Shahid Kapoor on he and wife Mira Rajput becoming parents again: We are lucky to have second one so soon
Shahid Kapoor says the current phase of his career is a very ‘significant one’ because it will define his journey as an actor in Bollywood. He also speaks about wife Mira Rajput and his family.Updated: Aug 23, 2018, 12:34 IST
In his 15-year-long career, he has seen some shades of great success alongside the lows. In fact, Shahid Kapoor has had a tryst with characters and films of various kinds. But the glint of excitement in his eyes is unmissable when he talks about his craft and hunger as an actor. “If you ask me, right now, I am very curious to see how people respond to Batti Gul Meter Chalu (BGMC),” says Shahid about the Shree Narayan Singh-directed film, adding, “The movie deals with the issue of very high electricity bills and how the common man has nowhere to go and fight it out. It also revolves around massive power cuts in rural areas where they are still to have even a single bulb. But electricity is a fundamental human right.” Herein, he opens up about life, career, his family and more.
This is your 15th year in the industry. Are you now comfortable with the craft?
Let me put it this way: I am not afraid to try something different but having said that, there is a lot of anxiety and nervousness in attempting a new role. You always think, ‘jo pichli baar dekha tha, woh toh accha lag gaya lekin agar yeh nahi accha laga toh phir?’ or ‘yeh main nahi kar paaya toh?’. So, that fear is always there but you also know that since I have done this [taking on fresh parts] a few times, I should know the drill but that comes with time. The more you attempt different things, the more you feel like you can back yourself. I just focus on the process and, more importantly, if I get excited by something, then I just go out there and do it.
As an actor, do you think this phase is very important in your career?
Every actor, who has worked for 10-12 years, has to go through this phase. This period is a very significant one as it kind of defines your longer journey. In the first 8-10 years, there is a certain fresh energy that you come with but after 10-12 years of work, audiences’ mindset towards an actor as well as expectations change. Also, you need to find the drive that will keep you going for 25-30 years. And if you want to last that long, you have to realign your thoughts and restructure the direction in which you are heading. You have to have a wider perspective towards things. I have been doing this for 15 years and the only thing that I focus on is growth – both creatively as well as commercially.
Do you feel great about being part of films such as BGMC that talk about real issues?
I think in that sense, I have been very lucky. I have been part of two such films in the past. Haider (2014) was about the human rights issue in areas which are under distress, while Udta Punjab (2016) dealt with the drug problem. Since those issues were slightly dark, the two films had a slightly limited range in terms of the number of audiences wanting to go and watch it. But BGMC is a lot more accessible. Also, with Shree Narayan [Singh] sir, the biggest advantage is that he makes very personal films. The same holds true for Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017), which was a love story. So, even if the issue is universal, the narrative is personal and that’s very essential for a film to be able to connect with people.
Now, when you look back, was Padmaavat more challenging or BGMC?
I don’t think we can compare the two films because the journeys have been very different. So, I don’t know. I can’t say which one was tougher. Both have been individually satisfying in their own way.
You have bought a house worth ₹56 crore in Worli. True?
Even I have heard that price (laughs). It’s true that I have looked at a new house and most probably, I will shift in by the end of next year. I need a bigger house now as my current place has just two bedrooms and very soon, Mira and I will have two kids, so I need to move in to a bigger house.
You will soon become a father for the second time. Excited?
Of course! Having a child is the most amazing feeling. And we are fortunate that we are having a second one so soon, so [I am] feel happy and blessed about that. Family is always a big reason to work even harder. When you come back home to your family [after work], it’s a great feeling.
But now, the responsibility will be doubled…
I don’t think so. It’s just that you have to do whatever is required [as parents]. In fact, I am nervous because I have Batti Gul’s release coming up in September and the baby is due around the same time. That’s why I have to dedicate my time correctly to both the things and hopefully I will be able to manage it well.
After your daughter, Misha, you and Mira Rajput Kapoor would have had a lot of experience with regards to parenting by now?
Har baccha apni kismet leke aata hai. Now, we will have two to deal with so that’s an added responsibility. Till now, we have been parents to only one child but from hereon, it will be about balancing [time and effort]. Mira and I are very excited to discover that journey.
