Being Air Force pilot was childhood fantasy: Pankaj Kapoor

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By Hindustan Times

He wanted to be a pilot and some of that childhood fantasy helped him create Mausam, says Pankaj Kapoor whose directorial debut Mausam is centred on a fighter pilot, played by son Shahid.

"As a kid I wanted to be a pilot. My real uncle was a pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). I was very enamoured with him because he had a great personality. He used to look dashing in his uniform," the veteran actor and now director told IANS in an interview.

"I am from Ludhiana and Halwara, an IAF base, is very close to our house. So whenever any plane flew over my house, I used to run out and think that it must be my uncle and that I would some day fly an aircraft like that. Yes, there was some childhood fantasy, which helped me create what I have created in the film."

But destiny had something else in store and, instead of becoming a pilot, he put on the greasepaint and gave the Indian film and theatre world an actor to be proud of.

Pankaj, a familiar face in theatre, made it big with small screen ventures like Karamchand, Neem Ke Ped, Lifeline and Office Office before moving on to films.

Mausam, which releases Friday, also has a sense of journey, says Pankaj, "as it shows a span of 10 years that the two characters (Shahid and Sonam Kapoor) pass through."

"It's a journey through the points or phase they pass in their life. We also call it a love story beyond romance; so there is a new aspect of love that reflects in the story."

Directing has been a long-cherished dream, but the 57 year old kept delaying it because he couldn't ignore interesting acting offers that came his way.

"My first love and my first instinct are acting. If you see the last 10 years of my work, I got some very interesting parts to play as an actor. So I picked up those roles and got busy with them," said the eminent actor, whose powerful performances in Maqbool, Dharm and Blue Umbrella have become a reference point.

Pankaj was keen to act in Mausam. But "it being my first film, I tried to concentrate on the making of the film. Just by chance I have not given any appearance in the film...I had thought I would definitely do a small cameo. The journey just ended in such a manner that I could not be a part of it on screen".

Though he had other ready scripts, Pankaj conceived Mausam primarily for Shahid.

"Over the last 20 years I had been writing scripts and I have about four to five scripts already with me. But Mausam was specially conceived keeping a young boy of roughly Shahid's age in mind.

"I have been seeing his growth for the last five years in terms of both his choice of films and his performances, but in Mausam people will see him in a different league as an actor," he said.

Pankaj maintained that the film also helped the family bond.

"It was natural...the bonding happened because the entire family was involved in making of the film. My wife Supriya (Pathak) is part of the film and my daughter was working as DA (director's assistant) in the film.

"Each of us were involved in the film; so it was the family bonding that held our nerves and energies together and helped each of us to stay afloat during the making of the film," said Pankaj, who is optimistic about the audience's reaction to his directorial debut.

"On the one hand, I'm hugely relieved because I have completed the film. On the other hand, I won't say I am apprehensive, but I am anxious and also a little excited about how audiences, who have accepted me for 30 years and given me a place that I have in the industry, would accept my first film as a director," he said.

Asked if he would start his next film any time soon, he said, "I would not take a call on anything for the next six months to a year. I would do a little bit of acting before I take up another direction assignment."