Ahan Shetty also revealed his dad, actor Suniel Shetty,'s reaction to Tadap.
Last Updated: 10.07 AM, Nov 29, 2021
Ahan Shetty is gearing up for the release of his debut film, Tadap, which hits the big screens on December 3. The actor, who is also Suniel Shetty's son, will be seen in the Hindi remake of the Telugu hit film RX 100 opposite Tara Sutaria. Milan Luthria has directed the action-drama from a script by Rajat Arora.
Ahead of Tadap's release, OTTPlay exclusively caught up with Ahan, wherein the newcomer shared his excitement regarding his debut vehicle.
The actor spoke at length about remaking RX 100 in Hindi and how the makers stuck to the original script and didn't change any essence of it. Ahan also revealed how he and Tara broke the ice on the sets of the film before shooting the intense sequences. Moreover, the debutant revealed whether his father had watched the film and how critical he was of his son's work.
Tadap was announced a couple of years back, and now the film is finally releasing. What's your current state of mind?
Honestly, I am very excited. A lot of people are asking me, "Are you nervous?" Right now, I am feeling my best.
How do you feel about waiting for two years for your debut film to finally come about?
You're right. We announced the film in October 2018. Yeah, it's been over three years. We started filming a year later, around August 2019. We had completed 80% of the film when the pandemic hit, and we had to take a 10-month gap to resume shooting around this time last year. Overall, it's been a very long journey, three years. But now, finally, I'm very excited. There are a lot of ups and downs throughout the process, not only for me but even during the pandemic, when it seems like everyone in the whole world has come to a standstill. I am so grateful that we're able to do something so soon after we reopen. Like I said before, it's very exciting.
As you mentioned, you resumed shooting after a 10-month gap. How challenging was it to get back into the character after a long time?
What happened was that to prepare for this role, I had to put on a certain amount of weight. I put on 11 kg for the film, and then during the lockdown, I lost 14. When we finally decided that we were going to restart shooting, I had only two months left. I had to put all that weight back on and managed to put on around seven and a half kg. But I think that was the only difficult aspect for me in terms of getting back onto set and getting back into character. Because at the end of the day, when you have such fantastic performers and such an experienced director like Milan Luthria with you, it just makes things so much easier. As I've been preparing for the film for so long, even through the pandemic, I don't think I ever forget about Ishaana and what type of person he is. I kept that with me, and I don't think it was a challenge to get back to shooting. The only physical aspect was a bit.
When you decided to make your feature film debut, what kind of role were you looking for? Did you have any benchmarks set in your head?
When I started looking at a few scripts, nothing stuck out to me. Then RX 100 came along. I fell in love with the story and the character. As you can see, I think in the trailer, you can see that Ishaana has two completely different personalities. It's almost as if I'm playing a double role, but it's the same character. I found that very interesting. I thought as you said, I took it off as a challenge. I feel like when I challenge myself, I get the best out of myself. I focused on no specific genre. My focus was on my performance, whether it be an action film, a romantic film, a comedy, or a drama. But I think with the RX 100 remake, I got all of that.
RX 100 was high on concept, with an unexpected twist. Did you watch the original film?
It's a very funny story. The RX 100 was released in July 2018, and I went to meet Sajid Nadiadwala Sir at his office around a month later. He told me, "Ahan, there is a film that has come out called RX 100. I want you to watch it." At that point, we weren't planning on doing the film. He just wanted me to watch it because Karthikeya looked like me. Three months after that, around October 2018, Sir called me into his office and he asked, "Ahan, did you enjoy that film? I told you to watch it. "I absolutely loved it." That's when we decided to do the RX 100. The first time I watched it, I just watched it because he had asked me to. Then the second time I watched it, it was because we had decided we were going to be remaking it.
Were any alterations made to Tadap’s script knowing that a lot of what happens in the original is already known?
