Hindi film directors are known for quirky stunts to get their cast in sync with the story of the film and get under the skin of their characters. And while traditional workshops and exercises before the shoot begins are swiftly becoming passé, ‘Mausam’ director, Pankaj Kapoor made his lead pair, Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, go through a unique exercise to better understand their character in the film.
Pankaj Kapoor wanted Shahid and Sonam to stop using the phone, SMS or any similar short format for communication. Instead, he wanted them to write handwritten letters to communicate for two months before they started shooting with each other. Initially they hated it since it seemed tedious and time consuming. Today’s generation is mostly comfortable with SMS as a mode of communication, but that restricts one to just 140 characters but actually writing a note didn’t have any restriction but was cumbersome.
But both didn’t know how to write and protested against this exercise. But Pankaj Kapoor was adamant and actually said that he will not start shooting until this exercise was completed.
Shahid and Sonam write letters to each other
While the initial notes written by Shahid and Sonam to each other were pathetically brief and had director Pankaj Kapoor fuming and baffled, eventually the two began really putting their thoughts down on paper. Infact Shahid and Sonam got so used to this exercise that they continue to write letters to each other even today, after the film has been completed.
Talking about his theatrical style of filmmaking, Pankaj Kapoor says, “I belong to different school of acting. Everything that my actors do, has to be contextual. I made Shahid and Sonam go through this extensive exercise so that they could start feeling like the characters they play. It took some time, as first we need to break inhibitions, then develop new habits and then fall in love.”