Priorities undergo a complete change post marriage, fatherhood: Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor says if given an option, he would “probably redo 80% of the things” that he did in his 14-year-long career.
It has been over 14 years since Shahid Kapoor appeared on the Bollywood horizon with Ishq Vishk (2003). After a series of ups and downs, the actor — now a happily married man with a daughter — is in a “good space” but given an option, he would change “most of the things” that he did in the last 14 years. HT catches up with the actor who talks about life, career, marriage and more. Excerpts from an interview:
You completed 14 years in Bollywood on May 9...
I think, as time goes by, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain yourself. The nature of the [film] business is such that there are lots of ‘flavours of the season’. You can win the battle and become the player of the season, but you must be around for 24-25 years to win the war. To sustain that long, you require a different approach, a unique mindset, a lot of luck and, of course, hard work. I feel fortunate that I have been here for 14 years and I hope to sustain for another 15-20 years.
With marriage and fatherhood, have your priorities changed?
Completely. Your priorities undergo a complete change. Being alone and on your own brings a certain sense of, ‘Oh, what’s the big deal, dekh lenge (I will see)’. The attitude is like, ‘Ho jaayega, mera kya requirement hai (it will happen; what’s my requirement after all?). But the minute you become a family man, and have other people that you are responsible for, everything changes overnight.
You have said that after becoming a family man, you’ve become very responsible. But weren’t you always like that?
Yes, it’s true because I was raised by a single mother for a long time. Ishaan (Khattar; brother) was very young at that time. So, I am used to being responsible since an early age. But, to a certain degree, taking care of your parents, wife and kid is very different. It [taking care of parents] doesn’t feel as large as looking after your child and having a wife because it requires a different kind of energy. So, of course, my priorities have changed.
Be it Ishq Vishq, Jab We Met (2007), Vivah (2006) and now Padmavati opposite Deepika Padukone, you have been loved as a quintessential romantic hero...
In the beginning, I used to feel claustrophobic about being called a ‘romantic hero’ and the actor in me would retaliate violently saying, ‘There’s more to me than just being a cute boy’. Now that it’s been 14 years and I’ve done all kinds of films, I enjoy getting back into a mould that people have liked me in. So I think it’s healthy to work in a certain space after a certain period of time. And I think Padmavati provides an amazing platform to play a romantic character and a lover again.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for his unique take on love and romance. So, you must be having a great time exploring your romantic side in Padmavati…
Sanjay sir is a fine film-maker, and if not the finest, he is one of the finest exponents of romance that we have ever had. I have grown up watching his movies and the magic that he creates between actors when it comes to chemistry and romance. I am happy that I am getting into that space again after a while, and that too with somebody as phenomenal as Sanjay sir. So obviously, it is a great feeling. I’m looking forward to see how that goes and how people respond to it because you can create magic when it comes to love stories, which is memorable.
Recently, Mira’s ‘puppy’ remark created a controversy of sorts…
I was actually laughing through most of it telling Mira, ‘Welcome to my world, wherein you will have to learn to be a little more careful’. Well, she is not an actor; and has the freedom to say what she feels. I think she is very mature for her age and speaks well and is clear about her thoughts. I honestly never felt the need to defend her because she defends herself and I think, a lot of times, she defends me also well at gatherings or when I am out with her. Maybe, I am a less confident person than she is. So, she has handled it [the controversy] really well.
What did you tell Mira (wife) when her ‘puppy’ remark snowballed into an issue?
I myself didn’t handle controversies very well in the first few years [of being an actor; laughs]. I told her, ‘this is going to happen and so, don’t worry about it and say what you feel, express yourself honestly and things will fall in place.’
Do you think making the entire thing an issue was unnecessary?
Mira’s comment came from a good place. She was speaking for women, who aren’t speaking for themselves. She was just trying to remind people that earning is not the only criteria as there are many other important things that women do. I’m happy as she talked for probably the largest section of women in the country. Women in general should be appreciated for whatever they do.
We have heard that Mira has been getting acting offers. Also, the talk is that Mira and Misha have been getting advertisement offers. Would you be game for it?
It’s not my decision what Mira does, it’s completely hers. I read something about Mira, so far Misha has not been offered any work and I am happy about that as she is just nine months old. As far as Mira is concerned, she will do what she feels like doing. I don’t need to interfere. She is her own person and takes her own decisions. Whatever she decides to do, I will be supportive and happy.
On the personal front, how has life changed post marriage and fatherhood?
From taking any decisions or even the way I live my life, everything has changed completely. I don’t think for myself first anymore. I don’t think it’s possible for any man to think first of himself once he has a child and a family. The natural instinct is to think for them first and that itself brings about a huge change in everything.
A few days back, stories suggested that your brother, Ishaan, ‘threw tantrums’ on the sets of his first film. What advice would you give him?
I would say Ishaan is used to it. After all, he has been seeing me do it for 14 years. But I can be the last person to advise him. My brother and my wife don’t want my advice (laughs) and my child is too young to give advice to, so maine advice apne paas hi rakha hai (I have kept my advices to myself). But this is a part of the job. If people are talking about him and his [film] debut with him getting so much attention, it needs to be realised that things aren’t always going to be positive. There will be negative stories too and with time, Ishaan has to prove himself; I am sure he will.
How do you look back at the times gone by after 14 years in B-Town?
My choices have been good as well as bad. Sometimes, they’ve been terrible and sometimes really good. After 14 years, if I am getting to do good films, working with quality film-makers, and also backing myself to do the films that I want to do, so it’s a great place to be in.
Even others, such as the Khans, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn have had a long stint as actors…
It’s heartening to see that the biggest superstars of the country are in their 50s and are yet loved and appreciated. Age has made no difference to their popularity. It makes you believe that there’s an opportunity for you too to have a long-standing career. I am 36 today but I have another 20 years of work ahead of me, which makes me feel that even though I have spent 14 years, there is still so much time and so much that needs to be done.
Given a choice, would you want to change anything that you did in the past 14 years?
Yes, most of the things (smiles). If I had to recreate things, I would probably redo 80 per cent of the things completely differently. To begin with, I think I was extremely uninformed, also little emotional and not very pragmatic about my choices. I also think I focused too much on doing a good job, but I didn’t focus enough on being a good person. I was very absorbed with the art, so I was focusing on what’s happening between action and cut. That’s important because maybe that’s why people liked my work, and I got more opportunities.
But it’s equally important to know what’s happening behind the camera or what’s happening apart from action and cut. A long-standing career can only be made when that part of your personality is appreciated or liked and you do the right thing. Who you are as a person or how you deal with people and how you behave is a very large part [of your personality]. And, I don’t think I focused enough on it in the first part of my career.
Has anything else changed about yourself now?
I used to be very shy to tell somebody that I want to work with them. Over the years, I have realised that it’s important to do that, to express yourself and tell people that you are excited about their work and you want to work with them. I wasn’t expressive. It’s something that I have learnt, but I can learn a lot more (laughs). However, it’s more than what I used to be.