Finding love against the odds

We talk to Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor, the stars of the cross-cultural romance 2 States, out now in UAE cinemas.
Arjun Kapoor, left, and Alia Bhatt in a scene from 2 States. Dharma Productions
Arjun Kapoor, left, and Alia Bhatt in a scene from 2 States. Dharma Productions

Chetan Bhagat is Bollywood’s favourite author – filmmakers keep dipping into his considerable stock of novels to make movies based on them.

Abhishek Varman is the latest to join that list with his new film 2 States, starring Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. The film is adapted from Bhagat’s 2 States: The Story of My Marriage, which is loosely based on the real-life experiences of Bhagat and his wife, Anusha, who are from different states: New Delhi and Tamil Nadu. The film explores the differences and the minefield that is a cross-cultural romance, especially in India where cultural boundaries are strongly marked and fiercely guarded.

“Whatever we do [in India], we want the blessings of our families,” explains Kapoor. “This is a story of how the couple go about convincing their parents to accept their love despite their different backgrounds. It also depicts the genuine concerns both families have and shows both sides of the coin.”

Bhatt, who claims to be a Bhagat fan, says: “I read 2 States and fell in love with both the book and the character, which I have now got to portray. It’s very easy to give in to stereotypes when it comes to a film dealing with different cultures. We have tried to break away from those stereotypes.” Both actors give Bhagat credit for not having interfered with the filmmaking process at all.

“We met him once when he came on set and he was really cool about it,” says Bhatt. “Considering the book is based on his own life, he could have been very specific about how he wanted things done, but he placed his faith in the director to treat things tastefully and in us as actors. Now we are really keen to see how both Chetan and his wife like it. If they do, and if they connect with our interpretation of the characters, we’ve done our job well.”

• 2 States is out now in UAE cinemas

Published: April 20, 2014 04:00 AM