Rising from the milieu of an identity that is desirable enough to exalt you in the limelight while ironically being also potentially adverse in pushing you down as someone just privileged, the morality- or otherwise- of nepotism is a tricky trade to consider. Which isn’t a particularly encouraging proposition everytime around, specially when you realise that not all star kids are mere showy presences. In living in an essence exclusive to their own, Bollywood has had its fair share of stars who might have been hailed or parallely downgraded as being products of the nepotism brigade but who still might have managed to hold their own. And perhaps it is in refreshing contexts like these that the evils of nepotism somehow manages to subdue in favor of its wells, in being heralding of an altogether different wave of revelation altogether.
It can therefore be as gross an overstatement as it can be as an understatement when we set about celebrating one such star kid who have a particularly esteemed lineage to boast of. He might not be the newest kid on the block right now but the way the handsome Ishan Khatter has managed to rev up the radar with just over only a couple of films credited full fledgedly to him uptill now is reason enough for us to proclaim him as The Suitable Boy already. And indeed he is! Khatter’s starring in the miniseries based on the eponymous book by celebrated writer Vikram Seth spans across as the smitten lad he was supposed to be. And in once again delving deep into the intensity that his face innately bears we sure are no less smitten by this incredible talent who does not let himself be overpowered by whoever or whatever command his complements draw.
In making his Bollywood debut alongside the fawned over Jahnvi Kapoor in Dhadak, Ishaan might have had a privileged run for a first outing but that does not in any hamper his cadence in emoting. In fact in not being the sleeper hit that it was expected to be, it is to Khatter’s credit that his current niche presence in the realm of films is something that stems more from his talent than his privilege. As the fresher landing the pivotal role in Oscar nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds and delivering with a panache uncharacteristic of a newcomer, Khatter shows exactly where his heart lies. It indeed is heartwarming that the intense expressions this young lad delivered with heart and soul in as grave a drama as BTC that even fetched him the best actor award at the Bosphorus Film Festival in Turkey could transition as effortlessly into his energetic dance moves and charming smile as was evident in his role in the Kapoor co- starrer. And that perhaps is what Ishan Khatter the actor would be grateful of- even in bagging a dream Karan Johar venture it was indeed his destiny that launched him with Beyond The Clouds in a way no masala film could ever have done.
That however is not to dupe Khatter’s amazing screen presence when it comes to essaying characters in such film that essentially lean towards entertainment. Be it his soulful innocence or his overt enthusiasm, his restraint or parallely his exuberance, even his intense portrayals that border on the excruciating or his goofy cheer, and as much his captivating looks as his intriguing demeanor, Ishan Khatter is a presence whose nepotistic translations into the world of showbiz bear little significance in front of his enigma.
That of course is not to deny that Khatter have never had his way woven into the Bollywood dynamics courtesy his family. As the son of classical dancer Neelima Azeem and actor Rajesh Khatter and perhaps more significantly as the half brother of actor Shahid Kapoor, Khatter has more than just a shoulder to fall back on. For it indeed is brother Shahid Kapoor starrer Vaah Life Ho Toh Aisi that saw Khatter in front of the camera for the first time, albeit unimportantly. It again has been Shahid’s star power that let his younger brother play assistant to the director in the film Udta Punjab. But leave it at that and beyond its ‘pitting’ it entirely is Khatter’s own ingenuity that has propelled him as an actor and a performer in his own right.
For someone coming from a family so rooted in the arts, it’s no any surprise that Ishaan’s talent would find translation in the realm of the creatives. Having been surrounded by cinema and dwelling in the cultural manifestations all his life, literally living in the lap of artistry all this while, acting has been a natural call for this young lad. Interestingly however, Khatter chose to steer clear of pursuing any course in acting despite his obvious liking of the trade. That itself explains how natural a performer he yearns to be, whether that be in deriving from the genes or the influences but here’s a guy honest enough about his passion to not let anything take out the true charm of it. In giving himself wholeheartedly to this one endeavor that he wishes to define his life with, Ishan Khatter isn’t just an actor rooted in realisation. In his affable nature, warm disposition and that cheerfulness he imbibes in his very vibe, the effervescent young man seems far detached from the demands of the extravagant presence star kids feel entitled to. With performances that dwell somewhere on nuanced finesse, Ishaan seems immersed in an experience that could extract the depth out of his emoting abilities. In his unpredictability, Khatter harbours a relatability so commonplace that he ceases to be merely the character he portrays.
He indeed is all the character demands of him but beyond that he explores a space of his own, one that perhaps lend him greater credibility as an actor of tremendous repertoire and of even greater awareness about his person. It’s refreshing that even as a millennial actor Khatter sparsely resides in the self airs that could very easily characterise others of his clan. It is his efficacy indeed that should make Khatter a more enduring presence on screen than many of his contemporaries. Sure ,the talented lad is hardly some movies old to be heralded already as a versatile actor but in his limited appearances he has managed to exhibit such flashes of brilliance that make us believe he can very well dodge the conventions one tends to get typecast in. If only he persists resiliently in translating those specks of charisma into full blown parities in deliverance, drama and deft dramatics, this dynamic star can sure be a double delight in his dashing presence and exemplary emoting prowess. Sensible and sedulous, suave and smart- Ishaan Khatter sounds like the superstar in the making. Already!