh Joshi as your first two films, it’s a representation of who you are as an artist. Maybe when some people watch my films they might not be very entertained or even find them boring. While I understand that I very much believe in doing films I’d like to watch. When someone connects with the content I do then I feel amazing. But if someone does not, I totally understand that. It’s nothing personal. I am living out my own path. When filmmakers see the two films I have done, they somewhere believe that this guy is open to doing such content and it opens a few doors for me. They would feel free to approach me because they feel I would have done roles that other actors wouldn’t have done. I don’t mind going and auditioning for anybody if I like the role. I don’t have the pressure of being a star. I am in a very liberated space. I am not delusional. If someone doesn’t like my work, its completely fine because I understand where that person comes from.
What I like about Harsh is that he is very honest. He calls a spade a spade and never shies away from speaking his mind. Whenever star kids make their debut there is so much pressure on them to prove their Bollywood stint. When asked him whether he has faced it too and he honestly replied:
My father has grown up in a very different time. His culture was different, his artistic influences were different and what he wanted from life at that time was very different. How can I compare myself to that? I was born in Juhu, Bombay in 1990. The people that I am surrounded with have very different cultural and artistic influences. So what makes Anil Kapoor, Anil Kapoor is unique to him. He is born out of the rustic Mumbai and people appreciate him because he is original to that. People we surrounded by always constitute and make us who we are. So why should I try and mimic that when its not me at all. That would be first of all, dishonest to the people who come to watch me. And it would be dishonest to me. People are not dumb. Our audience is very intelligent and perceptive. I can’t just go and do a Ram Lakhan type of film because I am Anil Kapoor’s son. It’s important to continue being myself. Over a period of time, people are going to understand that. Just because someone is someone’s son then he has to do a debut film like her father, that way of looking at things is so regressive and outdated.
He further goes on to mention that after watching Bhavesh Joshi so many people text him only to figure out that he’s Anil Kapoor‘s son and that only makes him happy because he knows that the message came after they saw his hard work in the Vikramaditya directorial.
I have never marketed myself out so much nor have I done that typical Bollywood launch thing. I haven’t exposed myself like that. I think a lot of people are discovering me slowly. Though it’s small and I am happy because it’s genuine and not artificial. This is a game of longevity. So I am just going to stick to that and am very happy with the doors that are opening up for me. I currently have two films and when these 2 become 8, then people can look at an entire bouquet of films I’ve been a part off. Which are different from each other and different from normally what you see nowadays. When something is really authentic and original, then people automatically have an idea of the kind of person that stars in it is. And that’s what I am chasing.
Harsh’s character, Siku lived a normal life but changed his environment with baby steps in Bhavesh Joshi and I think that’s the exact route Harsh is up to. Is Harshvarrdhan the Siku we all saw in Bhavesh Joshi? Seems like we will only have to wait and watch out for that. I am looking forward to what Harsh has to offer and as I wait for that, I’ll watch Bhavesh in meantime, yet again.