He was on the eve of just being written off as just another cute face. Then he was a scalding hot item in the gossip columns following the break-up with Kareena Kapoor. Mercy be, he's now back in the reckoning with Jab We Met. Over to the gifted 26-year-old Shahid Kapur in a quizfest with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
It's been quite a while since Vivah and you were almost written off. But once again you've bounced back with a film that wasn't expected to click following your break-up with Kareena Kapoor.
(Laughs) That's how it was with Vivah too. The promos were so simple and the sensibilities so different that no one had given the film an ice cube's chance in hell. But I was confident of both Vivah.. and Jab We Met.
With most love stories you get that been-there-done-that feeling. But the story was fresh and had the right mix of the modern and the traditional to appeal to audiences across the country. <b1>
But as a title does Jab We Met have the right connect?
The characters are very contemporary and the backdrop small town India. The two English words and one Hindi are the right mix.
One hit a year, is that the strategy now?
Ideally, I'd like to have three releases in a year. But I sat at home for six months after Vivah because none of the offers excited me. It's not the kind of risk taken by someone who's just been around for three years. But I didn't want to go on the sets till I believed in a film.
Aditya Kashyap of JWM was a lot like Shahid Kapur.
I hope so. I tried to become him. But yes, there were certain parallels. Like him, I'm 26 too. Having started out at 22 , I've also had to handle many pulls and pressures. But I'm not as quiet as Adi.
You didn't give any inputs to Imtiaz Ali?
There was no need. His script was so complete. It dipped, post-interval. After Geet and Adi's constant interaction in the first half, I think people missed seeing them immediately after the interval. But we needed that 10-minute break to establish Adi's changeover in personality. <b2>
Does your boyishness still come in the way of you playing the average movie hero?
I don't think so and even if it did I can't fight the fact that I'm 26. But getting a heroine is still a problem? Let's leave that problem to the directors.
Even though the split is official, will you and Kareena continue as a screen pair?
Why not? I hold her in high esteem as an actress. But we need the right script.
You must have thought the relationship was for keeps?
Yes I did.. but that should be understandable to anyone.. we were together for four years. But that's life!
She's 26 and it's being said that you drove her away by insisting she turn vegetarian, get into meditation, cut down on her work and get into the whole fitness routine. There was no fun left in the relationship.
All I can say is that there are no hard feelings. I respect Kareena and wish her happiness.
You're still called the
chhotaShah Rukh Khan. Do the comparisons rankle?
No, I'm humbled by the comparison. He's the biggest superstar in the country. But hey, I have a long way to go. Give me five years to prove myself.
Why is the film in which you will be directed by your father (Pankaj Kapur) taking so long to get going?
My father is an actor first, he gets heaps of offers. He's had to wrap up several commitments. I'm an actor too, I've to clear five months for him. It's a big and complicated film. It's taking him time to write it.
Tell us more. <b3>
Sorry but I've been instructed to keep my mouth shut (laughs). Let dad speak about it, he'd be able to represent it better.
Your father and you come from different schools of acting. Won't that make things difficult?
I've never been to an acting school. I'll pretend I'm a student going to class every day and follow my father's instructions, pretty much. For me the biggest high was when after a show of JWM my father told me, "Shahid, I think you can act."
Ever thought of getting into film production?
It's too premature for that. Production requires organisation, experience and maturity. Right now I don't feel the need. I wouldn't want to be distracted from my main job.
Is your brother, Ishaan, going to follow in your footsteps?
He's only 13 and studies are a priority now. Give him time to grow and decide for himself. I'd love it if he became an actor too.
How is it going with Lucky Charms?
Aziz (Mirza) uncle's films are feel good, they're simple and warm. Vidya Balan has a new look in the film. <b4>
What about you?
There's not much you can do with a boy struggling to find a job abroad. I've grown out my hair, the look is peppy. Also, he's very talkative because he relies on his wits.
There's been quite a bit of gossip about Vidya and you. She's supposed to have played hostess at a special screening of JWM.
Over a hundred people were invited to the screening. Vidya and Amrita Rao were two of them. They're my heroines and I was keen that they should see JWM. Beyond that, what can I say? It's just gossip.