'You can't call this a pure Western. This has got love, passion, violence, suspense.'
'This is a film of today.'
Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor feels his new revenge thriller Thar, which features him alongside his father Anil Kapoor, defies the conventional expectations from a father-son pairing in a movie.
The Netflix film marks the second collaboration between Harsh Varrdhan and Anil after Vikramaditya Motwane's AK vs AK in 2020.
Thar features Harsh Varrdhan as Siddharth, an antique dealer while his father plays a local cop in a remote village in Rajasthan.
During the trailer launch of the film, Harsh Varrdhan said when debutant director Raj Singh Chaudhary offered him the film, they could only visualise Anil Kapoor for the part.
"Raj and I had discussed the possibility of this happening with dad and it just fit. For me, the idea was that Raj gets the correct actors for all the roles, not just dad's...
"But AK vs AK was quite different. It had comedy, dark humour... This is more cinematic and visual. The idea is to break away from the conventions of what people expect a father and son to do together," the 31-year-old actor said.
Harsh Varrdhan said he was neither nervous nor at ease with performing with his father, as he approached the film as an actor without any baggage.
"The ice was broken with Vikram's film. By the time we got to Thar, so much time had been spent, we had done a film together. I was focused on doing my job and not getting overwhelmed by the situation or who else is in the film. So I didn't see it as (acting opposite) a family member. I just approached the scene the same way I would've if it was anybody else," he said.
Satish Kaushik, who also stars in Thar, felt his equation with longtime friend and collaborator Anil Kapoor is extremely special.
Kaushik and Kapoor's most notable collaboration has been the 1987 blockbuster film Mr India, where the former featured as the funny man Calendar.
But the 66-year-old actor said his association with Kapoor dates back to 1983, when the latter was making his Hindi film debut with Woh Saat Din.
"Not many know I did a small part in the film. I played a flower seller and had just two dialogues in it. When I was doing that role, I needed a shirt for the character," Kaushik said.
"I remember Anil brought me a shirt, which he said was worn by Rishi Kapoor in Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan. I was thrilled because I was getting to wear Rishiji's shirt!"
Kaushik recalled how it was Anil Kapoor, who had first spotted him at Prithvi Theatre and convinced his brother, producer Boney Kapoor, to cast him in Woh Saat Din.
"Anil was not just a hero, he was also the production guy on the film. It was Anil, who saw me performing in Prithvi Theatre and suggested my name to Boney Kapoor. Boney was paying me Rs 201 but Anil pushed him to pay me Rs 501!
"It's destiny that from doing a two-dialogue role, I became his friend and family member. Our relationship has only grown with time," he added.
Kaushik has directed Kapoor in films like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993), Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hai (1999) and Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000).
"Both of us love films, being on the set and being part of the director's vision. We love acting and are passionate about it. We also love laughing and making fun of ourselves. And when we are not together, hum ek dusre ki burai karte hai," Anil Kapoor quipped.
Produced by Anil Kapoor Film Company, Thar is inspired by the Western noir genre and is set in the 1980s.
According to the streamer, the film traces Siddharth's journey through a remote village in Rajasthan that has recently been rocked by a series of violent killings.
Harsh Varrdhan said he was attracted to the film because of its writing. He felt it's hard to find material that is "a bit subversive, different from what we are used to watching".
"For me, the template has been to try and do something new... As long as I can do that, it's enough," he added.
Thar marks Harsh Varrdhan's third outing with Netflix after AK vs AK and the anthology Ray. It is also his third feature film after his 2016 debut Mirzya and the 2018 action drama Bhavesh Joshi Superhero.
The actor said he is keen to do more films, but not for the sake of being seen on screen.
"I want to work a lot more. All of us love to be on sets. The more you act, the better you get. It's more about practice. But the idea is to not compromise on one's creative integrity just to go to work. Sometimes less is more. I hope everyone likes this film," he added.
Anil Kapoor says he is not surprised by the box office success of south cinema, as he believes the makers there always championed good movies and storytelling.
Ever since film-maker S S Rajamouli's blockbuster two-part Baahubali series, several south Indian films like Master, Pushpa, RRR and the recent KGF Chapter: 2 have worked wonders at the box office, particularly in the Hindi belt.
Anil, who made his debut as a leading man in 1980 with the Telugu film Vamsa Vruksham and went on to star in the 1983 Kannada drama Pallavi Anu Pallav -- which marked Mani Ratnam's debut as a film-maker -- said the south industry has always been an 'inspiration'.
"The south industry has always made good films, which people have loved. From Ram Aur Shyam to Ek Duje Ke Liye, they've always made fantastic films and will continue to do so. They have always been an inspiration.
"I began my career with south films. My first film as a leading man was a Telugu film, from where I learnt professionalism, dedication and discipline," he said.
Anil said he not only featured in south Indian films but also headlined their Hindi adaptations, like Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hai and Humara Dil Aapke Paas Hai.
"South industry has always given good stories and films. This phase will go on. They do good work and I always look forward to (their) directors with great vision. I've always admired them. I don't get surprised. This (success) had to happen and may it continue forever," he said.
To understand the world of Thar, Anil Kapoor said he watched Western classics, including Sergio Leone's films and the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men.
"You can't call this a pure Western," Anil said. "This has got love, passion, violence, suspense. This is a film of today. Our director and writers have tried to make it relatable to the younger generation."
"In some old Western films, people felt they didn't have that spark," he added. "But this has got today's feel. Young viewers will relate to it."
Thar will release on May 6.