Filmmaker Shakun Batra says homosexuality has always received a caricaturish treatment in Bollywood films but he has tried to break the stereotype with “Kapoor & Sons”.
Batra’s last directorial venture, starring Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt, had the Pakistani star play a homosexual character.
The director says his aim was to showcase things as normal as they are in real life.
“I am really put off by the regressive portrayal of homosexuality in Indian films. I feel it is done in really bad taste. In my film, I wanted to tell a story which will not put off any part of the audience.
“The idea was to say it in a way that even if my mother saw it she will not be put off. The aim was that more people should come in and understand how things are actually,” Batra told PTI.
Even though the characterization brought him a lot of praise, the “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” helmer says his agenda was not to highlight that facet.
“For me the movie wasn’t just about that (homosexuality). It was one of the facets, but surely an important one. The fact is the moment you say you are making a gay film half the audience doesn’t show up. I was trying to give something palatable to them and yet trying to give them a view which will stay with them at least for a bit.”
“Kapoor & Sons” was produced by Karan Johar, whose films often had a humorous take on the issue but Batra, 33, feels the producer opted for the more palatable version.
“When Karan started showing gay characters in his films it was the need of the hour to showcase them in a funny way otherwise audience wouldn’t have excepted it.
“But when he read the script, he was very proud of it. He was really encouraging. He has been trying to put it out there in his way and now with ‘Kapoor & Sons’ he has helped me to portray it in a way which is real and sensitive.”
The director says Fawad, who enjoys a great female fan following, had no inhibition in playing the character.
“Fawad was wonderful. He read the script and was right away on board. But we did discuss about the pitch and tone and one thing we talked about it was that homosexuality is a whisper in the film and not a scream.
“I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. I am ok if people miss it. This was the film he and me both wanted to work on. We have similar taste.”
Batra says making a blockbuster is never his aim and he takes up a story which he can relate to.
“It’s tough for me sit down and think if my film has a mass appeal. I only sit down and work on a story that I would like to tell. I would like to give out things which I could also connect with. It’s tough to pre-decide if the film is ‘massy’ or not. I am not good at that.
“I can’t predict the business. I am not in sync with box office numbers. The idea is to tell it at the certain budget.
And I have got something as good as Karan, who can tell me what the budget should be.”
The director is currently busy working on various stories and hopes to zero on an idea by the end of this year.
Batra says he would stick to making human dramas as directing an action or a horror film does not interest him.
“Whatever I will make will be human drama. I enjoy people and like to showcase problems which we go through as people.
“I don’t think I will ever make a horror or an action film. I find action very hard. It is too tiring. I get tired of shooting people on the dining table, I don’t know if I can shoot people falling off a building,” he said.