Zahan Kapoor Interview© Instagram

Zahan Kapoor On His Grandfather Shashi Kapoor’s Iconic Films

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Nayare Ali

The young actor from the illustrious Kapoor family — Zahan Kapoor is the late Shashi Kapoor’s grandson — recently made what one could call a low-profile debut. HELLO! discusses his decision to follow his family’s footsteps into films and conviction to make a mark in the industry.

HELLO!: How do you feel about all the positive feedback you’ve received for Faraaz?

Zahan Kapoor: “I’m overwhelmed! It’s the best I could have hoped for my debut performance. It’s an honest performance with integrity and serves the purpose of the story. I’m happy to have been able to do that and am keen on getting more opportunities like this, so my performances can continue to be truthful and inspiring.”

H!: Your debut was quite low-profile, which is far from the industry norm for star kids. Was this a conscious decision?

ZK: “It’s a Hansal Mehta film based on a true story, so it’s high-profile enough. It wasn’t a planned decision to do something like this; it was an organic one. This was a story Hansal sir believed in. He gave me an opportunity to not just engage with the subject but also with him, to discover how well to tell the story. As opposed to finding the ticket to stardom, I wanted to work with a filmmaker who believes in what he’s doing.”

H!: When did you realise you wanted to follow the family tradition of working in movies?

ZK: “I realised that I took great joy and inspiration in being in a rehearsal room or on a set. I was lucky enough that my parents encouraged me to seek out experiences and discover things for myself. They never forced anything on me. I didn’t have actors around me at home. My dad, Kunal Kapoor, is a filmmaker; my mother, Sheena Sippy, is a photographer. We were surrounded by art and culture and other sources of inspiration. I never sought out favours or handouts but worked hard, studied and trained to become an actor.”

H!: Hailing from the Kapoor family, are you prepared for the inevitable comparisons? 

ZK: “Comparisons are inevitable, like you said. I hope to leave my own distinct mark and that people recognise me for who I am and what I can do.”

H!: Any favourites from your grandfather Shashi Kapoor’s movies? 

ZK: “There are so many that it’s hard to choose a favorite! He worked across genres, be it big commercial hits, parallel Indie movies or international cinema. He was the first crossover star, so it’s difficult to choose one. Just take a look at his filmography. In 1965, he did Jab Jab Phool Khile and the Merchant Ivory production Householder. He did Heat and Dust and Deewar simultaneously in the 70s. His repertoire also includes Silsila, Kabhi Kabhie, Vijeta, 36 Chowringhee Lane and Muhafiz. My favourite may be Shaan because my maternal grandfather, Ramesh Sippy, directed it, and my paternal grandfather, Shashi Kapoor, acted in it.”

H!: Did you receive any advice from your cousins Kareena and Ranbir Kapoor? 

ZK: “They give me a lot of support and advice to be strong and keep my head on my shoulders. They genuinely love what they do and are not concerned about being big stars. I look at them and feel inspired. I’m especially close to Kareena. She guides me every step of the way.”

H!: What’s the mood like when the entire Kapoor family gathers together?

ZK: “We are a jovial Punjabi family that loves food and movies!”

H!: This is quite an unpredictable industry. Do you have a plan B in place?

ZK: “I aspired to be an actor from the age of 15, when I jumped into the deep end. I’ve learnt every aspect of acting and filmmaking and am keen to make a mark as an actor and director. I don’t want a plan B. This is where I want to be. Jeena Yahan. Marna Yahan.”

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s February 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!