In an extremely rare opportunity, we were granted an exclusive opportunity to sit down with Bollywood megastars Ranbir Kapoor (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil; Sanju) and Alia Bhatt (Dear Zindagi; RRR) to talk about their latest blockbuster, Brahmāstra: Part One - Shiva, which officially launches Bollywood's first original cinamatic universe, the Astraverse.
While we only had a limited time, we made the most of it as the real-life married couple elaborated on Ayan's initial pitch for the massive cinematic universe launcing project, their experience working together as co-stars for the first time, and working with the incomparable Shah Rukh Khan (Veer-Zaara; Swades).
Check out the full video interview below and please remember to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE!
ROHAN: Brahmastra is such a massive endeavor, with so much fantastical spectacle, and I know that Ayan has been working on it for the better part of a decade - what was his initial pitch to both of you, and what was it about that first meeting that ultimately convinced you to sign on to bring his vision to life?
RANBIR: I think beyond the fact that we both know Ayan, you know, he is one of our best friends, he is our best friend. So, we really wanted to be part of the birth of this idea of Brahmastra. We've listened, we've been there when it was just one line, and we've been there now that the film is releasing. So, we've been there through this journey, but I think what really, really was special for us, as actors, was that at the core of this story was the love story.
I think beyond all the Astras and the Brahmastra, what Ayan is trying to say through the film is that the biggest Astra in the world is love, and, to write characters to narrate that, which is Shiva and Isha, I think it was beautifully done, and I think that's something that really appealed to me as an actor.
ALIA: Yeah, I think for me, I mean, it's various things like Ranbir said, like the love story, this or that, but I think just knowing that some there's someone, there's a somebody who's daring to dream larger than what maybe you even have the gumption to do so. At the time when Ayan had the idea of Brahmastra, it almost seemed like on paper, like, “Oh my God, how are we going to achieve this? Like, how are we going to put this together?”
Because there were so many elements that one had not even discovered, but he just committed to the process, and it's now a decade into the process, and whenever we see the glimpses of Brahmastra we see it come to life, we know how he's literally like a sculptor who’s been sculpting this sort of piece for the longest time and with a lot of precision and attention. So, just being able to be a part of a vision that massive, I think for me was, there was no doubt about it.
ROHAN: I know you recently tied the knot and are soon-to-be parents - congrats by the way, my gift's in the mail - but this is the first time you have worked together as co-stars, what did you learn about one another as performers throughout the process of making Brahmastra?
RANBIR: I think, if I can start, when I saw Highway, which was Alia’s second film, I saw it the same way I saw that genius in Ayan when when he came to narrate Wake Up Sid to me, I kind of saw that in Alia’s performance in her second film itself. How old were you? You were like 18-19? During Highway?
RANBIR: It just blew me away, like how can an actor so young, do what she did on screen? But I think after working with her, after getting to know her better, apart from the discipline and passion and talent that she has, I think what not many people know is Alia’s also a brilliant writer. You know, I think what her performance is, it stands out, and it is so new and it is so magical, and it’s because she is writing her own story beyond the lines of what is given to her by the scriptwriter or the director, and I think that's really a special quality. Wow.
ALIA: I think one thing --
RANBIR: Say it quickly, we don’t have much time. *laughs*
ALIA: *laughing* Yeah, I think Ranbir is one of the most disciplined actors that I've worked with, like beyond, and I think every actor that works with Ranbir would agree that he is the easiest, most disciplined actor to work with. But also beyond that, I think one of the things that I was most surprised by, is how spontaneous he is and I don't think I've ever seen Ranbir prep for a shot, or a moment, like he doesn't even show you that he's thinking.
Many times when I'm thinking about a shot, you can even see it on my face, okay, now like she's prepping or something like that. You can't see any of it with Ranbir, so genuinely it's like a surprise that just happens in front of the camera. So, if you're lucky, you can see it there otherwise you're not gonna see it, you're gonna see the final product. So, I really enjoyed that about him as an actor, that he doesn’t show you his tricks or his cards. He just comes out there and displays it for you and waits for you to be surprised.
ROHAN: I don't think this is a spoiler, but Shah Rukh Khan is in the movie and, while you don't share any scenes, both of you have worked with him before, which is the dream. What have you learned from him over the years?
RANBIR: I don't know about Brahmastra - *smiling* - but I've had the good fortune and privilege to do one small scene with him in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, she's done a full film with him. He's everything that we love about Shah Rukh Khan. You know, he's magnetic, he's passionate, he's the king, you know, and, there's no two ways about it, but I'm not sure if he really has a part in Brahmastra yet - *smiling* - that's something which Ayan has not disclosed to us. *laughs*
ALIA: *laughing* Listen, I love him. He's one of my favorite people in the world, just the personality that he is, the magic he has in his eyes. The power/gentle nature that he has sort of existing in the same moment, I think, genuinely one-of-a-kind, and when I have spent whatever time I've spent with him shooting our film Dear Zindagi, I learned so much from him as an actor in just that much amount of time, and I really feel so blessed that I got that time to spend with him because I feel like that added so much more of a layer to me as a person and as an actor. And yeah, in fact, I say this to him all the time, that we just produced a movie together, Darlings, so now we need to act again, you know, in a movie together, so I can get some more of Shah Rukh time.
BRAHMĀSTRA- the Trilogy, is a 3-part film franchise and the beginning of India’s first original universe – the Astraverse. It is a new original cinematic universe inspired by deeply rooted concepts and tales in Indian mythology but set in the modern world, with epic storytelling of fantasy, adventure, good vs evil, love and hope; all told using cutting edge technology and never-seen-before visual spectacles. Releasing In cinemas on *09.09.2022* in 5 Indian languages – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.