God only knows the cacophony that arose at Exhibit headquarters when we roped in the handsome Shahid Kapoor to be the face of our first ever AR cover that allows fans to take a picture with Shaandaar Shahid in the virtual world if not in the real world.
For someone who harvested the Bollywood dream long before fantasy met reality, Shahid Kapoor has done outstandingly well for himself. When he started out right at the threshold of adulthood as he mentions, Shahid Kapoor was all things inexperienced and unaware. His heart-winning debut as the dreamy, lover boy in Ishq Vishq led to a series of roles; some hits and some misses, but one truth sustained – he is unimaginably loved and charming to the extent that we can’t handle. Then came a turning point with Kaminey that signified that SK (like he is fondly called by his team) holds serious grounds as an actor.
Over a career spanning 15 years and many movies in his repertoire, Shahid Kapoor emerges an unabandoned conqueror who, despite a few misses and long-pending recognition, proves that he is in the B-game for the long haul. We shoot with him right when he is knee-deep immersed into Padmavati, a movie he says was tiring but inspiring all at the same time, and his passion for his craft is starkly visible (or rather audible as I take him through my many questions over a hurried yet inexplicably entertaining telephonic interview).
In a free-flowing interview with the gentleman that he is, I discovered certain facts and facets- righting his wrongs and leaping through milestones, the doting father (yes, his fatherly love comes right through the phone too, n’importe quoi), Shahid Kapoor, is truly at a Vantage point and life looks good he points out.
SHAHID KAPOOR – THE MOVIE STAR
SK: Oh, everything! I’m a very different person than what I was at 21 which is when I did Ishq Vishq. I was literally entering adulthood at that time and taking my first few steps on a journey I didn’t know would take me where. I was a complete newcomer, I had no experience and very little understanding. I was all things new and inexperienced. Even though my parents were actors, I lived the first half of my life in Delhi and lived with my mom who was a single parent when I came here. I didn’t have that much exposure into the film industry so it was this huge opportunity in front of me.
I don’t think I was very formed as a personality; about the kind of work I wanted to do. I wasn’t very clear about the ways of the industry or how was everything was supposed to function because the film industry was a cocoon at that time; you cannot gauge what it’s like from the outside and when you enter, it’s a lot to deal with. I was just this guy who always wanted to be an actor and there I was doing this film so it was like living a dream. Today, I’ve been working for 15 years and I’m much more defined as a personality, lot more experienced as an actor, more aware about my strengths and weaknesses, the kind of journey I want to take as an actor, and the experiences I want to take to the audience. So, it’s a very large question but I’ve tried to answer it as well as I could.
Ex: We saw your first look from Padmavati and you looked fab! What was it like working on the film?
SK: It’s a bit premature to start talking about the film because we haven’t started speaking about it. But I’m playing Maharaja Ratan Singh, King of Chittor. I think it’s a great combination of a warrior, a fiercely loving husband and a king. It’s a very heroic, noble and dramatic character; very different from Haider and Udta Punjab which were very grey and intense kind of characters. It’s been a pleasure to work with Mr. Bhansali. I’ve seen his work over the years and been an admirer, and now to get an opportunity to work with him is great. It’s really participating in cinema being shot at its best! To me, it was just the amazing feel of the world that he creates. He made the entire fort of Chittor in Film City so it is stunning to see things like that. It’s a very special story, probably one of his best films. The last 1 year has been completely dedicated to this one film but it’s been a fascinating journey nevertheless. It’s been a very tiring film to do but an inspiring one to do, too. I’m really looking forward to the film coming out on the 1st of December and very excited to see people’s reactions.
Ex: Which is the one film of yours you love the most and regret doing the most?
SK: There are quite a few that I regret doing but I don’t think it’s appropriate to name them. At this point, Padmavati is the most significant film in my career. Maybe if you ask me this question at another time I would feel differently but I’m so into Padmavati right now that it feels like everything in my life comes down to it.
Ex: Name the singular most annoying thing about Bollywood.
SK: There is nothing annoying about Bollywood but the one thing that I find most difficult to manage is finding a personal space and learning to be a public personality because everything is about prioritization. One’s personal life has equal if not more importance than one’s professional life, so to find that balance is definitely a constant struggle.
SHAHID KAPOOR – THE TECH BUFF
SK: Augmented Reality is something new that India is warming up to. Knowing that by shooting this cover I’m allowing everyone to scan and take a picture with me is quite empowering; almost makes you feel like a King!
If you could customise AR on your own, what would you do?
I would customise messages as per the need of the hour…maybe make my movie character pop out of a poster or even give brand communication a whole new level on consumer engagement.
SK: When it comes to movie stars, there are many legends. But I would love to bring back Michael Jackson. Imagine shooting a sequence with him; would be completely out of this world!
SK: As I mentioned, it would primarily be used in the marketing of movies like making the actors come alive on your devices via posters/ads, etc.
SK: My current tech addiction are my various speakers. Music is a big part of my daily life whether I’m working or playing with my daughter.
SK: I can’t wait to get behind the wheels of a Tesla car. An electric car that drives like a supercar would be great to experience.
SK: A jammer that jams people’s camera phones. Nobody wants to even say hello anymore, they just want a picture and build social media currency. I think this tech may reverse the effect and people might want to actually talk, or share an experience with you.
SK: Virtual Reality with an in-depth social media integration.
SK: First phone was Nokia, and now I have an Android and an Apple phone.
Ex: Must have gadget that’s not your phone or laptop.
SK: Boom box.
Ex: What would your self-designed tech pad look like?