Your new film, Batti Gul Meter Chalu comes after a blockbuster, Padmaavat. Any anxiety or pressure vis-à-vis audiences’ expectations?
Deciding to do a film like Batti Gul Meter Chalu (BGMC) after Padmaavat was a deliberate choice as I wanted to take up a film which has a wider appeal and something that could reach a wider audience. That’s when BGMC came my way and it offered me a very different character, so things kind of just fell into place. I have a feeling that it’s a very honest film, and is meant for the mass of this country. But I don’t mean that it’s just a ‘massy’ film as it’s intelligent too. BGMC deals with an issue, which is very real for every common man of this country. It has been made with a lot of love and honesty, and is also very entertaining.
Today, do you feel more confident about experimenting with different kinds of films?
Honestly, I feel like I am ready for most things today. Maybe earlier, I wouldn’t have been prepared to play so many varied roles but I think in the last four to five years, I have done it [taken up myriad parts] enough to feel that I can back myself. So, I am like, ‘let’s take on this new challenge or let’s jump into this new ‘risky’ proposition’. It’s not necessary that people will like you in whatever you do. But modern cinema, as well as audiences, want actors to go out there and do something which is out of their comfort zone to surprise them. So, you have to take those risks.
Personally, do you like yourself more in the Udta Punjab (2016) zone or in the Jab We Met (2007) kind of world?
I honestly don’t want to limit myself because eventually, only films do well. And when a certain type of movie has done well a few times, people tend to feel, ‘oh, this is what he enjoys, but aisa kuch bhi nahi hota hai.’ Good films will always stick and interesting, fresh characters will always be remembered. So, I remember Dilip [Kumar] saab as much for Devdas (1955) as for Ganga Jumna (1961) and Ram Aur Shyam (1967). So I think an actor’s arc should be full of different things. Also, you have to learn and become good at different things. If you don’t try, how will you know?
Many actors are often heard saying that they never take pressure vis-à-vis commerce. Do you also feel the same?
Forget commercial pressure, koi pressure hi nahi leta – in itself – is a lie (laughs). Pressure is always there, but you, of course, need to learn how to deal with it.
So, commercial pressure is a reality for actors too…
See, if you think as a businessman, you have to maximise every opportunity you get. Everyone wants to make their film reach out to as many people as they can, without taking away from the honesty or purity of the journey. But you need to be honest with yourself – and it’s extremely important – about what is the scope of the film that you are doing. Har picture se sab kuch tod-phod nahi ho jaati. You should know why you are doing a particular film. So, my reasons to do Udta Punjab were different from why I did Padmaavat and why I am a part of Batti Gul Meter Chalu, and now Arjun Reddy. Numbers are an eventuality, which you can’t control but you can control your choices.
In your 15th year as an actor, how do you see your next five years or so?
Honestly, I am too occupied with what I am doing right now, and there are just too many things I need to tend to. I have a wife and will have another kid very soon. So there is a home front, which requires a lot of attention and plus, I have back-to-back films coming up. There is enough going on [right now] that I need to focus on, so I am not thinking too far ahead. I am like, ‘let’s get right jo abhi hai.’ Life unfolds in funny ways, and so you don’t need to think very far ahead.
Your brother, Ishaan Khatter has entered Bollywood now with the hit, Dhadak. How do you see him as an actor?
I think Ishaan has done very well despite the fact he is just two films old (Dhadak and Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds. He was very good in both his movies and both the characters as well. In fact, that’s what I was always worried about because I knew chance toh milega because nazar mein hai. I am very happy and I hope that he keeps his focus because he has a lot of potential as an actor.
Ishaan recently told us that you have been ‘the strongest male influence’ in his life…
You know, I was 14 when he was born so by the time he was four to five years old, I was 20 and independent by then. At 21, I started working so I’ve always had a very paternal feeling towards him and not the typical siblings’ emotions. I vividly remember that he used to come to the sets even when he was three or four years old, so he has literally tailed me around (laughs). Ishaan was always a jumpy kid, bouncing around.
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