Shekhar and Kaveri Kapur Examine Fear and the Dark Side

One of the highlights at India’s Cinevesture International Film Festival and market was a frank, philosophical on-stage chat between veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and his singer-songwriter-composer daughter Kaveri.

Shekhar Kapur is known for his eclectic oeuvre that spans Indian films “Masoom” and “Mr. India,” hard-hitting biopic “Bandit Queen,” the Oscar-winning “Elizabeth,” starring Cate Blanchett, “The Four Feathers,” starring Heath Ledger, and recent romcom “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

When asked to reveal something unknown about himself, Shekhar Kapur spoke about his hidden fears, saying that people who think he is cool don’t “see the panic in my head every morning.”

“Fear drives me. I find panic is a huge form of creativity. When I, for example, shoot a film, I plan like a general going to war because you never know where the bullet is coming from. And then when I get to the set… suddenly, you’re faced with 200 people that say, give us the next shot. I don’t know what to say. Because by that time, I’ve convinced myself that I don’t know,” Kapur said. “I’ll go to Cate Blanchett and say ‘What would you like to do?’ and she’ll say, ‘Shekhar, you’re doing it again. You don’t know, do you?’ ‘I say no, I’ve no idea what to do. So why don’t you start? And I’ll find out,’”

“You can’t plan for that moment because the moment hasn’t happened? How can you plan for that which does not exist. And so the moment has to tell you something,” Shekhar Kapur added. “There’s constant conversation about – is anxiety necessary for creativity? Is anxiety necessary for you just to take the next step? I don’t think so.”

The filmmaker said that he feels guilty because his daughter went through “a lot of anxieties” and that her parents didn’t handle their separation well.

Kaveri Kapur said, “I struggled with my mental health a lot. It actually started when I was a kid and I don’t think we recognized it until it was so strong that we didn’t have a choice, but no, I don’t think you should blame yourself for it.”

Shekhar Kapur is launching Kaveri as an actor in “Masoom… The New Generation,” a follow up to his 1983 directorial debut “Masoom.” “I think you have the most honest explorations of human nature. And to me, that’s what fascinated me about acting. That’s why I get so excited. It just feels like I’m discovering human nature and what drives us and the dark parts of us and I think that you explore that in the most realistic way possible I have ever seen,” Kaveri Kapur told her father.

“As a father this is one of my concerns, because she keeps telling me about the dark side, keeps writing about the dark side,” Shekhar Kapur said. “I get like, ‘Oh my God, my daughter is obsessed with the dark side.’”

“I’m not obsessed with the dark side. It’s just something that it’s a part of all of us. Some of us choose to acknowledge it. Some of us don’t. I’ve had no choice. It’s just very much a part of our reality,” Kaveri Kapur replied. “It’s fascinating and it brings another layer to my life and my art and it would be dishonest of me to not explore it and talk about it. Because we are dark and light, it’s just as much of a part of us as as things that are happier, enjoyable and easier to digest.”


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