THE ADVANCED LEARNING OF VIVAAN SHAH
What’s it like being a part of such an illustrious family?
It’s very stimulating in every way. I’ve learnt to be curious and cultivate interest in different spheres.
What acting tips you got from your dad?
My dad always says that if you want to act you have to be able to empathise with people, be able to feel what they are feeling and see the world through their eyes. He doesn’t believe in method acting, he actually has his own philosophy, which is that imagination is the main tool for an actor.
How was it being a part of a mega budget film like Happy New Year?
What have you learned from Shah Rukh Khan? So, would you like to do more films like Happy New Year or Saat Khoon Maaf?
I don’t think it works like that. Mainly because I don’t think there is any distinction between parallel and commercial cinema. There are just good movies and bad movies. My aim is to be a part of good movies. For now, I’ve been a part of just three flicks ( Saat Khoon Maaf, Happy New Year and the upcoming Bombay Velvet), so it’s too early to analyse my career. It’s been a profound one and a half years. I don’t know where to begin. Aside from the creative aspects of acting and filmmaking, I realised that these kind of films provide employment across the board. It’s then that you appreciate the fact that the business aspect of cinema is as important as the creative side. You can’t give too much weightage to one or the other. Mainly, I’ve learnt to love and care about people and be interested in them. Shah Rukh Khan, besides being such a big star, has an equation with everyone on set. Another thing is that he is so hard-working that it’s actually very difficult to keep up with him. He is involved in every aspect of filmmaking, whether it’s the hospitality, the craft or the technicalities of cinema. He is involved in everything and he pours his heart and soul into it. It’s inspiring.
So, did you always want to be an actor?
Actually, I never wanted to be an actor, because it was always something that was expected of me. In boarding school, when I used to study people would say, ‘ Tu padai kyu kar raha hain? Tu to actor hi banega.’ And I used to get irritated and say, ‘I will never be an actor.’ So, it was a very stupid sort of rebellion. But when I was working on Saat Khaan Maaf I had an epiphany. It was my first time on a set, and I saw how much hard work goes into it, and how much this medium matters to so many millions of people across the world. So, now when I look back, I consider myself very lucky to be born into this industry.
How are you dealing with all the female attention after your success?
That’s a good question. Actually, I’m still trying to figure that out myself (laughs). A couple of times, people recognised me on the road and mobbed me. So, yeah it’s good.
Is the chocolate boy look something you consciously worked towards?
It isn’t a conscious decision. Actually for my next movie Mastan I’m going to be playing around with my look a bit. My character is a gangster but not really a typical one, so I’ve tried to create a Baby-Face-Nelson kind of character. Physically, he’s the last guy you’d expect to be a gangster, but he’s a maniac and the toughest guy around.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MOHIT BHATIA; STYLING: SAYALI ANGACHEKAR HAIR & MAKE-UP: SACHIN VYAWAHARE
JUMPER: POLO, RALPH LAUREN (THE COLLECTIVE) SHIRT & DENIM: CALVIN KLEIN, SHOES & CAP: ZARA
JACKET: ZARA, T-SHIRT: ARMANI JEANS (THE COLLECTIVE); DENIM: CALVIN KLEIN