When 'Rock On' was released in 2008, it was a defining moment in Farhan Akhar's acting career, since the 'Dil Chahta Hai' director made his acting debut in the film. Not only did the film affect Farhan's life, but it also impacted Abhishek Kapoor's. Kapoor, who began his acting career in the 1990s and went on to direct a Sohail Khan film in the early 2000s, discovered a new lease on life with the musical and hasn't looked back since. He has since directed films such as 'Kai Po Che', 'Fitoor', and 'Kedarnath', and is currently awaiting the release of 'Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui', starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor.
In an interview with Indian Express ahead of the premiere of 'Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui', Kapoor spoke about his cinematic path thus far, what his failures have taught him, and why music plays such a significant role in his films. Looking back at his résumé, it's clear that no two of his films are comparable — one is about a Hindi-Muslim love tale set against the backdrop of a natural disaster, while the other is about a friendship between three boys set against the backdrop of escalating political tensions. Kapoor stated that he dislikes repeating himself in his films and believes that once a film is completed, he "shuts the door" on the subject. “Other filmmakers might have a stamp wherein you know that this person makes his/her films in a certain way, but in my case, every time I find a new subject, I jump into it like an absolute newcomer,” he said.
Abhishek Kapoor also discussed the jump he took after the musical triumph of 'Rock On', revealing that his next movie was situated in a completely different universe. 'Kai Po Che' was based on Chetan Bhagat's book The 3 Mistakes of My Life and was set in a milieu that had nothing in common with 'Rock On' privileged world. “It was not the same world. Of course, it was about friendship, but it was a totally different setting, different texture.” Kapoor stated that with every film he works on, he wants to focus more on the central idea of the tale than anything else. “That idea is the most important thing," he said. He claimed that he tried to tell radically distinct storylines with 'Fitoor' (which was an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations) and later 'Kedarnath'. He stated confidently, “I personally feel that there is no similarity between the director who made 'Kai Po Che', 'Kedarnath' or 'Rock On'.”
Not every one of Kapoor's films has been a smash hit, and he admits the ups and downs of his career. “What your failure teaches you, your successes will never teach you,” he remarked, recalling a period when 'Fitoor' film did not receive the critical acclaim he had hoped for at the box office. The first weekend, according to the director, is the most difficult, but after the first Monday, the learning process begins. Despite the fact that the cinema industry is primarily based on box office data, Kapoor does not believe in looking at current box office trends while deciding on his next movie. He explained, “I don’t look at the box office, I don’t look at anything else other than my relationship with the idea,” he shared.
Abhishek Kapoor remarked that the human connection at the basis of the idea interests him when asked how he finalises his ideas. “People are interested in people. The backdrop and everything else can be designed.” He said that after he has the core idea, he starts pursuing it to turn it into a story but makes sure that he “does not deviate from the core idea.”
Another important component of his creative process is the use of music, which explains why all of his films' soundtrack CDs have featured some stand-out tunes, which is unusual in today's music scene. According to the filmmaker, he has a reference bank of melodies that he likes to juxtaposition with his storyline as he's writing the movie. But when it comes to finalising the tunes, he does not subscribe to the notion of popularity. “I can’t buy into mainstream music video kind of (approach) ki yeh gaana chalta hai toh yeh gaana daal do (this kind of music works so let’s use this). I am not averse to having songs in my film but just to have mainstream chatpata songs that sound like the earlier song, which also sounds like another song, which again sounds like another song so that there is familiarity. I want people to come into an unfamiliar space with my film.” For Kapoor, the songs are another tool that aids in telling the film’s story in his unique style.
Abhishek Kapoor's career as a filmmaker is still in its early stages, but with 'Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui', he has opened a new chapter in his career. On December 10, the film will premier in theatres.