No, we definitely stuck to the original story. The original is such a fantastic script. Ajay Bhupathi, Sir, who is the director and writer, has done such a good job. We didn't want to take away from the essence of the original film. There are certain situations where we have changed the location, we have based our film in Missouri. But overall, the general story is pretty much the same, and the character graph for each character is the same as well.
RX 100 shows a woman lusting over a man. It is usually the other way around in most films. Did you find this contrast interesting?
Definitely! It's something very different; it's something that we don't show in Indian cinema. It's a very different type of love story. I think it's something that we all know happens, though we don't speak about it. I think it is a bit of a risk for me to do it in my debut film. But I wanted to do something different.
The film also has a strong influence of cinema as the backdrop that unfolds within the film. Have you also been drawn towards the cinema in real life too?
Yes, my father being an actor, had a major influence on me. But the thing is, when I was growing up, when I was a kid, I went to the American School of Bombay. So, I used to watch a lot of Hollywood movies as well as Bollywood. But for me, it made me Hollywood because of my friend circle and the environment in which I was growing up. Even though we were living in Bombay, my schooling environment, my friends were pretty much all foreigners. My influences have always been Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Jason Statham, Bruce Lee, Vin Diesel, and Sylvester Stallone. From Bollywood, it's been my father, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Ajay Devgn. So, of course, I've had so many influential people to look up to.
How did Tara and you break the ice on the sets, knowing that you would both be performing intense sequences and intimate scenes with each other?
The first time we met was while we were doing the screen test for Tadap. I think both of us were so shy that we kind of connected; that's what kind of broke the ice. Then, after that first meeting, I think we were both just very comfortable with one another. So doing certain scenes in this film wasn't that difficult and wasn't that awkward. Even if certain situations become awkward, we will just laugh about it because we have that kind of relationship. So, I think we are both very comfortable with one another, which is how we were able to film certain scenes.
Milan Luthria has directed your debut. How was the experience of working with a filmmaker who is known for bringing interesting surprises to the big screen?
He was fantastic. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing person to be a part of my first film than Milan Sir. Like you said, such an experienced director, he never made me feel like I was a newcomer. He was more than a director on set, he was a friend. He guided me throughout this whole process. There were certain scenes that I was uncomfortable with, so he would sit down, speak to me, and guide me. I had to trust my director. I had to surrender myself and it helped. He was so open and understanding. So overall, my experience with him has been great. I think now that Tara and I are very close to Milan, sir. We can discuss anything we want, and he also gave us complete freedom to do what we wanted with our characters.
Tadap is among the first films that people are going to watch on the big screen after the COVID-19 pandemic. Were you relieved that the film didn't go the OTT way?
Definitely, because it's my debut film, I did want it to be released on the big screen. I have nothing against OTT platforms; they've been such a relief for the industry and people during the whole pandemic. Not only because of the content that we were getting, but also because of the jobs that it was providing for a lot of people, whether they be actors, directors, or technicians. I'm very grateful to the platform that has raised the bar in terms of quality and content that we are getting out in volume. But because it's my debut film, yes, I did want a theatrical release. I'm very thankful that we were able to release it so soon after the theatres reopened.
Coming to OTT, are you up to exploring that space too? Were you offered any projects recently?
Of course, nothing against it. If a good script comes my way and I like the character, I'm willing to be a part of it. No, I haven’t been offered anything yet.
Did your father Suniel Shetty watch the film? Is he critical of your work?
My dad has always been critical of what I do. Not only in terms of my work but even if it was in school, when it came to my sports, whether it be football, martial arts, anything. But you need someone to be critical. Yes, he did watch the film, and even Athiya did. When he walked out, he turned to me and said, "I didn't expect this from you." In a good way. That was a proud moment for me that I could make him feel that. Because I'm not only doing this for myself, I'm doing it for the people around me: my parents, my girlfriend, and my friends. They have been such an amazing support system for me throughout my journey, that this is just something for them.