Shahid Kapoor on his initial days of career: I felt lost and wasn't myself
After being referred to as the chocolate boy on screen, Shahid Kapoor, who recently turned father for the second time, says that he doesn't wish to be known for just his 'cute' looks and how films like Batti Gul Meter Chalu help broaden his horizon
What about the storyline of Batti Gul Meter Chalu convinced you to come on board?
When I came on board for Batti Gul Meter Chalu, the story was completely different. While the core plot revolved around the electricity issue, it was based in Mumbai and my character was different. I felt the story had a lot of potential. Mira [Kapoor, wife] also told me how electricity is a real issue in smaller cities and how as privileged actors we've not seen the half of it; that convinced me. I met Shree Narayan Singh [director] before the release of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and he said the story needs to be told from a small town. Writers Siddharth Singh and Garima Wahal [writers] along with Shree researched and decided to do the film in Uttrakhand.
Actors are choosing issue-based films these days, but not many take a stand on problems in the society. Why do you think that is?
I believe it has a lot to do with fear, which is sad. People who can create a difference shy away from addressing issues on a larger platform because the repercussions can be fatal. The sensible thing to do is convey the message through your work. I have never been overtly expressive about my views because I don't want to engage in controversies, and that is not because I became an actor.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu landed in issues with the producers. Did it affect your mind?
My take on roadblocks is that they can either take you low or high. I have learned to overcome it irrespective of how long it takes. My outlook towards life is: regardless of how hard it gets I need to give my best. Whatever happened during the course of this film, it was just another roadblock which needed to be overcome. I feel good things come late in life and some things are worth the wait.
You have been part of the industry for 15 years. Has the process changed for you?
I was less sure of myself before. I would latch on to things that came naturally to me, but that somehow did not work. I needed to take a different approach. Rather than taking the conventional offers, I am trying to experience my work and express myself honestly.
Is doing one film a year part of the change that you adopted?
That just happened organically. Working on two films, with varied characters and appearances at the same time wasn't something I wanted to indulge in. I didn't want to just stand in front of the camera because it was convenient when the director and writers have worked so hard. By the end of the film, you often feel that you've not explored the character to its full potential. I have now started enjoying the process. In order to stay relevant in this field, you need to explore and experiment with the roles you get.
Was it difficult for you to stay relevant?
I became relevant after seven to eight years into my career. Earlier, I was just the cute factor, but that is not how I want my life to be defined. When my children ask me what I do for a living or why I am popular, I don't want to say, 'because I look cute or that girls find my hair and cheeks adorable'. I don't want the journey of my life to be that limited.
Why didn't you alter your image as the 'chocolate boy' earlier?
I couldn't relate to the roles that came my way when I entered the industry. There weren't many opportunities to explore unconventional roles. I felt lost and wasn't myself. Only five types of films were being made then, and no one wanted to do anything different. For some people, that period is nostalgic; I was terrified. Things have changed for the better in the last five years. Today, I feel like the saltwater fish that is finally in the sea.
Prep for Arjun Reddy
Shahid Kapoor, who is prepping for the remake of Telugu film Arjun Reddy, has been sporting a facial fuzz of late. The actor says that while a lot of actors opt for wig and make-up he prefers to keep it natural. "I have always had issues with sticking something to my face," he says. Kapoor adds that he has yet to achieve the complete look for the film, "We were supposed to start shooting last month but the fuzz is taking its time."
Also View Photos: First glimpse of Mira Rajput and Shahid Kapoor's son Zain Kapoor
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