Vasan Bala and the forged of ‘Highlight’, led by Harshvardhan Kapoor, Akansha Ranjan and Chandan Roy Sanyal, decode the layered drama in regards to the magic and insanity of flicks
In Vasan Bala’s Highlight, a part of the Netflix anthology tailored from Satyajit Ray’s brief tales, a preferred actor, Vikram Arora, performed by Harshvardhan Kapoor, is crippled with inventive insecurity regardless of his profession being on an upswing. His skilled anxieties get progressively worse when the resort that he’s staying at is just about hijacked by a non secular chief, Didi (Radhika Madan), who instructions outsized affect on politicians, enterprise leaders, movie producers and the final populace. In the midst of the movie, Kapoor’s character should come to phrases with the restrictions of film stardom and the realisation that between cinema and faith, two factions that take pleasure in a colossal maintain over the Indian psyche, faith will all the time trump the previous.
Whereas the movie has an undercurrent of darkish commentary, the therapy itself is lighthearted and Bala, who earlier directed the competition darling Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, peppers the narrative with quite a lot of inside jokes. As an illustration, Kapoor’s supervisor, performed by an astute Chandan Roy Sanyal, takes a dig at Inlaks, a housing society in Mumbai’s Versova, recognized for aspiring actors who’re but to interrupt by means of, in addition to Delicious, an eatery close by largely frequented by the identical crowd. Within the movie’s context, Sanyal’s dig is on the star who’s refusing a profitable half that may deliver within the cash, the suggestion being that if he doesn’t take the gig, he might have to return to the lifetime of a ‘struggler.’
“It was a line improvised by Chandan,” Bala, whose final movie too was seeped in cinephilia, says over a Zoom name. “All of the cinephilia is sort of like a private journey for me. If no person finds out (the references) it’s wonderful, the story will nonetheless maintain by itself.” Which it does, besides it’s a way more joyful expertise as soon as the jokes are understood. Kapoor, who performs an actor grappling with stardom, says that he was thrilled to have that have, because it’s one thing that has, thus far, eluded him in actual life.
“He (Vikram Arora) has captured the creativeness of the paying public in a approach that I haven’t executed. I loved dwelling in that world. Actors are an insecure lot. The job entails failure, rejection and insecurity. The decision from Vasan got here in the course of the first wave when everyone was anxious in regards to the future, grappling in uncertainty. So I ended up channeling that nervous power into the half.”
Slightly little bit of Entourage
Kapoor factors out two characters — Johnny Drama and Vincent Chase — from the present, Entourage, additionally in regards to the lifetime of a Hollywood star and his coterie, which percolated into Highlight. Whereas the movie attracts parallels between a cult chief and a film star, one other side that runs by means of the narrative is the price of fame and the way debilitating it may be psychologically for many who stay and die beneath the fixed glare of the general public eye. As an artist, does Kapoor crave that reputation personally?
“Truthfully, that energy would simply liberate me to do movies like Highlight, Bhavesh Joshi and AK vs. AK. I advised Vasan this: I solely don’t wish to be an choice for you whenever you’re making a movie with a ₹5 cr. price range. I additionally wish to be an choice whenever you’re making a ₹50 cr. plus movie. If I’m fortunate sufficient to realize that type of energy, I’d need filmmakers to inform completely different sorts of tales at a much bigger scale. That basically may be the perfect by-product of stardom.”
E-book to display
- From a satire to a psychological thriller, 4 brief tales from celebrated auteur and author Satyajit Ray are tailored for the display on this sequence, Highlight being considered one of them.
Whereas that’s a noble aspiration to chase, the flip facet could possibly be that stardom may imprison the star, making them a sufferer of their very own picture. One of many the explanation why we see a whole lot of high stars repeat what they’ve executed previously is as a result of they chase tales that serve their stardom and never the opposite approach spherical.
“That’s level. Given the lineage that I come from, I’ve felt that weight. However I haven’t let that have an effect on my selections, whether or not it was doing a movie competition musical as my first movie or a vigilante drama disguised as an motion movie as my second or that half in AK vs. AK.”
Chandan Roy Sanyal, who performs the supervisor of Vikram Arora says he did draw some nuances from Ari Gold, the agent character from Entourage, however his major supply was Asrani’s character from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1973 movie, Abhimaan and Rabi Ghosh, the Bengali actor who did a number of movies with Satyajit Ray.
Nice artwork vs. fame
Akansha Ranjan Kapoor, who performs Anuya, Kapoor’s companion, and acts as his ethical compass and a voice of purpose, says that Bala isn’t a director who rehearses an excessive amount of. The thought is to be on set and react to the second. Even their interpersonal dynamic mirrored within the movie is the best way it truly is.
“Harsh is aware of a lot about cinema and I’m fairly clean. I believe that technique discovered its approach into the movie,” she says. To this, Bala provides, “With Vik and Anuya, what I actually like is that one is making an attempt to be an artiste however is sadly fashionable and therefore the issues in his life. Anuya doesn’t have such points. She’s pragmatic, desires to earn her cash and stay her life. She’s not even having these inventive battles. She sleeps higher and he doesn’t.”
Which brings us to a protracted unanswered argument that the movie dabbles in. Does nice artwork inherently come at the price of sacrificing reputation and psychological peace? “It’s a basic alternative,” Bala says. “Until issues are working for you, it’s nice. There’s Barfi, there’s Rockstar...all occurring without delay. After which comes Bombay Velvet and folks like me are available in,” he laughs, referring to Ranbir Kapoor’s profession that took a quick nosedive with the Anurag Kashyap directorial. Vasan was one of many writers of the 2015 movie. “Once you’re used to reputation and fame and a sure type of life, the shift may be very troublesome. It takes a lifetime to stability it out. Both you chase stardom or the stardom chases you.”
Ankur Pathak is a author based mostly out of Mumbai, who was previously the leisure editor of HuffPost India.