SK: Come home sometime. I am enjoying the benefits of home automation thoroughly.
Ex: One app you can’t live without.
SK: WhatsApp. It is key to my daily communication with family, friends, team and fraternity.
Ex: One secret talent.
SK: I don’t have any secret talent! Jo bhi thoda bahot talent tha woh maine dikha diya hai! Mere mein aur kuch talent nahi hai!
SK: I’m still recovering from the hole in the pocket I got from buying the house I’m living in right now, by the sea. In fact, I don’t have a pocket only left, forget the hole.
SHAHID KAPOOR – UP AND CLOSE
SK: I’m a very chilled out person, I don’t have any fears or phobias as such. (pause) My wife, perhaps! (laughs)
SK: Not finding more time to be with the people I love. If there’s one thing I’d want to change is giving more time to the people who matter. A lot of times we end up giving time to things we think are important and later it’s just like, ‘Why was I giving it any importance? It was so unnecessary; it didn’t have any meaning.’
SK: It’s not as simple as it looks, buddy!
SK: The question “What irritates me the most“ is what I think irritates me the most, haha! Just kidding. Before I got married, a lot of people kept asking me when I was getting married and things like that. It used to come from my mom, my dad, from everywhere! But fortunately, now that thing has stopped.
SK: Music, coffee and love for what I do! And the one thing that is an instant energiser is my daughter’s smile! When she looks at me and smiles, it makes my day; I get through the day. There are so many days we’ve been shooting in Film city and so many times I’ve thought about staying in a hotel closer as we know how bad the traffic in the city can get but I’ve never been able to do that. Whatever little time that I get to spend with her in the morning is the time is actually meant to energise me and give me the positivity and energy to go out and do good work. I think she is my energiser bunny!
Ex: Youngsters today need to know?
SK: What I told myself – ‘It isn’t as easy as it looks, buddy!’
Ex: If life has to go your way in the next 10 years, how do you picture it to be?
SK: I don’t view life like that. I think life is great wherever it is. I’m very happy and thankful for whatever I have and wherever life takes me, I’ll learn to be happy. I’m not sitting here thinking – Mereko yeh chahiye, mereko voh chahiye; I don’t think like that anymore. I’ve come to learn that it’s best to allow life to take you where it has to take you and to give it your best. And there’s always something to love, enjoy and be happy about! I just hope life gives me the opportunity to spend time with people who matter, do work that I really believe in and be able to make something out of myself.
Ex: Seeing in hindsight, what would you have done differently in your life?
SK: Oh many, many things! I think I had no idea what I was doing most of the time in the first 10 years of my career. Only sometimes I got it right. I think it was lack of information, lack of people telling you what to do, lack of exposure, all those things. When you’re working your way outside in, when you’re an outsider, when you don’t have any information, people you can learn from, experiences to take from, everything is mostly first at stake. Then you learn from that mistake and then try and get it right the next time. So, all those things; I could’ve been better at many things.
Ex: Winning at relationships – what’s the secret mantra?
SK: Always listen to the woman; they are always right!
Ex: Shahid Kapoor : the movie.
SK: You think you know me but you don’t!
THE REGULAR JOE
SK: I like going to the gym and training even though it’s tiring and demanding. I’m very passionate about it and helps me feel better about myself. You should find something that you enjoy doing, that helps you become fitter. Don’t do something you don’t enjoy.
SK: My days are very irregular. My job and the nature of my reality right now are different everyday. My work spaces, the characters I play and my timings are all different. Right now, I’m 2 years into marriage and 1 year into having a baby so every day is new. There’s something new that happens every day.
SK: The thing with fashion is that it needs to be rediscovered every few years and you need to have a new take on something that you like. Something I don’t like today, 5 years later somebody might do a different version of it and I’ll think it’s really cool! So there are no do’s and don’ts in fashion; it’s just about timing.
Ex: One song you can’t get out of your head at the moment.
SK: I never listen to the same song again! I listen to a lot of beat house and techno and there are too many amazing artists in the world who are creating too many amazing sets. So I have an account on Soundcloud where I follow all the artists and am always listening to new music, almost always!
Ex: One advice you’re thankful you got.
SK: Well, as an actor, the one piece of advice I got from my father was that less is more and it’s better to work inside out than to work outside in which essentially means that learn to feel an emotion before showing it rather than showing an emotion and then trying to feel it. That was some amazing advice I got from him and it has always stayed with me.
Ex: In a parallel universe, Shahid Kapoor would be excelling at?
SK: Hmm…interesting…what would I be excelling at? There are so many thoughts! You know, I’m very bad at time management and I’m not very good with being politically correct. So these are two qualities I’d like to have in a parallel universe because I don’t think in this universe they are going to happen!
Ex: One Movie you can watch again and again.
SK: I love this movie of my dad’s called Jaane bhi do Yaaron! It’s a hilarious movie and every time I catch it, I end up watching the whole movie.
Ex: You’d like to live his/her life for a day.
SK: Nobody! That would mean I don’t have my daughter and my wife. However, I wouldn’t mind swapping my life with my daughter or my wife for a day to see how they view me; whether they view me in a crappy way or if I am really likeable from their point of view.
Ex: That one thing you Googled last you’d be embarrassed we found out.
SK: I don’t think I’m going to tell you that!
Ex: What other project is Shahid Kapoor planning to blow us away with?
SK: We don’t really have a title for the film yet, it’s by the director of the film Toilet : Ek Prem Katha. Everything else about the film needs to be defined but that is what I’m going to do next.
Ex: Any sign-off thoughts?
SK: Watch this space, lots more coming!