Shahid-Ishaan

Actors Ishaan Khatter (left) and Shahid Kapoor are half-brothers. (IANS photo)

MUMBAI— By now, the surprise blockbuster “Kabir Singh” is very near the Rs. 150 crore mark in India and going great guns internationally as well.

The film, more than anyone else (and that includes Kiara Advani, who already is doing four films), will benefit Shahid Kapoor. The actor, among the select lot loved by kids as well, was always short of a genuine super-hit to his name. If we look back generations down, stars’ careers are made or unmade by super-hits rather than mere hits or success percentage.

And Kapoor has got his first-ever super-hit in “Kabir Singh” that revolves around him in the title-role, and he is virtually there throughout the film. “Padmaavat,” Kapoor’s sole super-hit before this, had him practically in a parallel lead and its mega-success can never, logically, be put at his door!

And now, the story can be told: “Vivah” (2006) and “Jab We Met” (2007) were his only hits. “Ishq Vishq” (his debut), “Chup Chup Ke,” “36 China Town” and “R…Rajkumar” were all successes. The rest, including films like “Kaminey,” “Haider” and “Udta Punjab” never got back their investments, and many others were major loss-making vehicles.

Yes, we grant that the handsome actor, who initially was heavily inspired by Shah Rukh Khan, was never devoid of work. In 16 years, the actor has notched up 28 films, and his filmmakers have included Subhash Ghai, Yash and Aditya Chopra, Rajkumar Santoshi, Abbas-Mustan, Kumar and Ramesh Taurani, Priyadarshan, Sooraj R. Barjatya and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and this is what ensured his remaining in the race.

Talent and dedication thus paid rich dividends and, luckily for Kapoor, films like “Kaminey” (in a dual role) and deviant roles like in “Haider” and “Udta Punjab” got him lavish appreciation as actor even if they were “media-hits” (hits only according to the media). Recently, Kapoor asked whether he should do films that were only for 10 year-old kids when asked how children looked at such films and even “Kabir Singh.” He finally quipped, “Let the kids grow up and then watch my films!”

At such a stage, more and better work is easily going to come Kapoor’s way. And this is where we see the irony: that younger brother Ishaan Khattar, who made such a promising Hindi debut in “Dhadak,” is devoid of work, not because he is not getting it, but on his own volition!

He was approached by Mira Nair and Vishal Bhardwaj after he made his debut with Majid Majidi’s “Beyond The Clouds.” Bollywoodhungama.com reports that he was approached by Mira for her adaptation of “The Suitable Boy,” the novel by Vikram Seth. He rejected this offer (again reportedly due to creative differences!) and signed up Vishal Bhardwaj’s web adaptation of Salman Rushdie “Midnight’s Children.” He has now quit the series, citing creative differences with one of his brother’s pet directors, Bhardwaj.

And so, while Kapoor is going full steam, the younger talent, devoid even of a second assignment from mentor Karan Johar (with whom his co-star Jahnvi Kapoor is doing two films at least) is sitting empty-handed.

And creative differences twice? Do we see Ishaan as a director very soon?

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