His cute, boyish looks might have not changed over the decade that he’s been in Bollywood, but Shahid Kapoor is now definitely a much wiser man. The actor admits to his follies and hopes to get back the lost time with smarter decisions now. An excerpt from an interview with the star...
How much of it is at stake with Phata Poster Nikla Hero?
A lot, but then it is with every film that I do. I couldn’t believe some of the weird things that I have done in this film. All thanks to Santoshiji (director Rajkumar Santoshi). Look at those posters, they are not my expressions, they are Santoshji’s. Andaaz Apna Apna and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron are my two all-time favourite films and to think the director of Andaaz Apna Apna cast me in his film. Then I have Rambo Rajkumar and Vishal Bhardwaj’s film. I can’t say much about Vishalji’s film, as I will wait for him to make the announcement. Rambo Rajkumar was a blast. About 80 per cent of the time I am doing action in that film and in the rest, I am dancing. Prabhu (director Prabhu Deva) is such a delight to work with.
For someone talented, and good looking, shouldn’t you have been more successful than what you are? What worked against you?
I know and I realise it now... but then you have to know that I didn’t have anyone to ask, anyone to consult. I did things on my own and with most things I faltered even though I love my parents. I have been doing my own thing... I was like any other struggler, I remember standing under a poster and thinking if I will ever be able to make it big….even though I have had parents from here, I have never had it easy. I was just like any struggler. Though I know I have made some mistakes in my life, I had no one to guide me. But I am going to tell my younger brother or my kids if they want to join films, what the things they should or shouldn’t be doing…
I have been guilty of making some horrible choices… and some projects that I shouldn’t have been part of. But then I am just happy that people who liked me, didn’t ever talk about my performance being bad. I have been given that kind of respect perhaps because they knew that my intention was never wrong.
The common perception is that you were so taken aback by Mausam’s failure that you sulked for a long time...
On the contrary, I was raring to go but there was nowhere to go. I am the kind who wants to be on the sets every day of my life, but here I was like this horse with blinkers on and ready to race but the gate was just not opening for it. You can imagine the helplessness of that horse. But then now when I look back, I realise that those six months were necessary for me to reflect and understand the things that I had done wrong. I was so concentrating on Mausam for a year and half and then I was doing nothing. Those six months were tough.
What is the advice you would like to give your younger brother Ishaan if he were to enter movies, so that he doesn’t repeat the mistakes you did?
For one, maintain relationships. Films come and go, but what matters is the people around you. It is so necessary to have some good people around you who can keep you going, who give you the right advice and who generally are your well-wishers. I have learnt over the years that people and relationships are important.
Isn’t it difficult especially in this industry to know who your wellwishers are and who are not?
I agree but being here for 10 years, I have learnt to recognise them.
You have been single for a while now. You could have used those six months of free time to date women?
(Laughing) What makes you think I didn’t? The fact is that I had never been single in my 20s. Even from my college days I have always had a steady girlfriend and I have always been a boyfriend. Now I realise that the 20s is the time when you need a lot of space to evolve as a person and here I was, more thinking of ‘we’ than ‘I’. It took me all these years to realise that I need to be alone to recognise myself and help myself grow in some ways. Now, in my 30s I am leading the life that I missed in my 20s. Honestly, if you ask me, I am in a good place now, professionally and personally. I am not under any burden or living up to someone’s expectations. I am living for myself. I have been living on my own since my early 20s so now I have got so used to my independence that I am actually enjoying that. It has always been me handling things and falling back on myself.
You are part of Milan Talkies. You do know that the producers and their earlier choice for the film, Imran Khan have had a sort of a fall-out? Are you planning to speak to Imran?
Yes, suddenly I found myself discussed for something, which I had no idea of. I’ve been offered Milan Talkies but we are still in talks. I would love to work with Tigmanshu Dhulia (director) but I still need to figure out if I can do it. About talking to Imran, once I decide to do the film I will decide if I should or not.