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  1. #1
    Kal Ho Na Ho
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Default They called me a broom: Shahid

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    Verge' can be a very ambiguous word and when used in connection with an actor's career as in 'on the verge of superstardom' even more so. But
    that's exactly where Shahid Kapoor is now perched, still garnering accolades for Jab We Met (2007) and Kaminey (2009) while being dismissed for Dil Bole Haddipa (2009) and Chance pe Dance (2010).

    Shahid's career has always been a roller coaster ride with huge highs and dismal lows. If he debuted with the successful campus film Ishq Vishk (2003) in which he neglected true love (Amrita Rao) while he chased the canteen hottie (Shenaz Treasurywala), he had to wait three long years till he saw success again with the home-grown Vivah (2006) after a spate of films that can be summed up in one line: Every director made Shahid look and behave like a younger Shah Rukh Khan.

    Shahid remembers the bleak period, “The new year had just begun and I was shooting for Vivah. Two films of mine had released that month and both hadn't done well. I was really upset by that. I was by myself on the set and I remember being suddenly hit by self-doubt.

    Then I gave my shot, and Surajji (Barjatya) really liked it and without knowing what I was thinking, he said, 'Shahid, whatever might have happened, if you know how to act, at the right time you will find what you need to find.' I badly needed to hear that at that time. It just boosted my self-confidence.”

    While the tide turned for Shahid with Vivah, it was really in 2007 when Jab We Met released that he came into his own. Paired with his then girlfriend Kareena Kapoor, he brought such romanticism to his role that he stole every girl's heart even as he lost Kareena's in a much-publicised break-up.

    It is this romanticism that has been Shahid's calling card. Even in the terrible Dil Bole Haddipa it is the scene in which he courts Rani with his eyes that stays with you long after you have left the cinema hall.

    And while actors can't necessarily be the roles they play it is rather disappointing to know that Shahid is not just shy, he has no pick-up lines and has not initiated any of his three affairs.

    To begin, with he says that 80 per cent of his affairs that the media reports is mis-reporting and adds, 'Either you connect with somebody or you don't and sometimes that connection is more than as just friends and it turns into a relationship.”

    He misses not being in a relationship today because he likes the positives that come with the feeling of being settled but currently he is totally focused on his career and taking it to the next level. “I don't really have a dream because I'm living my dream of being an actor. As for nightmares, they are the usual ones like films not doing well or not getting the recognition and appreciation that one has got used to.”

    Like most accomplished actors worldwide, Shahid will go to great lengths to change his body type if a script demands a change, as he did when he beefed up for Kaminey or as he is currently going lean for his father's film Mausam which starts in a couple of months.

    But how does he adjust mentally to a role or how much of Shahid does he take to a role. “Not to the role as much as to the film,” he says. “I try and give myself completely to every film that I do with regard to the promotions or how I am every day on the set.

    I try and become the character which doesn't happen every day because you don't get characters that need you to do that everyday. But it is also necessary to find balance, to know when you need to take yourself so seriously and when not. There is nothing as silly as taking yourself too seriously for a film that doesn't deserve it.”

    While how much he takes to a role can be controlled by him, how much a role shapes him is something he can't, he admits. “It's strange. Sometimes there is a grain in a character that you connect with, that grows, you enhance it and it becomes a part of you. But I don't think it's very healthy and I try to avoid that happening.

    And yet, I bought my bike when I was playing Charlie (Kaminey), so it's almost as if I had that slight wild edge which I discovered when I was playing the role. Not that I have any intention of giving it up; I love my bike and I am very happy riding it but the change is sometimes so subtle you recognise it only after it happens.”

    Shahid's first film memory dates back to when he was around five years old and his father Pankaj Kapur's detective serial Karamchand, in which he munched on carrots, was on-air and they had gone to a popular eatery in Delhi. “Suddenly we were surrounded by fans with carrots in their hand who insisted he eat them. It was very scary and we rushed out to look for public transport to take us to our car which was parked some distance away,” he remembers.

    His father remains his one-point reference for acting genius. “Whenever I am feeling a bit too good about myself I revisit dad's work and then I realise that 'aare yaar abhi bahut kam karna hai'. I am in awe of him in many ways.

    At 28, Shahid is slowly settling into the look he will always have. Finally 'cute' has been replaced by 'good-looking'. Gone is the scrawny boy ('they called me broom') to be replaced by an attractive man. When did he become aware of it? “I am still discovering it.

    There are days when I feel I am good looking, and days when I feel I am not. I think that has lot of do with expectation. Mine and other's. I feel responsible, and therefore the need to live up to this expectation which I believe is there.”

    He elaborates, “I believe that love is a much larger and stronger emotion than respect. When somebody loves you, they forgive you for your mistakes. That's what I want. I don't mind making mistakes, but I hope that one day the audience will love me enough to forgive me for them.

    And when that happens all you need to do is give it your best shot, and let the audience decide how much they appreciate you or like you. But if they truly love you, they will forgive you. You can't define it; there is no logic to it. That is super-stardom.”

    Is he ready for it? Does he have the ruthlessness needed to retain super-stardom? “I don't think you need ruthlessness, I think you need to be professional and dispassionate when it comes to your work. You need to understand where you have gone wrong and how you can improve.

    And I have the ability to be dispassionate to a point about my work. What is really important for me is to make the right choices now. It's very important to not take myself too seriously and yet to not underestimate myself. Beyond that I'm ready to do whatever is required and to then leave it to destiny.”



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