Shahid Kapoor: Everybody loves a controversy
Shahid Kapoor has just recovered from tonsillitis and although there's no hint of hoarseness in his voice anymore, he does look a tad exhausted but ready for a chat. He pops chana as hitlist asks him about his upcoming film, movie choices and more. Excerpts from the 40-minute conversation:
Q. Given your choice of films, you seem to be becoming bolder by the day. What do you take into consideration before signing a film?
A. I have reached a stage where I want to do justice to myself and that's mainly because of few of my films which were critically acclaimed. People now have the confidence to come to me with bold scripts. It's a good place to be in. I have had a few misses, but I am making choices straight from my heart, and would love to do all kinds of films.
Shahid Kapoor with wife, Mira Rajput. Pic/Satej Shinde
Q. The characters that you have mostly been appreciated for were all in Vishal Bhardwaj's films...
A. Everyone wanted me to be this lover boy, but Vishal Bhardwaj was the only one who had a different vision of me. Because of him, people are looking at me more as an actor than just a good looking guy.
Q. Your upcoming release, 'Udta Punjab', has run into trouble with the Censor Board, and political parties are either taking offence to the film's subject or trying to capitalise on it. Do you think the controversies will help the film's publicity?
A. I have read about it, but usually don't like to comment on anything related to politics since it's not my field. 'Udta Punjab' is with the Censor Board and will be passed. Some people have deeper details about the film than I do (smiles). So, everyone should just wait, take it easy and breathe out. I know everybody loves a controversy, but they need to relax. We want to be clear that it's all fiction, not a documentary.
Q. Have you ever come across a Tommy Singh (his character in the film)?
A. No. I have seen people getting high, but not someone like Tommy Singh. In the West, there are stars who like to live in the fast lane and we have known them all our life. Tommy is someone like that. When you see him, he will seem cool, but when you will come out of the film, you won't want to be like him.
Q. You must be clued into the statistics of drug use in Punjab. How bad is the scene?
A. It's not about Punjab or the country; it's a problem with this entire generation. I feel they have easy access to substance and the awareness on how to procure and what happens after taking it is very high among them. Punjab might be the backdrop, but the issue is universal. I was not aware about this issue and its magnitude until I did the film.
Q. Did you have second thoughts about playing a drug addict?
A. The last time I saw someone do a role as crazy as this one was Joker in 'The Dark Knight' (2008). I was excited and scared at the same time since I have never touched alcohol in my life and don't know how it is to be high. I wondered if I was the right person to do this film. But if I had said no and it had gone to another actor, I would have kicked myself all my life. So, I had to take it up as a challenge. Tommy Singh has given me an opportunity to rediscover myself.
Q. What's your take on drugs?
A. Drugs di maa di. That's the right thing to say.
Q. You are going to be a father soon. Can you define your feelings?
A. Have you become a father yet? No? You seemed so scared to ask me that. It sounded almost like a warning — 'Do you know what you are getting into, bro?' (laughs). It's a huge thing and I am really excited about it.