It took Shahid Kapoor two years to comprehend that slow and steady doesnft always win the race, and about nine months to realise that not working is an unhealthy habit.
Hefd always been aware that visibility is synonymous with an actorfs life, but Shahid has a deeper understanding of the concept now. So, wiser than before, he is back on the sets after nine months, shooting for Raj Kumar Santoshifs Phata Poster Nikla Hero.
gIt feels like I was on an extended vacation and now I am back to school,h he says. With three big films in hand ? Prabhudhevafs Namak, Bejoy Nambiarfs next and Phata Posterc, the 31-year-old actor is back on his feet. Late at night, on the sets of Santoshifs film, Shahid holds back nothing in an exclusive interview with HT Caf?.
Youfve been missed. Where did you disappear after Mausam?
It wasnft a voluntary decision. But yes, there was a time when I should have been doing more work, but I didnft. So I need to recover that lost time now. And I guess everything has a reason. My dadfs film Mausam took a year and a half to finish, and that started the slow-down. Technically, I lost two years. Everybody knew or presumed that I would not take up any work till Mausam was finished. The only film I signed in between was Teri Meri Kahani.
I finished Teri Meri Kahani and was about to start Maneesh Sharmafs film, when he developed a slipped disc. A series of events
unfortunately followed that and caused further delays. I understand there were technical problems but, honestly, I couldnft push it any further as I already had three other films lined up. I wasnft happy opting out of Maneeshfs film. But Ifve always believed that whatever you get is in your destiny and what you donft get isnft supposed to be. Maneesh and I parted amicably. Following this, I didnft shoot for nine months which was very surprising because something like this has never happened before with me.
Itfs been five years since your big film Jab We Met released. People still consider that as your best shotc
I know. Itfs a strange feeling to look back. However, it wasnft considered a big film then. It was made by a new director; the lead pair of Kareena and I was not considered hot as our jodi hadnft worked in earlier films; and most importantly, the film was released in a period that the trade believes is inauspicious ? two weeks after Dushhera and two weeks before Diwali. This period is looked upon as the weakest and worst time to release a film. And two big movies, Om Shanti Om and Saawariya (both 2007), were releasing around that time. Fortunately, our film was widely appreciated. I guess every film has its own destiny.
So far you havenft spoken about what went wrong with Mausam.
The fact that we had just about two months to edit the film which was made over a period of two years, and the fact that the film itself got hugely delayed impacted the product. Had there been a little more time, we would have got more perspective and made corrections. It was a lot of pressure on dad who was making his first film. There was pressure on all of us, including Supriya aunty (Shahidfs stepmother Supriya Pathak), and my kid brothers. Everyone was deeply involved in the film. I was with the family throughout and I had to be their mental strength. I just couldnft let them down emotionally.
Do you regret that phase a little?
I usually do not regret anything in life, but in hindsight, I wouldnft want to do that again. I really donft want to be in that situation again.
eI am not arrogant, but lovingly detached!f
Wefve heard youfve cancelled your New Yearfs Eve plans.
I am really excited about my work now and therefs an interesting line-up for next year. So yes, I will be working round the clock. Therefs no New Yearfs Eve or birthday break. I have taken it on myself to make sure that I have the most of myself and just keep working.
How did you spend the last nine months?
I was reading scripts, meeting and interacting with people. I have already heard about six scripts and the three films I am doing now are a result of this. Fortunately, I am working with people I wanted to work with. With these movies, I am moving into a different space too. Thankfully I had the time to line up my priorities. Raj Kumar Santoshifs film is an out-and-out entertainer, so is Prabhudhevafs Namak, which is complete masala fare. And then there is Bejoy Nambiarfs film which is of a dark, edgy kind. And therefs one more that I am not supposed to talk about now.
I have decided one thing, though. Ifve made a promise to myself that every year I will do three films and have two releases ? minimum. People have told me that I am too slow, that I do very few films, and that at this age and stage, I shouldnft be doing this.
You and Kareena became a hit pair after Jab We Met (2007), and then the two of you split up. But have you ever had an offer of a film with Kareena since then?
Nobody in the last five years has come to me with an offer to work with Kareena. I had never said no to working with her ever before, and why should it be any different now? I would say Jab We Met was Kareenafs finest performance so far. Shefs one of the finest actresses we have today. People still remember her as Geet.
Was it after Jab We Met that you fell into a slow phase? Did the break up with Kareena affect you?
No, yaar. So many things happen, including death, but you donft stop working because of that. In fact I did Kaminey (2009), Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009) and other films after the break up. But I did very few films by choice. I had put all my eggs in one basket. And some of the films that I did were not good choices; thatfs how I have to look back now. I have to be pragmatic and honest. So when you put all these things together, itfs not the best scenario and I am looking to correct that.
