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Abhishek Kapoor on Kedarnath success: Happy that the film is touching people’s hearts

Abhishek Kapoor directorial Kedarnath has maintained its pace at the box office despite competition from 2.0. The director talks about the success of the Sara Ali Khan and Sushant Singh Rajput starrer.

Director Abhishek Kapoor is riding high on the success of his recent film Kedarnath, which is garnering a good response at the box office. The film has so far earned Rs 32 crore. Kedarnath faced many hurdles before its release but the journey has not ended yet. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan, the film has not released in Uttarakhand owing to assumptions that it promotes love jihad. In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Abhishek talks about the success of Kedarnath and its ban in Uttarakhand.

Q. Congratulations on such a great response to Kedarnath. First of all, how do you feel?

The movie is made for the audience. This is a story for the people of this country, in the sense, who we are as people today, the issues we are seeing today. More than anything else, it is a story about Bholenath. The message is loud and clear. It is touching people’s heart and I am very happy about that.

Q. Did you anticipate the good box office performance?

A movie is like a baby. When a baby is born, you do not think about anything else but its health and people’s love. Similarly, for a filmmaker, it is important his film is understood with the same level of sensibility with which it is made. Box office is not the prior concern. We want the audience to love the film.

Q. You faced many hurdles before the release. Now, do you feel all of it was worth it?

Of course. When you start a film like Kedarnath and embark on a journey with it, you know the story you are making and once you are convinced that this story needs to be told, you just do it. It is like a yatra in itself. And also, sometimes you find a story and sometimes the story finds you. This is a story that picked me. I feel blessed and privileged that a story about Shivji has chosen me. I feel empowered. So, despite the hurdles, I never lost the focus. I always knew I will do it.

Q. You were quite adamant that you will make this film and release it.

I never, even for a moment, doubted that the film will not release. Some days were really tough but somewhere I had the confidence that all of this will get over.

Q. Another hurdle that it is facing presently is the ban in Uttarakhand. Is it disheartening?

It is disheartening. The film is made in Uttarakhand. It is about the people of the state. The censor board has cleared it and not found anything objectionable in it. We have been very responsible when we took on the subject. I was very aware of how delicate the subject matter is and I believed the story is the need of the hour. Look at who we are as people today. We are being segregated, compartmentalised on the basis of our religion and caste. At the same time, the film also sheds light on the environment as to what happens in the mountains because of the constructions. So many things, so many issues.

It also talks about faith, Bholenath and the Kedarnath mandir that survived the catastrophic flood. So, the film is so much about us that people, especially the audience in Uttarakhand should watch it. People who have reservations about the film after watching the trailer should experience the film at the theater. In the entire country, the film is receiving a positive response and audience is overwhelmed by it. This is an experience. Somewhere I feel (by banning the film) the Uttarakhand government is denying their own people of something that will bring them salvation.

Q. Can we expect the film to release in the state?

We have written to the Uttarakhand government to start playing the film in cinemas again but I don’t know yet. I am hopeful.

Q. You launched Sushant and now Sara is being praised for her work in the film. What was your experience of working with them?

Sara has not acted before. It was important for us to keep her at par with every other actor on the set because even if one character is loosely knit, the energy of the film can drop.

Sushant and I share a very good bond. He comes very well prepared to the set and is very professional. Sushant was a very good actor during Kai Po Che too. Everyone used to tell me television actors won’t work in Bollywood. The misconception existed then too. But the challenge for Sushant is to retain the innocence.

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