Kiara Advani: On love in the time of the Kargil war

Kiara Advani in ‘Shershaah’  

She broke onto the scene as a spunky newcomer with Fugly in 2014, and since then, has catapulted herself to Bollywood A-list status with a series of impressive performances.

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From her epic turn as a dissatisfied wife in Lust Stories to the intense highs of Kabir Singh, Kiara Advani’s career over the last few years has gone from strength to strength, and with the likes of Priyadarshan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Shankar’s untitled pan-Indian project in the pipeline, more big-budget success beckons.

Kiara’s next release will be Shershaah, the biopic of Kargil war hero Captain Vikram Batra, who is played by Sidharth Malhotra. The war film is an ode to his indomitable spirit and courage, along with a hitherto unseen look into Batra’s relationship with his girlfriend and fiancée Dimple Cheema (Kiara). Tamil director Vishnuvardhan, of Billa fame, makes his Hindi debut with the film, set to premiere August 12 on Amazon Prime Video.

The intense drama, which is being touted as the first Indian film to have been shot on Kargil war terrain, promises an emotional yet patriotic look at the Indian Army officer’s life, his flamboyant personality, and his ultimately doomed love story.

Excerpts from an interview with Kiara:

This is your second biopic after the M.S. Dhoni film. Is there a sense of apprehension when you play a real-life character?

Kiara: When you are playing a real-life character, their review is the most important one. I remember watching M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story with Sakshi Dhoni, and was lucky enough to get her feedback live. I hope the same happens with Dimple with Shershaah at some point, it would be lovely.

With Sidharth Malhotra in a still from the film

With Sidharth Malhotra in a still from the film  

Portraying someone real comes with its own set of challenges, and a certain sensitivity and responsibility around it. But as an actor, the source material is given and we try to be as honest as possible to the emotions and personality of the person we are playing. We speak with them, see them in the flesh, observe their mannerisms and so on, which really helps us, right? We don’t need to create anything new or from our imagination. In this case, it was about staying true to Dimple’s sentiments and I hope she feels that way as well.

In your biopic, audiences not only know the ending, but they also know that the hero and his romance are ultimately doomed. How do you keep them rooting for your characters despite that?

Kiara: Well, there’s definitely sadness that they didn’t manage to be together, but with the sense of loss, she (Dimple) also carries a lot of pride and happiness with what he gave the nation. We, as civilians, can’t maybe relate to anyone in the army or really understand what their partners, parents or children go through. Those emotions of those unsung heroes, that’s what forms the army behind the army. But I do feel director Vishnu sir has integrated it wonderfully in the script.

Your director Vishnuvardhan is known for his commercial Tamil blockbusters, Billa and Arrambam, that starred Ajith Kumar. Now he makes his Bollywood debut with a film quite different from his previous works...

Kiara: He’s such an amazing person to be around, and knows exactly how to get you into the zone he wants. The fun scenes between Sidharth and I in the film, and the banter between us comes across as so real because he just let us be. Even though he’s a Tamilian, he really also nailed the Punjabi accents and dialect, and the other little such nuances in the film. He still calls me ‘Dimple’ and I love it. (laughs) I’d love to work with him again.

Kiara will soon be seen in director Shankar’s film with Ram Charan

Kiara will soon be seen in director Shankar’s film with Ram Charan  

What can we expect from your upcoming collaboration with director Shankar?

Kiara: It’s my first pan-Indian film, and I’m honoured to be directed by him. His vision is extraordinary, and this project is sure to be like none other. It’s also my second film with Ram Charan, and I just can’t wait to get on set and have a fantastic shoot!

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 10:19:23 PM |

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