Certain people in the industry believe you exude a kind of arrogance.
I used to be in my own world and keep to myself all the time, so there may have been a perception about my reserved demeanour that was misconstrued as arrogance. But when people interact with you, then they know the real you.
So how did you control the damage?
People may have found it difficult to approach me and I realised it and have worked on it. I used to be socially shy. Now I have become a social animal. I go out, meet and interact with people. I made an effort and I am really enjoying that phase now. Beyond that, I cannot change who I am. I am a Piscean, and they have a lovingly detached attitude towards life.
Do the reports of your link-ups upset or amuse you?
Initially I was shocked to read them, but gradually I got used to it, so I donft take it seriously. Sometimes I feel itfs excessive, it makes me uncomfortable. I guess itfs going to keep happening till I get married. Anyway, I donft care about it, so it doesnft matter.
Are you single now?
I am not saying anything. Tomorrow when I am walking around with someone or dining with someone, someone will click a picture and itfll become a headline. So I am not going there at all. I say one thing, and therefs an avalanche of gossip around it. I am
married to my work. Thatfs what heroines say, right? But yes, I am single and I have been single for the last two years.
So is love a no-no for the new Shahid?
Therefs so much happening in my life now that a relationship could be a huge baggage for me unless itfs with the right person who brings out the right side of me. If I find someone who makes me feel amazing and who I canft stop thinking about, I will run after her and try my best to woo her. Being in love is beautiful. You just have to find someone who can understand you and who you can give time and importance.
How important is money for you?
It is important to be secure, but I always emphasise relationships. I have learnt this over a period of time. Four years ago, perhaps, I wouldnft have said this.
On Kareena Kapoor
In hindsight, were you too young and immature to handle your relationship with your former girlfriend Kareena?
Absolutely not! I was 16 when I had my first relationship and it lasted for two and a half years. When you are seeing somebody, then obviously itfs a commitment. And if you donft want to commit, then donft be in a relationship. Every relationship deserves a certain credibility and respectability. For me, itfs always been like that. If I have fallen for someone, itfs been a long time.
As for what went wrong between me and Kareena, I donft want to comment on it. Everything happens for a reason; I am in a happy space and wish her all the best.
When Ifd interviewed her earlier, Kareena Kapoor had said shefd like to act in Jab We Met 2c
Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra
The ball lies in Imtiazfs court. It would be interesting to revisit Jab We Met, but I donft know if I can play Aditya Kashayp as I had played him in the original. Nonetheless, itfs a great film, so why not? Everyone associated with that film has gained tremendously. Vishal Bharadwaj cast me in Kaminey because he liked me in Jab We Met. He felt that even though I was mostly quiet in the film, I was still in my character. That was a huge compliment. On Priyanka Chopra
Was your relationship with Priyanka Chopra a case of love on the rebound?
Ever since my public break-up (read Kareena), I have never spoken about my relationship status. Thatfs the maximum I am going to say. And since I have said I was single for the last two years, how could I have been seeing anyone?
Shahidfs top women
The women who make him go weak at the kneesScarlet Johansson:
gIncredibly beautiful. Perfect lips and beautiful eyes. I have a huge crush on her.hPen?lope Cruz:
gThis Latin beauty has features that are very Indian. A phenomenal actor.hKatrina Kaif:
gEveryone in the country finds her very desirable and beautiful!hDeepika Padukone:
gShefs coming into her own these days. I really liked her in Cocktail.h Vidya Balan:
gShe was an enchantress in Parineeta (2005). A very positive and charming girl. I did Kismet Konnection (2008) with her. I remember she was very confused about which look to favour as people were very critical of her. Nice to see how she has rediscovered herself.h
I wish I could havec
1 Aamir Khanfs
brilliant mind and phenomenal understanding of his craft, and be the visionary that he is. Hugely inspirational!
2The unconditional love Salman Khan
has from his fans. It is awe inspiring. If your fans love you, they are ready to forgive you. I would die for that.3 Shah Rukh Khanfs
dignity and class. Hefs well spoken, nice, and very cultured. Hefs so good to you when he meets you, that you canft look beyond him. Thatfs a quality I want to learn from him.
4 Hrithik Roshanfs endless honesty and sincerity. Despite being the best
looking guy and the finest actor in the industry, he still works harder and tries to get better at his work. Itfs amazing! He is the only actor who called me up after watching my first film, Isqh Vishk (2003). I was damn happy that movie star Hrithik Roshan called me on my phone. I flaunted it around. I respect him a lot.
5 Pankaj Kapurfs
conviction. He could have been a very rich man, but he chose a middle class life through his work which states sense and sensibility. Sometimes he tells me, eBeta I have money in the bank for only one year, but I will still not take up work I donft likef. He stands by his beliefs fiercely.