Lakshmi V (BOMBAY TIMES; April 5, 2017)

When it comes to acting pedigree, it cannot get better than Akshara Haasan and Vivaan Shah - she is Kamal Haasan's daughter and he, Naseeruddin Shah's son. The two, who play the lead pair in the upcoming film, Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana, have known each other since childhood and even dated each other briefly. No wonder then, that their comfort level has translated into crackling chemistry on screen. In a heartwarming conversation with BT, they open up about their lineage, tinsel town experiences and more, all over two cuppa of chai. Read on...

Akshara and Vivaan, you guys debuted with films helmed by R. Balki (Shamitabh) and Vishal Bhardwaj (7 Khoon Maaf), respectively. How has the journey been so far?
Akshara: I wanted to become a football player, but I injured my legs and was heartbroken that I couldn't pursue it seriously. However, I bounced back and worked as an assistant director for four years. I also assisted dad recently in his upcoming film. So, the journey has been incredible. I've kept my mind open and I'm thankful for the kind of appreciation and knowledge I've received. Now, I'm craving for more.
Vivaan: We both are fortunate to have worked with the kind of people we have. These guys are institutions in their own right. Now, it's our responsibility to make them proud. We've had a great launch pad, and the true test begins now.
Akshara: Even now, I text (R) Balki sir and ask him what he thinks of my work. I am sure Vivaan does the same with Vishal (Bhardwaj) sir.

Laali Ki Shaadi..., directed by Manish Hairshankar, is a quirky family entertainer. How was the atmosphere on the set?
Vivaan: It was crazy, just like the film. She is the most fun to work with. She keeps playing pranks on people.
Akshara: (In a serious tone) You are soon going to land me in a lot of trouble.
Vivaan: (Laughs) But you are a lot of fun to work with. For a debutante, her performance in Shamitabh was quite sophisticated. She is very expressive and communicates a lot with the smallest of gesture. While working on this film, we got to learn a lot from lot from Saurabhji (Shukla) and Sanjayji (Misra). We've become their disciples. Sanjay sir's sense of humour would leave us in splits.
Akshara: They would discuss how to make the scenes better and we both would be busy observing them. Everyone on the set was involved in the filmmaking process. We just watched in awe.

You guys must have been the youngest on the set...
Akshara: Yes, but we were treated like adults.
Vivaan: ...though we behaved like babies.
Akshara: We used to sit together and figure out how to perform our scenes better. Thanks to him, my Hindi is much better. Since he has a theatre background, he had a different perspective towards acting as well.
Vivaan: What I like the most about her is that she is always game for rehearsing. Sometimes, people don't want to do it, but she is a team player.

Apart from rehearsals, is there anything else you guys bonded on? Laddoo, for instance?
Akshara: (Laughs) Nope, we are health conscious.
Vivaan: But while shooting in Gujarat, dhoklon ki barsaat hui!

Akshara, you are a good dancer. Did you teach Vivaan a step or two?
Vivaan: I'm also a dancer. I'm a crazy dancer.
Akshara: He enjoys dancing and that's the beauty of it.
Vivaan: I think dance is the purest form of expression. When I auditioned for Happy New Year, Farah ma'am (director Farah Khan) asked me if I could dance. And I lied, saying that I was damn good at it. To my surprise, she held her head and rued, 'But I wanted a bad dancer.' Then I started shouting, 'Oh, that's me'.

The two of you have a lineage to be proud of. In fact, your fathers have worked together in Hey Ram (2000). Did they drop in on the set?
Akshara: Only my mother (Sarika) visited me because my birthday fell on the third day of the shoot. Otherwise, they respect our space.
Vivaan: I think her birthday celebration broke the ice for us.

Do you have any memories from the set?
Akshara: Some of the best memories I have, some of the most precious bonds I've developed - both professionally and personally - have been on this set.
Vivaan: I remember shooting for a song in Kashmir. Like all heroines of the past, Akshara was dancing in a chiffon sari while the temperature was freezing.
Akshara: This is not coming out of any place of disrespect, but I used to make fun of such sequences. I used to laugh when I saw actors dancing around trees. Back then, I never thought I'd be doing it one day.
Vivaan: But she did it with out flinching (laughs).
Akshara: Yes, with Vivaan and Gurmeet Choudhary backing me, it was quite fun.