Karan, the co-proprietor of Badmaash Company, who arrives in the theatres today, takes us back to the swinging ’90s when matinee idols like the Bollywood Khans, Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman, ruled the marquee. "They still do," Shahid Kapoor is quick to point out.
A few weeks ago, Parmeet Sethi, the director of Badmaash Company, had admitted that his elder son had come expecting to be bored through 18 reels of a typical Hindi potboiler. Instead, he had been surprised by a slick flick that was as much cool Hollwood as it was commercial Bollywood.
One of the reasons for that, you discover, is because his lead actor’s wardrobe has been borrowed liberally from Top Gun Tom Cruise, Shah Rukh Raj Khan from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Rangeela Aamir Khan. There’s a bit of Beverly Hills 90210 too.
And then of course, the carrot-chewing detective Karamchand from the good old telly, reflected in his now-not-so-trendy shades.
“I chose them because I got a kick from wearing something dad had made a fad all those years ago,” Shahid admits with a grin.
He adds that since it’s a con movie, set two decades ago, and required him, at 29, to play a 21-year-old scamster, he decided a makeover was in order and would add to the freshness of the script.
No copies here!
While Shahid is quick to acknowledge his sartorial references, he dismisses rumours that the script reached out to other muses too. He points out that when Badmaash Company started, the buzz was that it revolved around a rock band, a la Rock On!!!.
“Then, after the first promos came on air, the talk started that it was inspired by Hollywood con movies like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Ocean’s Eleven, The Sting and Catch Me If You Can, since the genre hasn’t been popular in Bollywood. But I can vouch for the fact that it’s a completely original film,” Shahid asserts.
“All the characters are newly minted, as also the relationships. Even the scams aren’t what you have seen on screen earlier.”
Shahid gets to don several disguises. And as the old, bald guy, he claims he was unrecognisable on the sets too. “Everyone wondered where I had disappeared till someone caught on,” he laughs.
He adds, “That was a good con job like the one I pulled on a friend I’d had a fight with. I got him to fly out to Dubai, kept him waiting at the airport for a few hours claiming to be stuck in traffic, then, buzzed to tell him to take the next flight back to Mumbai where I was waiting. Doesn’t that make me a perfect candidate for
Tracing Shahid Kapoor’s reel life metamorphosis
When Shahid Kapoor flagged off his acting career at the age of 23 with Ken Ghosh’s Ishq Vishk, he looked like a college kid that he was, off screen and on it too.
“Fortunately, the role was tailor-made for me and I could work my disadvantages to my advantages,” he reasons.
Ghosh’s next, Fida that projected him with grey shades, also didn’t bring about any drastic changes in his physical appearance.
“People were still getting used to my face. So I just built up my body a little, but it was nothing compared to what I did for Kaminey,” he recalls.
Sooraj Barjatya’s Vivah was a milestone in his career, but not in terms of his look. “I was content with the challenge of enacting a boy with conservative roots so different from mine,” he maintains.
The turning point came with Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met. Aditya Kashyap was quietly introverted and dramatically different from the perky characters Shahid had played earlier. And the glasses he wore added a ‘mature’ touch.
“They were my idea,” exults the star. “Nobody wanted me to wear them. I was told that commercial Hindi film heroes didn’t wear glasses. But I insisted that Adi needed them and got my way.”
Buoyed up by the success of Jab We Met, cutie Shahid, who, by now had got tired of smiling his way through 18 reels, got bolder. For his first double role, he built up a six- pack and shrugged off his shirt to let his muscles rip as he matched strides with a pack of horses.
“The first promos had us worried,” he admits. “We wondered how fans would react to my new look. Would they hate it or love it? Fortunately, despite the shock value, Vishal’s (Bharadwaj) credibility as a director, the dialogue and the chartbusting Dhan tan nan… went down surprisingly well with them. And much to our relief, Kaminey was a hit from the first trailer.”
The six-pack turned into an eight-pack for the climax of Chance Pe Dance when he had to throw off his shirt again. The garment disappears again, in Badmaash Company, but now Shahid’s physique has been considerably trimmed down in keeping with an immature 21-year-old. And even the long locks of Dil Bole Hadippa’s cricket coach have been snipped off to a cop crop.
“I’m 29 now and the pre-conceived notions I had till about three years ago have gone. I’m no longer afraid to experiment with roles and looks,” Shahid asserts. “Today, I’m looking for something that allows me to do something new. I would rather shock than run true to a stereotype.”
Next up is dad’s directorial debut, Mausam. Since the idea sparked off, Pankaj Kapoor has been sharing his dream with his son who admits to having been actively involved with the development of the script. They’ve already had a few workshops to discuss the look, costumes and acting in general.
Shahid who plays an air force officer in the film had grown a beard a few weeks ago while promoting Pathshala. It’s gone now. Was it because they realised that air force pilots are clean-shaven?
“People will speculate without knowing anything,” he sighs. “Yes, Mausam has me playing an air force officer, but the film is also a beautiful love story. We’re still trying to figure out the look. This time I won’t be required to undergo any kind of special training like I did for Kaminey and Chance Pe Dance."
"I undertook strength training that was more sports specific than cosmetic. But being in the armed forces means I have to look fit, right?” added Shahid.
Right, so be prepared for another changeover as Mausam goes on the floors mid-way through the year.
Shadid's Candid Confessions
Did you get into any kind of ‘badmaash’ company when growing up?
Sure, in fact, I was something of a ‘badmaash’ myself. I did everything from getting into fights with the neighbours to running away with my best friend.
Was she a pretty girl?
(Chuckles) He was a naughty boy and we were in the second standard then. Well, there must have been other pretty girls even if you didn’t run away with them.
Tell us about your first crush?
She was 15, I was 12, and her boyfriend was my best friend. He would keep sending me up to her house to call her down so that he could whisk her off for a drive. I wanted to tell him to get lost. But hey, he was my buddy! Her parents thought I was a sweet kid and believed she’d be safe with me. Those few minutes in the lift when I was alone with her while we were on our way down were oh-so-painful and frustrating too.
(Laughs) Looking back, I wonder how I could have been such a loser.
Never mind, you grew up to be a heartthrob. So tell us about the first girl who confessed to having a crush on you?
It happened a few times in school and a lot in college. I don’t remember much about these girls and that should tell you just how interested I was in them.
Buzz is that you are pretty interested in your co-star, Anushka Sharma?
(Laughs) I understand that being in this industry and single too, I’m susceptible to gossip. People are going to link me with any actress I star with when all we do is work a lot together, talk a little, may be catch a movie after pack-up.
(Laughs) Well, Anushka is definitely not the Tani of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. She’s more like the Bulbul of Badmaash Company… Chilled out, independent and a little aggressive. I guess that’s why this character came more naturally to her. Still, she did a really good job in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi despite Tani being nothing like her.
And how much of Karan is there in Shahid?
Karan’s not me at all. I was never any good at scheming and plotting.
You mean you have never successfully conned anyone?
(Chuckles) Sure I have. I’m an actor, aint’ I? I do it for a living.
And have you ever been conned?
Many times, I can be pretty gullible.