He played a bad guy in dark thriller Kaminey and will now be seen as a conman in Badmaash Company. Shahid Kapoor says playing characters with a negative streak is an "escape route" from his good-boy image in real life.
"I think I always wanted to be a good boy, but I think inherently I have a badmaash (naughty) streak in me. That's why I love doing this role. This is my escape route. What I couldn't do in my childhood, (I'm) doing it in films," Shahid told IANS in an interview.
The actor is thrilled to get such a role but adds that he doesn't play a kamina (rogue) in director Parmeet Sethi's Badmaash Company.
"I won't really call this guy a bad guy. Badmaash is a little less of a bad guy than a kamina. In Kaminey, from the very beginning Charlie is edgy and different, but here when the film begins you will find that the four characters are normal middle-class guys and then they get into doing these scams and schemes," the actor explained.
"In Kaminey Charlie never used to think...he was spontaneous, but here the guy is lot more of a thinker, planner and schemer. I think it's fun playing a bad guy," he added.
"These guys want to do things on their own terms. That's what today's youth are all about? They want to set their own rules, make things in their own way. They find their own route to success. That's why the tag line says 'they want to do all the wrong things in the right way'," said Shahid.
Set in the 1990s, Sethi's directorial debut Badmaash Company will see four young friends - Shahid, Anushka Sharma, Vir Das and Miang Chang from middle-class Mumbai joining hands to start a company. Their business is an instant success because they find a way to beat the system.
The actor says every con job shown in the movie is taken from crime stories published in the newspapers.
"When I spoke to him (director Sethi), he told me all con jobs have been picked up from newspapers. So these things happened and he has taken the basic thought of every con job from real incidents and that's why it will seem believable. It is the strength of the film," the 29-year-old said.
"And he has based it in the 1990s and the period is apt for this kind of plot."
Shahid claims Badmaash Company is more believable than 2005 movie Bunty Aur Babli in which Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji conned people.
"It's a genre that really excites me. These types of film are made less in India. I think films like Bunty Aur Babli were not really con films...it was more of a fun movie. This one is more believable. The con jobs that have been shown in the film I haven't seen in any Hindi or English film. It's more original," he said.
Shahid debuted in Bollywod with "Ishq Vishk" in 2003. After that he featured in films like Fida, Dil Maange More, 36 China Town and Vivah, but he got his major break with 2007 hit Jab We Met. It was followed by Kaminey, which won him critical and commercial acclaim.
Shahid says he's been lucky to get challenging roles after Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met.
"I am happy. This is something that I hadn't done for the first three-four years of my career. Of late...it's exciting to get the opportunity to do roles like this."
"Sometimes you get roles that break the ice. For me, Kaminey and Jab We Met were of those kind. It showed me new light. This film is also like that but apart from just the role, I think it's the space of the film...a con job film based in the 1990s, a very youth-oriented film and I am working with three new people.
"When I read the script, I found it very, very fresh. I have been really lucky in the last three years to get one significant film every year," he said.
Shahid's next will be Milenge Milenge opposite Kareena Kapoor. He is also working in his father Pankaj Kapoor's directorial venture Mausam.