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Screen Exclusive: Shahid Kapoor on experimenting with other genres in the future

Shahid Kapoor is excited to present his daredevil side to the audience with 'R...Rajkumar'.

Shahid Kapoor is excited to present his daredevil side to the audience with R…Rajkumar and maintains that he is keen on experimenting with other genres in the future

I personally believe that my chemistry with Sonakshi (Sinha) has been the best compared to other actresses that I have worked with in the past. She is a graceful performer and has proved her mettle as an actress in several films. Her attitude on the sets was extremely chilled out and that is why we hit it off on the first day of shoot itself.

If my director wants me to do something for a role,then I can’t say no — be it gaining muscle weight,going grunge or bald. Yes,the audience will see me in a bald avatar (in Haider) as well as sporting a crew-cut hair style. I prepared myself for it when I met Vishal (Bhardwaj) sir five months ago. It is his adaptation and he will make sure that his actors are presented in a certain way.

Shahid Kapoor exudes charm,a fact that does not go unnoticed when you see him seated comfortably on a white couch at the open air patio of the Eros International office. Dressed in a comfortable pair of denims,a dull blue tee paired with a white shirt,trainers and a leather strap monochrome watch on his right hand,the actor was busy pulling people’s leg and keeping an eye on his favourite coffee tumbler. Despite travelling to various cities for promotional activities of his upcoming film R… Rajkumar and shooting in the breezy,cold weather of Kashmir for Haider,his infectious smile stays on. While his portrayal of Vishwas Rao was appreciated by both the critics and audience deeming it as one of his best performances till date,Phata Poster Nikhla Hero failed to make the cut. Kapoor,however,clearly seems to have moved on from the debacle,as he marks his foray into a new genre —action; it clearly indicates that there is more to him than what meets the eye. The actor hugged a cushion and was all ears,as we settled down to talk about his upcoming films,love for dance,cinema and more.

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How would you describe your character in the film R… Rajkumar and how different is it from what you have done in the past?

I will be seen in a mawaliavatar for the first time,something that the audience hasn’t seen me doing before. I think I have played pretty decent characters in all my love stories in the past (laughs) and Rajkumar is a not-so-decent,edgy and action packed lover boy,who falls in love with Chanda (played by Sonakshi Sinha). His body language — the way he walks,talks and romances the girl — is rough around the edges. He may not be the perfect guy around,but Rajkumar is extremely endearing. This is Prabhu Dheva’s version of a love story,with the perfect touch of spice,madness,rowdiness and more.

What made you give a nod to this film over other scripts that you were reading at the same time?

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The most important thing about this script was that it offered me something that I have never done before. It’s a completely new world for me. I have always said that I feel the most comfortable when I am uncomfortable about the role that I have been offered. I don’t like doing anything that keeps in me in a comfort zone. I read this quote by Leonardo DiCaprio once,where he said,“If I read a script for the first time and I can understand how I want to play the character,I don’t do that film. Because that means the film is in my comfort zone.” I think that’s a fantastic approach. I am a fan of Prabhu sir’s masala-action films and he met me couple of months before the release of Rowdy Rathore. After reading the script,I didn’t have to think much,because I loved it. Besides,if it’s an action film and is being directed by Prabhu Dheva,why would anyone let it go?

According to Prabhu Dheva,this film has made you the youngest action hero of the industry. Have you gone the daredevil way with the stunts?

You will see me flying in the air,with one leg hanging on one side and the other,kicking some goons. I have to admit that it was tiring,because we used to shoot for close to 12 – 13 hours a day in Satara; our location used to be more than an hour away from where we were put up. The temperatures would reach close to 46 degrees. I ended up injuring myself on the first day of both the crucial action sequences that were filmed at Satara and Mumbai. Be it injuring the hamstring muscle or breaking the bone of my toe,I’ve been through it all. A physiotherapist was constantly around to make sure that I stretch well and take care of the sprains. But despite all this,I was very excited about beating up goons and the way all our actions sequences were turning out. I haven’t used a body double for any stunt. All the maar maar maar was great fun.

