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Abhishek Kapoor: ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ is a progressive story

Director Abhishek Kapoor opens up on the romance between Ayushmann Khurrana as a Punjabi health coach and Vaani kapoor as an empowered trans lady

Director Abhishek Kapoor remembers the time when he got down to movie Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui quickly after the primary lockdown in 2020. Conversations through the lockdown pertained to security precautions through the pandemic, the have to be planet-friendly and whether or not the content material in mainstream cinema will change for the higher as homebound audiences lap up films and sequence from throughout the globe on OTT platforms.

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a health coach and Vaani Kapoor as a Zumba teacher, which releases in theatres on December 10, is not a common love story, says Abhishek. “Vaani plays a trans woman called Maanvi who has made the gender transition a few years ago and is now living life on her terms. This is a progressive story. We went to the sets with the excitement of making a film that calls for a change in our mindset and is more accepting of people.”

The promos describe Ayushmann’s character Manu as an alpha male who has a delicate facet to him and Vaani as an actor taking on a function that is in contrast to a mainstream heroine. Abhishek says, “It is a film with a lot of colour and music. We want people to come in, be entertained and watch a story that is relevant today.”

Zero waste movie set

  • Abhishek Kapoor’s spouse and the movie’s co-producer Pragya Kapoor stepped up the sustainability quotient by guaranteeing zero waste on the movie set. Pragya is the founding father of Ek Saath Foundation, which takes up seashore clean-ups and different eco-friendly actions occasionally. Partnering with the waste administration organisation Scrap, Pragya ensured stringent waste administration on units.
  • Leftover meals was donated to those that wanted it, plastic waste was despatched for recycling and used PPE kits have been recycled to make fly-ash bricks. An estimated 17,000 tonnes of waste was prevented from going into landfills.
  • Abhishek phrases the method a watch opener. “It did not throw the budget or schedule out of the norm. We had the intent, put our minds to it and realised zero waste is possible on a film set. We all know what is happening to our planet. Our generation and the two before us have ended up damaging the planet. We need to do what best we can to leave it safer for our children.”

The thought was pitched by Simran Sahni who works with Abhishek’s writing group: “The original idea was a serious story; I thought it needed to be dealt with differently.” Abhishek set to work along with his co-writers Supratik Sen and Tushar Paranjpe. Research preceded the writing course of. “We met several trans people and a psychologist. I also learnt that Simran, who pitched the story, has two trans daughters. I observed them closely and found them to be fascinating individuals with evolved thought processes.”

The extra trans individuals Abhishek met, he realised how little the world understands them. “We take gender for granted. It is not easy for someone to transition. After psychological counselling for a year or more, the doctors decide if a person is ready for change. The surgery is a complicated one, involving hormonal changes. A process of spiritual awakening happens after the trial by fire. Many who have made the transition are proud of how beautiful they are today and how their mind and body are in sync. Yet, they are hurt when society does not accept them.”

Abhishek Kapoor: ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ is a progressive story

Talking of trans people who find themselves broadly identified, Abhishek cites the instance of The Wachowski siblings, creators of The Matrix.

Chandigarh kare Aashiqui explores how Ayushmann’s character grapples with the previous of Vaani’s character. “Manu (Ayushmann) is a layered character as well — what he projects to the outside world, following family and societal expectations, is different from who he actually is. Fitness gives him the freedom to be himself. I found it fascinating to bring in a strong female character into the world of a Punjabi munda who is expected to be a certain way.”

Abhishek says casting the feminine lead was not straightforward. The group deliberated on casting a trans individual earlier than deciding to go for a mainstream heroine. “I thought popular actors might have image issues and would hesitate. However, Vaani was enthusiastic after reading the script.” He provides that her character is not projected as a sufferer, however as an empowered lady. “Only when people accept a trans woman the way she is, will there be normalcy.”

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui is a departure from Abhishek’s earlier movies Kai Po Che, Rock On, Fitoor and Kedarnath. He likes to unlearn and begin recent with every mission, relatively than preserve a signature fashion. “It is humbling to get into a new world and explore the best possible way to narrate a story. If you see all my films, you might not be able to link them to me. With time, people have begun to recognise that I do something new each time.”

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