SHAHID KAPOOR’S AWKWARD CONVERSATION WITH A STRANGER
THE ACTOR IS NOT AN EASY INTERVIEWEE AND THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRED TO MAKE IT TOUGHER. PRESENTING AN INTERVIEW THAT ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN
A s a freelance writer, one must grab any paid work coming one’s way. Even if it is an interview with Shahid Kapoor.
I had long known from a senior film journalist friend that the actor is a tough nut to crack. He is stand-offish and rude, came the warning. As someone who prefers to give fellow humans the benefit of doubt, I pooh-poohed the warn- ing. Then, the editor of your favourite lifestyle weekly tabled the brief: Get Shahid to talk about gender-neutral fashion.
I arrived at Sofitel Mumbai BKC for the shoot. The actor was delayed at another shoot and faced an overpacked schedule. The face-to-face was cancelled.
A month later to the date, the chat finally happened, albeit via mobile. As can be imagined, between an opinionated, judgmental writer not inspired to do a telephonic, and an actor bored to speak to another witless member of the press, the interview played out clumsily.
The phone’s recorder refused to work. The conversation had to be recorded on another device via speaker mode. With no network inside the room, the interview took place on a noisy balcony Here’s the awkward phone chat between two strangers (with initial bits lost in traffic noise):
Shahid? Can you hear me? Yeah, yeah, I can hear you.
You’re a big star in a film (hinting at Padmaavat) that’s about the sacrifice of a woman. Most heroes would not do a role where he doesn’t get the girl— (Interrupting): What’s your question?
What drew you to this role? This is a tale of love, sacrifice, valour. (Rest inaudible.) I’m very proud that I am part of this film.
Deepika and Ranveer reportedly had to see counsellors because their roles affected them mentally. What was your cooling down mechanism? My daughter.
Last year, in GQ, you said that you don’t understand fashion. Do you now? (Inaudible)
Sorry, I can’t hear you... (Does something) Is this better?
Totally! What I said was that I never
“my cool-down mechanism aFTer padmaavaT? my daughTer!”
understood fashion earlier. Today, I have learned to understand it more than I did, say, five-six years back.
How did that happen? Exposure, meeting people, learning from them, working with designers. Also, finding myself, who I am and how I want to dress.
What are your views on gender-neutral fashion? Your own fashion brand sells gender-neutral items. Are you comfortable wearing them? (Suspicious laughter) Why so many questions about fashion? Are you doing a piece on gender-neutral clothes or something? (Suddenly recollects) I remember! This has to do with the shoot we did last month. I totally forgot. Okay, carry on.
Do you think you have evolved as a person? I always say that there’s a big difference between a boy and a man. Today, I feel much more of a man. I’m 36, married, with a daughter. I’ve been earning for myself since I was 16. I’ve found myself in many ways.
Will the phenomenon of celebrity diminish with people becoming overnight sensations, thanks to social media? The concept of celebrity has already evolved. It’s good that there are so many opportunities for people to showcase their skills. I am for it.
Thanks so much Shahid, we’re done. Thank you!
“I always say there Is a bIg dIfference between a boy and a man. today, I feel much more of a man”
Shirt and bottoms, Urvashi Kaur; shoes, Shahid’s own