I See Good Per­for­mances.”

On life, movies and more… SHAHID KAPOOR in con­ver­sa­tion with Su­mita Chakraborty…

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY -

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.”

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