He’s all set to spring a few surprises with his first daringly different double role in Kaminey. And off screen, he’s doing a Dhoom on his cool bike. Here’s Shahid Kapoor going zip, zap, zoom with Roshmila Bhattacharya...
So, you gifted yourself a bike on your 28th birthday?
(Laughs) I bought the bike a month before B-day. But I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly had time to ride it.
You took it to Yash Raj Studio and it was the envy of John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Arshad Warsi and Kabir Khan.
(Chuckles) Yeah, they liked it. John is really knowledgeable about bikes so when he came out for a dekko, I was like, “Hey dude, don’t ask me too many questions because I won’t know the answers! I bought this particular model because it feels cool sitting on a cool looking bike.”
Cool! I can see you in Dhoom 3 or may be Dhoom 4 next?
(Laughs) I don’t know about Dhoom but I’m looking forward to doing an action film. Kaminey has a lot of the maar-dhaad.
Isn’t it a little too early to be doing a double role?
Maybe, but it’s such an exciting script that when Vishal (Bharadwaj) narrated it to me, I knew I couldn’t let it go. Most actors have played double roles but they are usually limited.. clichéd. The twins in Kaminey, Guddu and Charlie, though identical are poles apart from each other and anything you’ve seen on screen before.
One of them looks a little rough round the edges. Wild.. and Shahid Kapoor?
(Laughs) I’ve discovered certain new facets to my personality. Sometimes, certain emotions that you least expect come to the surface and they take you by surprise. It’s makes life interesting!
Apparently, you had an argument of sorts with Rekha during a recent awards ceremony and told her that you were going to win the Best Actor award for Kaminey next year?
I told someone as senior as Rekhaji that I would win an award next year? Now isn’t that hilarious! Come on, I can’t make such predictions. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can only give my best and if I win an award, it’s like the icing on the cake. Every actor craves appreciation. I’ve been nominated for the Best Actor award with Mr Amitbah Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan in the past and that is an award in itself.
You’ve been working on an eight-pack for the film...
(Cuts in) I’ve been toning up my body with functional training, but the abs are for Ken Ghosh’s film in which it’s important to focus on aesthetics. In Kaminey,the look is raw and edgy. Neither Charlie nor Guddu is perfect.. model-like. They’re guys from the street. The look is rough and drastically different from my soft image in Jab We Met. (With a wry smile) As the quiet, introverted businessman, Aditya, I was bored of wearing glasses. Now I can’t wait to cut my hair short.
Ken Ghosh’s film is a musical and for someone who was once an instructor at Shaimak Davar’s institute, dancing must be a breeze.
(Sighs) Yes, everyone knows that Shahid can dance. But these moves are nothing like what you’ve seen me do before. For 10 days, I had to unlearn everything I’d been taught so Marty (Kudelka), Justin Timberlake’s choreographer, could teach me something different.
Marty called you a “beast of a dancer”. Will we see you up on stage with Justin Timberlake next?
(Laughs) I’m up for the challenge. But I know if I ever came face-to-face with Justin, I’d behave like a star-struck fan!
Your next release will probably be Paathshaala that you apparently want billed as a ‘special appearance’?
It’s a small role.. just seven-eight days of work. But it’s substantial and significant to the plot. I don’t care if it’s billed as a ‘special appearance’, a ‘friendly appearance’, a ‘guest appearance’ or a ‘character role’. Ahmed (producer Ahmed Khan) is my friend and brother. I’ve known him for 16 years. And Paathshaala is his labour of love. I’m glad to be a part of it even if I was sceptical about playing a teacher. Till Ahmed pointed out that a teacher doesn’t necessarily have to be old and dull, he can be young and fun too.
In these days of economic slowdown, when other actors are being forced to take drastic pay cuts, you must be pleased you didn’t up your price to unreasonable heights and sign multi-film deals?
I’ve only been working for four years and I still have a long way to go. If I had three years left, I’d try to rake in the hay while the sun shone. But at 28, I can take my time, wait for scripts that excite me rather than sign deals in a hurry. The market has changed and in hindsight, I realise it is better that I waited when prices were going through the roof, and only asked for what I thought I deserved. In the present scenario, I see a lot of actors shaken up by what is a ‘correction’ of sorts. But personally, I see it as something that needed to be done. Films like Ghajini and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi have proved that people are still going to the theatres. Yet, the success rate has gone down. Kismet Konnection was my biggest opening to date, but though profitable, commercially it was not in the league of little big films like Vivah or Jab We Met. The industry needs to make a profit to survive and for that films need to be sold at reasonable prices.
Wow, you are pretty clued into economics. Is this because your father, Pankaj Kapur’s film goes into production in October?
We should get going before October. I will finish with my pending projects by April-May. We’ll start as soon as dad is ready.
The film’s already been delayed..
(Interrupts) It hasn’t been delayed. It’s just that since everyone is aware that dad and I are doing a film together, they’ve been expecting it to take off for months. But it needs a certain amount of preparation.
What’s the score on Hadippa? There’ve been rumours that Rani Mukherji and you have not been on talking terms.. you refused to shoot till the climax was changed.. the schedule has gone for a six?
How is it that others know so much more about Hadippa than me when I’m pretty clued in on my projects? The film is on schedule.. Rani is a fantastic co-star and I respect her as an actress.. We’re one big happy family who can laugh off all these rumours.. ha, ha!
And what about the rumours about Priyanka Chopra and you? She was supposedly the unofficial hostess at your birthday bash?
I think everyone is in a huge hurry to settle me down with someone. Hey, I’m only 28! I’m pretty used to personal questions by now but it’s my life, let me live it my way without having to justify my friendships to the whole world. I’ll react only if I feel a story has credibility. If it’s miles away from the truth, it needs no clarification.
Will you promote Milenge Milenge with Kareena Kapoor given your history?
I haven’t given promotion much thought yet. And hey, the release date is still to be decided.
You started out with a Pepsi ad and then steered clear of endorsements. Now suddenly, you are promoting several brands.
I’ve been thinking of ads for a while now. Today, visibility is important and endorsements are a great way to reach out. But I needed to connect with brands that have credibility and compliment my image.
The girls must be going gilli gilli after seeing you give a firang model a back rub in a recent ad for a luggage brand, when you go zooming by on your bike?
(Laughing) Don’t say the word.. please. And for the moment I prefer riding alone.