‘I was depressed when I wasn’t in front of the camera’

Shahid Kapoor has been lying low after his last few films tanked. With the release of Phata Poster Nikla Hero and Rambo Rajkumar,he hopes to reclaim his box office stature. It helps that he’s signed Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hamlet adaptation,Hyder

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published: September 6, 2013 2:13 am

Why just two film appearances in three years?

I am making up for that by having two releases in three months now. . The truth is even I was depressed when I wasn’t in front of the camera. Mausam took a while to complete and then after Teri Meri Kahaani,I was supposed to do Maneesh Sharma’s Shuddh Desi Romance but it was delayed by six months and I had other films lined up. So I opted out of it. But now I’m enjoying being at work.

Phata Poster Nikla Hero is a quirky title but it derives from a classic dialogue of Hero Hiralal.

I love the title and remember the way Naseerji (Naseeruddin Shah) mouths the dialogue in the film. This was perhaps the most filmy lead he ever played. In fact there’s a parallel; he was a rickshaw driver in the film but in his head,he was a hero. My character Vishwas Rao is like that.

What is Vishwas Rao like?

He’s a simple Maharashtrian boy who has been dreaming that he’ll become a hero and his posters will be all over the city. But his mom’s wish is that he becomes an honest cop. So you see him as a cop,but a fake one. He makes these filmy entries,jumps out of posters and delivers cheesy lines. But his agenda is not to fight because he might hurt his face in the process. Ileana D’Cruz’s character is that of social worker who wants to set every wrong thing right. And she catches hold of Vishwas every time she wants to do that. He hates it because he is a fake cop.

Cop characters are a raging trend in the industry at the moment.

It’s a spin-off on a cop that makes this role exciting. We have seen larger-than-life cops who are out there to bash up the baddies. I play a cop who just wants to get out of such situations. He pole dances in the uniform,which is something no other cop has done. But there is a very clear end to the film,something that is also a correct culmination,given the title.

Phata Poster Nikla Hero is action-comedy. How different is it from Rambo Rajkumar (same genre)?

We are trying to release the promo of Rambo Rajkumar with Phata Poster… and you will see they are not similar. This was also my concern. How will I make these two films in the same genre,releasing back-to-back,look different? Rambo Rajkumar has hardcore action and some comedy; but at the core,it’s a love story. I play a mawwali in Prabhu Deva’s world. There is a lot of dancing,one-liners and over-the-top dialogues. Rambo Rajkumar is nothing like Vishwas Rao — the vibe,look and the body language is different. Even though both are masala entertainers,the directors of the film,Prabhu Deva and Rajkumar Santoshi respectively,have different language and style.

But you’ve done an almost-mawwali character in

Kaminey too.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s version of a mawwali is very different from Prabhudheva’s,who likes his heroes rowdy. Playing Charlie in Kaminey was one of my favourite parts. I’ve been asking Vishal to make a sequel of Kaminey; if people can come up with sequels of all kinds of films then Kaminey surely deserves one. Although I wonder if I can do the part again. It requires a certain headspace. Meanwhile,I am glad I’m teaming up with Vishal once again for Hyder,his adaptation of Hamlet.

Your forthcoming films are all mass entertainers. Do you look at them as safe options since your last two films failed at the box-office?

How can I tell that these films will bring me back at all? When I did Jab We Met,Imtiaz Ali was one-film old and I wasn’t even the central character,but it proved to be a turning point. Before Kaminey,I was told Vishal’s cinema is arthouse. It’s been the best film of my life. So I don’t think like that while choosing films. I took up these because when I started doing live shows a few years ago,people liked my spontaneity. Friends started to say that they haven’t seen this side of me and I should try it on the big screen if I enjoy it so much. That’s how Phata Poster. and Rambo Rajkumar happened.

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