When filmmaker Abhishek Kapoor’s Rock On!! became one of the biggest hits of 2008, everyone expected him to lap up the opportunity and make his next movie soon after. After all, he had struggled a lot before finally tasting success . Related to producer Ekta Kapoor, few remember that Abhishek’s Bollywood break was as an actor, and that his directorial debut was not Rock On!! in 2008 but Aryan in 2006. Although the popularity of his second film opened doors for him, the filmmaker had to wait another five years before his third, the upcoming Kai Po Che!, could be made.
The reasons for this delay were plenty. He had the mammoth task of adapting Chetan Bhagat’s novel, The Three Mistakes of My Life, into a screenplay. “It is tough to crack an adapted screenplay because a book works on different principles. I may have chosen Rock On!!, but Kai Po Che! chose me,” he says.
Once the screenplay was ready, Abhishek approached Excel Entertainment, producers of Rock On!!, to back this project as well. He finally got UTV on board as producers. “Excel was in two minds and in the meantime. I understood that people can have creative differences,” he says. The director asserts there is no fallout with Excel Entertainment.
Abhishek, who started out as an actor in Bollywood, believes that his success today is the sum total of his failures in the industry. “When I did those movies, I was not happy in my zone as an actor. Today, when I look back, all these failures validate and mean something.” His films, in a way, represent his own struggles, with themes that revolve around middle-class dreams and the eventual rise of the underdog. While Aryan is the story of a boxer torn between his love for the sport and his family, Rock On!! was about a group of friends who get a second chance at fulfilling their dreams of becoming musicians. His latest feature, Kai Po Che! tells the story of three ambitious boys from Ahmedabad, looking to start a business that would earn them fame and riches. “The book goes into so many different directions. But I chose one theme and made friendship the fulcrum of the film. Everything else revolves around it,” says Abhishek.
The tough task, however, was getting the portrayal of the lead characters right and for that he credits casting director Mukesh Chhabra. “It was important for the three boys to share a good chemistry.” So after individually auditioning them, he did a screen test of them together. As industry insiders say, Abhishek has a knack for choosing the right actors and bringing the best out of them. “It gives me immense joy to discover actors. I can safely say that Aryan was Sohail Khan’s best performance as an actor, and Arjun Rampal gave one of his finest performances in Rock On!!,” says the filmmaker, who is hoping that he repeats his magic with Kai Po Che!.