In 2011, he worked under his father’s direction in Mausam. But Shahid Kapoor admits that it would be “scary” to share the screen space with his father, veteran actor Pankaj Kapur. “I would rather have him direct me. Why should I make a fool of myself by having him act with me?” says Shahid, during a visit to the HT office to promote his new film, R…Rajkumar.
“I’ll use his acting abilities to my advantage and have him direct me. It’d be scary to work with him as an actor.”
Shahid further adds that Kapur Sr is so good and his expectations are so high that it is a constant process of trying to get to a point where you feel that he is satisfied. “You feel that pressure. I’d love to work with my father because he’s a phenomenal actor. I’m scared, but if I get an opportunity, I’ll take it up. It’d be definitely intimidating to be in the same frame as him though,” he says.
I wanted to be an astronaut... then...a tennis player: Sonakshi
Is it true that you knew about R...Rajkumar even when you were shooting for Rowdy Rathore (2012)?
Sonakshi: Yes, Prabhu sir narrated the script of R…Rajkumar while we were shooting for Rowdy Rathore. In principle, I told him that I was on board because I liked the subject and the premise of the film.
Did you notice any difference in his style of film-making since Rowdy Rathore?
Sonakshi: No, he’s been true to his style. Every film-maker has a different style, and Prabhu Sir has his unique style.
You’ve never worked with Shahid before. How was that?
Sonakshi: We didn’t know each other before I started to work on this film. Both of us felt, when we met each other, that the other person has a lot of attitude (laughs). But, luckily, we started the film on the right foot.
Lootera, your last film, was very different. How was it coming back to a mass entertainer?
Sonakshi: Yes, but these (mass entertainers) are the kind of films I like doing. Then, Lootera came along and I felt strongly about it, and I felt it was a role that I could do.
Shahid, what has it been like working with Prabhu Dheva?
Shahid: It’s been quite a party; we’ve all gotten along really well. Sonakshi and I didn’t know each other…
Sonakshi: I was just telling them that you had a lot of attitude (laughs).
Shahid: Ya, we both did, but I think, right from the first day of filming, we got along well. We started with a song. She loves dancing, I love dancing, so we had a party.
You had recently said that you were angry with yourself for having done less work in the last two-three years.
Shahid: Yes, it’s not a good thing that I did less work. But I think I did good work, and that’s all I can do. I can only focus on my work, I cannot take responsibility for something that’s not my area.
So now, are you looking to do more work?
Shahid: Yes, I mean this year has been a lot of work. I have been working without a break, so definitely the effort is to do more work.
Sonakshi, on the contrary, you have been doing several films. Any plans of taking it easy?
Sonakshi: No, I don’t know any other way to work. I think I’ve become a certified workaholic, I’m happy, I enjoy my work, I look forward to going on the set in the morning and working all day.
Shahid, you seem to be making a conscious shift from romantic films to action. Is this because the genre has gained popularity?
Shahid: Do you know which movie has done most well this year? Chennai Express. That’s an action-love story. When good products get made in any genre, people start saying that genre is popular. That is how I see it. I may be wrong, but when good films are made in any genre, people start thinking that people are enjoying the genre.
Now, films are considered a success if they make 100 or 200 crore. Do you consider that a yardstick?
Shahid: No, I don’t think that’s right. If a film is made in five crores and makes 40 crores, then it is a block-buster. But if a film is made in 75 crores and makes 100 crores, it is just about a hit film.
Before you guys became actors, what were you like?
Sonakshi: As a teenager, I loved going to school, unlike others who hated it. I played a lot of sports and my staple diet was pizzas and burgers and fries…
Shahid: You were that healthy?
Sonakshi: Yes, and I’d watch Cartoon Network. I had a very couch potato-ish teenage phase.
And did you intend on becoming an actor at the time?
Sonakshi: No, I had no intention of being an actor. I’ll show you pictures, so you’ll know why I never thought I could be an actor.
Shahid: Even I can show you pictures in which you won’t believe this boy can be an actor, but I always thought I’ll be an actor.
Sonakshi: Yes, but I had a sense of reality, even at that young age.
Shahid: Yes, but the first movie you got was Dabangg (2010). My first movie was Ishq Vishk (2003). The biggest star of the movie was Anu Malik.
Sonakshi: So I had no interest and no intention to be in this industry.
Shahid: So if you want to be in films, don’t be interested in it, that’s Sonakshi’s strategy, or be like me, my strategy was, besharamon ki tarah try karte raho, kabhi na kabhi toh lag jayega (Keep trying shamelessly, and you’re bound to get there eventually).
What would you have been if not an actor?
Sonakshi: Well, at one point, I wanted to be an astronaut, but I was terrible at math, so that was out. Then I wanted to be a tennis player, but I became too fat, so I couldn’t run.
Shahid: So you’re saying you used to eat burgers and wanted to be a tennis player, and you’re telling me that I didn’t have perspective.
Sonakshi: Yes, I was good at it. I just couldn’t go through with it. Then I thought I’m good at sketching, so I went to a fashion school for three years and then, what do you know, I became an actor.
Shahid, how did you get into dance?
Shahid: I would dance in the bathroom, in my bedroom. My mom knew, but I was always shy at school and birthday parties.
Sonakshi: I think I was one of those who’d go onto the dance floor.
Shahid: Yes, but you’re a good dancer…
Sonakshi: I remember these birthday parties, I’d dance and then they’d announce prizes for dancing and I remember I’d go and sulk in a corner if I didn’t win.
There have been talks for four-five years that you are doing a movie with your mom. Is anything happening?
Shahid: No, mom is not free, and I think everyone is talking about this, except mom and me.
Sonakshi, your brother is trying to revive your father’s production company.
Sonakshi: They are working on it, on the home production, and putting together a couple of scripts, meeting directors, so it’s work in progress.
Are you planning on working with your family banner?
Sonakshi: See, I only know my job, which is acting, so other than that, I don’t know how much I can contribute. But whenever they need my services as an actor, I’ll be more than happy.
— Transcribed by Alfea Shaikh