I See Good Performances.”
On life, movies and more… SHAHID KAPOOR in conversation with Sumita Chakraborty…
Shahid Kapoor has been slowly but surely weaving his magic with every film he does, showcasing the tremendous range of his histrionics. Here, he talks about his magnum opus Padmaavat, his journey and entering the big league.
Do you think Padmaavat has tapped the ‘ultimate powerhouse performance’ that you’re looking for as an actor? Well, that’s what Sanjay sir told me when we met. He just looked at me and said, ‘Shahid just do this film, this character is right for you at this point in your career. And I really didn’t think of anybody else to play the character of Maharawal Ratan Singh except you. I think you’re right for it, and I just think you should do it. And trust me you will do it’. And there was so much honesty in the way he said that. So honestly, I signed the film without hearing the script. Obviously, he sent me the script and insisted that I read it (laughs) because of course, it was important for me to read it before I start. But I said ‘yes’ to him just on the basis of the two lines that he said... ‘Trust me, you’ll be proud of being a part of this film and you will be proud of the role that I am offering you’. And I said ‘okay’, ‘Coming from you this is more than enough’, and I just did it! And I feel very content and excited, and I believe that I took a very good decision by doing this film. So do I feel satisfied as an actor? Do I feel it was the right film for me to do? I can very proudly say that I am very, very happy and in fact, very grateful and thankful to be a part of a film like Padmaavat. As an actor, do you feel insecure? No, that’s a very irritating way of looking at things yaar. My insecurities come from whether I am going to be able to do what needs to be done and whether I am making the right choices. I feel insecure about things like have I taken the right decision? Am I working with the right people? Am I doing the right content? I was very insecure when I did Udta Punjab because I’ve never had a sip of alcohol, forget drugs. I don’t even know what it feels to be intoxicated. And I was playing Tommy Singh who was permanently high. So I felt very inadequate to play that character on the basis of my personal experience as I had no way of drawing a parallel. The only thing I could do is depend on my filmmaker and my instincts as an actor. But yes those kind of things make me feel insecure. But not where other actors are concerned. I actually feel very inspired when I see good performances. You have to see something special to feel driven. So my insecurities are never to do with other actors.
Shahid, it’s been 15 years for you, how has the journey been? I actually feel that I was not very good with my choices in the first 10 years of my career. I got lucky with Kaminey and Jab We Met. Vishal sir was very established but he was a parallel filmmaker - he was not considered mainstream. And there was nothing that I had done which would make him feel that I could be Guddu and Charlie of Kaminey. I don’t know what he saw in me. But he came to me and so I think I got lucky there. Honestly, when I started working with Imtiaz Ali I didn’t know he was going to be who he is today - one of the finest talents we’ve had in the last few years. And we happened to meet and JabWeMet came to me. But seriously, I was doing some pretty trashy work at that time - JabWe Met saved my ass. But I think in the last four to five years, I have kind of started making choices which are more honest and from the heart, and those choices have brought me a certain amount of appreciation. And Padmaavat is again a film like that which I’ve just instinctively done. I hope to continue doing work like that and I hope that whatever I do from the heart, connects with people.
As an actor, what’s next? Hollywood? No yaar. (Laughs) I am very happy doing Indian films. I just feel very honestly, that we’re in a place now as a fraternity, as an industry, where it doesn’t matter what language you work in, it doesn’t matter what format you work on. The only thing that is relevant today is the quality of the content that you do. So many times I end up sitting and watching television series - whether it is an HBO series or a Netflix series which are excellent so I can’t say that cinema today is better than television. It’s a different medium, they have their pros and cons they have their positives and their negatives and both are creating phenomenal content. So the language and format is irrelevant, the only thing that is relevant is content. You give me a role that makes me say ‘wow’! I’ll do it! I don’t care what format it’s in.
My insecurities are never to do with other actors.”