Updated: April 21, 2022 1:52:06 pm
Two of Shahid Kapoor’s consecutive releases have followed the same format — remakes of hit Telugu films, adapted to a different sensibility but retaining the same directors and ethos. As Jersey finally releases — the film has seen multiple delays — is he feeling the pressure? The actor said he was really under pressure during Kabir Singh as it was the first time he was remaking a south Indian blockbuster. “When you are trying something for the first time, you don’t know how it’ll go. So, a lot of confidence and reassurance (came in) after Kabir Singh,” Shahid told indanexpress.com.
The actor added that back then, the team took “a lot of decisions” that worked for them, claiming that Kabir Singh taught him how to adapt the subject correctly and understand the milieu to set the story. “Even if you’re playing the same character, how do you maintain certain nuances and make it your own, give it a fresh take…”
Shahid is now ready with Jersey, another remake of a Telugu film. The original was directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, who’s also helmed the Bollywood version. Starring Nani, it released in 2019, and won two National Awards. “I was more assured when I was doing Jersey, more confident this time. I was a little unsure the last time (Kabir Singh),” Shahid said.
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Jersey revolves around a failed cricketer played by Shahid, who is on a mission to fulfil his son’s dream of seeing him wear the Indian jersey and play for the team. The Hindi remake also stars Mrunal Thakur as Shahid’s onscreen love interest and his real-life father, Pankaj Kapur as his coach.
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Asserting that apart from sports, Jersey is also a heartwarming tale of a father-son bond, Shahid said now that he himself is a father of two kids – 6-year-old daughter Misha and 4-year-old son Zain, he had more information and understanding of his character.
“I had lot more experiences that I could draw on. That was very helpful. You understand that after you become a parent, small happiness of your child becomes so big. That made all the moments in this film very special to me. Maybe I could see more in the moment than what’s there on paper because I could draw parallel from my own life,” the actor shared candidly.
And how was it having his own father in front of him? For Shahid, picking roles like Kabir Singh and Jersey give him enough “performance pressure”, and then to top it all, having an icon like Pankaj Kapur is a privilege.
“Roles like Arjun and Kabir are so challenging, and there’s pressure of not letting the original film down. Then there’s your dad. So there was a lot to deal with. But having him in all those scenes helped tremendously. You end up giving it your best as an actor. It’s always amazing to learn from him.”
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Shahid Kapoor plays a cricketer onscreen for the first time. He said approaching the sport to look like a professional was the main challenge. “You need to understand it from the basics. Playing in gully and school is different.” The actor worked on his footwork, body language et al to bring authenticity.
He said, “Gowtam (director) was very good in creating a screenplay for the matches so that it doesn’t look boring. And that requires a lot of skill. So I was pretty impressed about how he builds that experience where you’ve watched enough cricket, like a match but don’t feel bored or stretched.”
Jersey happens to be Shahid Kapoor’s first release in three years, post Kabir Singh. The much awaited film, however became victim of several delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the respective shutting down of cinema halls. After getting postponed in December 2021, it recently moved its date to another week. Though the makers cited no reason for the decision, reports said it was meant to avert a clash with KGF 2 and Beast, even as RRR continues to create mayhem at the box office.
Shahid said the uncertainty of business owing to the pandemic has made him grateful that Jersey will finally have a theatrical release on April 22. He also lauded the team for making it “just like it needed to be made.”
“There was no boss on set. The maturity and purity with which we approached the film, I understood in the beginning itself that it is a great team. I have a lot of love for a lot of decisions that happened on set. From everything I’ve done till now, this was my favourite filmmaking experience,” Shahid said.
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