Ishaan Khatter on ‘Pippa’, his music video for FIFA World Cup 2022, and more

The actor also talks about how volatile the situation is in Bollywood for theatrical releases, and how it affects him as an artist

December 08, 2022 07:37 pm | Updated 07:49 pm IST

Ishaan Khatter with MC Square

Ishaan Khatter with MC Square | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It’s no revelation that Ishaan Khatter is a true-blue football fan. “Football is my favourite sport hands down. It’s the only sport I love watching as much as I love playing,” says the actor with palpable excitement. The excitement with which he talks about football is conspicuous, and given his passion for the sport, it was only a matter of time before he got an exciting opportunity to express it.

Ishaan, along with MTV Hustle-fame rapper MC Square, has released a new music video that pays tribute to the ongoing FIFA World Cup.

The rap music video by MTV rides on the spirit of togetherness, and pivots around FIFA World Cup being more than a sport and sometimes even becoming a battleground for settling scores. It builds up Ishaan and MC Square as rival mafia gang leaders who trade diamonds and are against settling up at any cost. The ultimate face-off at the end has them settle the scores through their unconditional love for Cristiano Ronaldo.

“MTV saw a social media interaction that I posted for MC Square, and that had something to do with the seeds of the idea. Of course, the FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious stage in international football and it’s my favourite sport, so I’m elated to be associated with it,” says Ishaan about the music video.

Ishaan with MC Square

Ishaan with MC Square | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The excitement did not end there for the actor. He went to Qatar for the England vs Senegal game, and the experience was crazy, he says. “I had never seen an international football game, let alone the World Cup, on a ground with a capacity as large as 60,000 people. It was so much fun.”

He continues, “I’m a Barca fan. Of course, Messi is arguably one of the greatest players of all time. But I also think Brazil is an amazing team, and they have a great chance of winning the cup.”

Ishaan also feels that such sporting events find something to resonate with his personality. He was in Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, and he was also hosted at an NBA match in the U.S. “It’s good luck, I guess. These are lifetime experiences that I’m grateful for.” Ishaan adds it will be a dream come true if India can empower sporting faculties in the country enough to create a team capable of playing football at the international level. “There is a lot to be done before we reach that stage, but it is possible.”

On ‘Pippa,’ the uncertainty in Bollywood, and more

Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! was a popular film that children across the country watched in the 2000s; Ishaan’s debut as a child artist certainly did not go unnoticed then.

It did, however, take a few years for him to make a mark as an adult actor. He debuted as a leading star in Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds in 2017, and then gained popularity with Dhadak, the 2018 remake of the Marathi film Sairat. He followed it up with a stellar television debut in the web series A Suitable Boy, co-starring Tabu.

After Khaali Peeli, an action entertainer, and the horror comedy Phone Booth, Ishaan will now be seen in a distinct role in Pippa, essaying the role of an army officer in the backdrop of the India-Pakistan war.

Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor in ‘Dhadak’

Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor in ‘Dhadak’

Pippa is based on the book The Burning Chaffees by Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, whose character Ishaan is playing. Responding to the research that went behind preparing for such an intense role, Ishaan says he was very privileged and fortunate to have had the support of the armed force and to have spent quite a few days training with them. “We had two boot camps just to be integrated into the life of an officer, and we were properly trained to get the full experience.”

One big part of the experience was knowing what it’s like to go without proper sleep and food, he says. “A lot of hard work, research and detail has gone behind the making of this film. I feel we seldom make war films, and this is so satisfying in that sense.”

Ishaan also believes that the 1971 India-Pakistan War is a proud chapter in our history since it helped liberate a nation. “We did not overstay our welcome. We did our job and left the country on our own. It’s a patriotic film in the true sense, and I’m very proud of it, and as an actor. It also been a great opportunity for me” he adds.

While Pippa is made for a theatrical experience, Ishaan believes that the situation of releases is quite volatile in Bollywood right now, and that the reins of the cinema-viewing experience lie with the audience. “The viewing habits of people have changed. A lot of people are watching films on streaming platforms as opposed to stepping out into theatres. People are making choices, and that’s something we, as actors, have to learn. We don’t know what type of films people would prefer to watch at home, rather than on the big screen.”

Ishaan Khatter in a special screening of the movie ‘Phone Bhoot’ in Mumbai

Ishaan Khatter in a special screening of the movie ‘Phone Bhoot’ in Mumbai | Photo Credit: PTI

But he says that nothing changes for him as an artist. “I would be as excited about a film like Pippa regardless of how and when it releases. Some films are just no-brainers that way.”

“Even though these issues factor into my decisions as a professional and as an artist, I’m still drawn to the kind of material that rings true to me. There was a notion that there’s a certain formula that works. That has now been thwarted.”

“The best bet is to follow your gut creatively and to try and make a good film. I hope more people focus on making a good film, and worry about the rest later. That’s the optimistic way to look at it,” Ishaan signs off.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.