"Working with someone like Majid Majidi changes you as a human being," says Ishaan Khatter, unperturbed that his debut film, Beyond The Clouds, did not make an impact at the box office. He insists the drama helped him achieve his objective: "It set the tone for my craft."
In a departure from the niche drama, Khatter is ready with his next offering, Dhadak, a full-on commercial film.
Though a remake of the Marathi hit Sairat (2016), the youngster believes that director Shashank Khaitan has created a different universe. "We watched Sairat only to understand the essence of the story, but eventually created our own characters. Madhukar [his character] is naive, and mans up in the course of the film. I didn't want to make him a typical hero. So during our recce in Udaipur, I imbibed the energy of the place. I needed to wear my hair a certain way, and also got my ears pierced," says Khatter.
The Karan Johar production also serves as the launch pad for Janhvi Kapoor.
"She became Parthavi, and thus a full-fledged bully. It was fun to see her grow as a person. She is free-spirited. At first, her clumsy antics would amuse us, but now we have tuned ourselves to her unique sense of humour."
Well aware how a misstep can affect his career, Khatter is glad to have the sound guidance of brother Shahid Kapoor.
"He is the one man I look up to, he is my influence. So far, my films have chosen me. But hereon, I will show the scripts to him and have a discussion with him before I take a decision. He always wants to have a discussion before I sign a film; he wants to know everything - from who is making it, to who is my co-star."