Ishaan Khatter is all of 22 years old, and he has already bagged the Best Actor award at the 5th International Bosphorus Film Festival in Turkey for his debut film, Beyond the Clouds. With Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi at the helm, the actor says he couldn’t have asked for a better debut.
“When my casting director told me that Majid Majidi wanted to see me after I submitted my mood shoot footage, it knocked my socks off,” says Ishaan who previously worked behind the camera as assistant director for Udta Punjab. “I woke up to a call asking me to go to the terrace and scream out that I am Majidi’s lead actor. Yeah, it was quite dramatic.”
Ishaan plays Aamir, an 18-year-old from Mumbai who is largely raised by his elder sister, Tara, played by Malavika Mohanan. A street hustler and a tough kid, Aamir may seem like he has a rough exterior, but inside he’s just as sensitive and soft as any other teenager.
Ishaan gushes about working with Majidi and says that he is an absolute craftsman and storyteller. He also describes him as someone who is meticulous, values relationships and above all — an affectionate man. Majidi’s illustrious career as a screenwriter and a director, is unparalleled. His 1998 movie, Children of Heaven was even nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film.
So was there any added pressure working with a director of his stature? “I remember my mother telling me that I have to eliminate all self-doubt and mustn’t question anything, because if a person of his vision has faith in me, then the least I can do is have faith in myself,” says Ishaan about his mother Neelima Azeem, a yesteryear TV actress who is also actor Shahid Kapoor’s mother.
He hopes he can do a musical in the near future, but for now, this is the only movie he’s working on.
Beyond The Clouds releases today.