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    Kal Ho Na Ho
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    Aug 2008
    India & Cambodia

    Default 'Naughty' Shahid visits Delhi

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    He came to promote his latest film, but ended up revisiting quite a few old memories.

    When Shahid Kapoor came to Delhi to visit his alma mater and his former residence a few days ago, little did he anticipate such a rush of memories and people. “Such is life,” Shahid said, “It’s humbling. Once, I was one of the thousand students doing morning prayers in this school. But God’s been so kind. Now, I need special permission or security to get me here.”

    At Gyan Bharti Public School in Saket, the actor interacted with students, his teachers and the principal. Shahid, who had moved to Mumbai when he was 10, upon reaching his school, said, “Schooling in Delhi was fun. It was tougher in Mumbai, where I was a bit of an outsider.” By the time we accompanied him to his former house in Press Enclave, the crowd had grown significantly. As soon as Shasha (as he’s called) reached the house he grew up in, neighbours gathered around, each wanting to remind him of the moments they’d shared. One of them told us, “He was so naughty. Once, he put firecrackers in the postbox and blew it up!”

    Shahid’s neighbours, Rohini and Gaurav, also told us similar tales, “We’d play together in the evening and would often end up fighting.” Their mother said, “Arrey... bade shararti the sab. They’d pull each other’s hair too.”

    We also met Mamu, Shahid’s Man Friday. “Mamu is the one who was with me in Delhi, and is now with me in Mumbai,” said Shahid. Mamu has known Shahid since he was a child, and even pointed out the shed in which he used to live outside Shahid’s B-16 apartment. “Maine Shahid ke saath inhi parks mein cricket khela hai,” Mamu said, pointing to the lawns outside the house.

    The Kapoor at number B-16

    On Wednesay, Shahid Kapoor came back to visit the house and school where he spent his formative years. He then revisited the memories with DT that make these places special...

    What do your years in Delhi mean to you?

    This visit was very nostalgic. Delhi’s home. I love the weather here, whether it is summer or winter. Going back to my school, my home was very special. I really enjoyed my schooling in Delhi. In Mumbai, it was a bit tougher for me, because I was a bit of an outsider.

    Is there a kick in coming back as a celebrity alumnus?

    On the contrary, it is very humbling and brings you back to reality. I was one of the thousand students saying their morning prayers here. But God has been so kind. I am now at a point from where you need special permission or security to get me here.

    Somewhere I feel it is too much. I am happy and fortunate to have it. But, it makes me feel good because some of the children there will have dreams and will think if he can do it, I can do it.

    Did you ever get in trouble as a child?

    Once I ran away from school with my friend. Actually, one of my best friends, Sidharth Lakhanpal, asked me to come to his place. His elder sister told the guard yeh mere saath hain... inhe jaane do. But, I forgot to tell my mom. She panicked. I remember, I was sitting in Sidharth’s house playing Lego and my mum reached there. With cops. She had looked everywhere for me. I got whacked that day. She was livid.

    You lived with your maternal grandparents during this time in Delhi?

    Yes. My maternal grandfather walked me to school every day. That was a special memory. His name was Anwar Azeem. I was in love with him; we had the closest bond ever. I used to hold his hand and walk, and he would keep talking to me about life and would give me that bit of gyaan I needed every day. A lot of what I am is because of what he taught me.

    What are you like?

    More mature, perhaps more responsible. I started earning very early on in life, in fact, when I was perhaps 16-years-old. And I used that money to sustain myself, and not on girlfriends. I would occasionally pitch in with the household expenditure and say, ‘Mum, I’ll pay the electricity bill this month.’ She would swell with pride.

    From a loving partner in Vivah to a petty criminal in Kaminey and a teacher in Paathshaala, your roles have been diverse. Do you look for similarities between yourself and the characters you play?

    As an actor, it’s very difficult to find a role that you can identify with. I identify with the process and all the roles that I have done have a certain part of me. Possibly, there is a Prem (Vivah), a kamina (Kaminey) and a Aditya Kashyap (Jab We Met) in me. I try to bring out facets that are deep down as part of my personality, in my roles.

    For which character did you have to dig deepest within yourself?

    Charlie from Kaminey, undoubtedly.

    Lately, you seem to have let go of certain boundaries around yourself and are now addressing people and questions...
    I have heard that a lot. I take time to open up ya. How I am with my friends is something very few know. Now, I am quite chilled out with the media too. Earlier, post my break-up, too much was being written about me and I felt the need to hold on to whatever little I had. But, I have an equation with people now, and I am willing to open up more. But then, there will be a certain part I want to hold on to.

    People are always curious about you, especially your private life
    They always want to know that! It’s mixed emotion; somewhere it feels a little nice that people are so curious about you. They want to know about you. But like I said, there are some things that are private, that you want to hold on to. When I find someone I want to spend my life with, I’ll come out and talk about it. I will make a public announcement. But, let me reach there, and there’s time for that.

    What makes you so popular with girls?

    You know, there’s a rule with women and I cannot understand why it is like that. The more you run away from them, the more they are interested in you. The more interest you show in them, the more they throw tantrums and behave like oh-we-are-not-interested-in-you. It’s really unbelievable. It’s amazing why. It’s a weird irony that exists in every woman. I can’t figure out why.

    Did you learn this by experience or are these someone’s wise words?
    I’ve learnt it the hard way yaar. I gave so much importance to my girlfriends and I got ignored completely. And now that I don’t give any importance, I get much more importance.

    You started in Bollywood as a background dancer in movies like Dil Toh Paagal Hai and Taal?
    Yes. It’s been a long journey. At that time, I was completely enjoying myself, not really thinking about life.

    But you knew you had to be an actor..
    What happens is... it is a very far off dream that you don’t believe will actually come true. You actually think yeh mujhe karna hai, but somewhere at the back of your head you are like, but how. These things don’t happen. But for me, it happened. I am living my dream.

    It came true, but always, in the midst of controversies. It was reported that you trouble your directors and recently also refused your mother’s film
    I now don’t give importance to things that don’t deserve it. Because people are gonna talk and you can’t do anything about it. People who matter know what’s happening and that’s important. I focus on people who matter. I am answerable to them and not to everybody.

    How has Bollywood treated you?
    Bollywood is home for me now. It’s wrong to say that it’s family for me, from a personal level. But it’s my family, professionally. Also, I’ve learnt that it’s all about consistency and keeping your head in the right place and focusing on your work. Because, eventually, all the frills that come with it are only because of the work you do. That’s what you need to focus on. Everything else is a distraction.

    Does not being able to live a normal life bother you?
    Yes. The first time I had to go to an awards ceremony, I went to Lokhandwala in Mumbai to buy clothes. At that time I had just started off. Not everybody knew me.

    Now, it’s difficult and sometimes you do wish that you just go out there and go to a place and maybe talk a walk. I want to feel normal at times, because it is important to.

    Any ‘normal’, short-term desires at the moment?
    I’ve been wanting to get a bigger place for myself. The other short term desire is to have food. Dilli ka khana bahut amazing hota hai.

    Shahid’s padosans
    As soon as Shahid reached his locality, all the ladies from the neighbourhood surrounded him. One of his neighbours told us, “He was shy, but fun with his own group of friends. Bahut cricket khelta tha, Mamu ko le ja ke hamesha bowling karwata tha.” Mamu is Shahid’s Man Friday.
    Even as a teenager, Shahid new that he wanted to be an actor. Here, we see him with his grandparents. He says, “Even as a gawky 15-year-old, I knew ki mujhe hero banna hai. I now look at the pic and think – yaar, did this guy never see a mirror?”



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