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Every artiste dreams of matching steps with Prabhu Dheva and you got the opportunity to do that in R… Rajkumar. How was it dancing with him?

Oh god! Nervous,jitters,butterflies,tension — you name it and it was all happening. I was really nervous because he is just so good! I look up to him. When it comes to dance,he is extremely talented and a genius. Imagine doing the steps choreographed by Prabhu Dheva and then sharing the screen space and dance floor with him. When he first showed me the floor-work that you see us doing together in Gandi baat,I thought he was joking. I told him that it’s impossible for me to do that. He casually looked at me and said : “Ho gaya? Now go practice.” Prabhu sir has really pushed me to work hard and do things that I haven’t tried. A lot of pain and sweat went into every shot,so much that I ended up breaking a lot of body parts. I think my dance sequence with Prabhu sir was the best shot of the film. He made sure that I keep giving retakes and rehearse my steps time and again to ace my moves. After every take,I would look at him for a remark and he would casually say: “Hmm… Okay! Do it again.” He never believed in showering any kind of praise and I think that helped.

Your brother,Ishaan,is known to be a dance lover too. Did he pay a visit on the sets to see the two of you dancing together?

Ishaan loves dancing and he came to meet me when we were shooting for Gandi baat. I was busy rehearsing my part,when I suddenly noticed Prabhu sir teaching the signature step and a few other moves to someone else. On a closer look,I realised that it was Ishaan. He went on to teach him the dance steps of the entire song for a good half an hour and I just stood there,with a big smile on my face. For me,it was a proud moment to see ‘The Prabhu Dheva’ teaching dance to my younger brother. That has been by far the most memorable moment for me as an elder brother.

Though not many were sure about your pairing with Sonakshi (Sinha),the chemistry between both of you is being appreciated.

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I personally believe that my chemistry with Sonakshi has been the best compared to other actresses that I have worked with in the past. She is a graceful performer and has proved her mettle as an actress in several films. Her attitude on the sets was extremely chilled out and that is why we hit it off on the first day of shoot itself.

Is there any quality of your character Rajkumar that you would like to adapt?

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(Laughs) In the film,Chanda has a habit of slapping Rajkumar whenever she is angry and in return,I kiss her hand while making a funny sound from my mouth. Even while observing her in the market or on the road,Rajkumar passes on a similar kiss in the air. Those long air and cheek kisses are fascinating. I would love to do that. You know,everyone was so kicked about those endless kisses that we ended up calling it Thappi,which is a mix of thapad and pappi.

Many believe that this project is going to be a turning point in your career. Personally,how are you looking at things?

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I am just as excited and nervous that I have been for my other films. My dedication towards all my projects has been the same and R… Rajkumar is no different. But I can do with some luck on my side (smiles). I have to admit that I really wish to get lucky with this film. Though I have always been appreciated for my work,this time I want it to work for the makers of this film in the form of revenue as well.

You have teamed up with Vishal Bhardwaj once again after Kaminey. Tell us something about your character in Haider.

It’s too early to talk about the film as we have just finished the first schedule in Kashmir,where it was excruciatingly cold. I have read Hamlet,but this adaptation is Vishal sir’s thought and vision. I play a Kashmiri boy and it was extremely important for me to get the dialect right. We have a local theatre actor who helps me out with the pronunciation. Vishal sir is known for taking every little detail into consideration,and he is not leaving any stone unturned for this project. I am both nervous and scared,because this is an extremely challenging role.

You are in love with your hair. How difficult is it going to be for you to go bald in Haider?

(He laughs while running his hand through his hair) If my director wants me to do something for a role,then I can’t say no — be it gaining muscle weight,going grunge or bald. Yes,the audience will see me in a bald avatar as well as sporting a crew-cut hair style. I prepared myself for it when I met Vishal sir five months ago. It is his adaptation and he will make sure that his actors are presented in a certain way. Well,I have to say that I love my hair,but I am an actor and giving my 100 per cent to a role is always a priority. My hair will come back again anyway (smiles).

You often break into a jig or two when the music starts playing even at press events. Do you miss your days as a dance instructor?

Of course,I do. As an instructor with Shiamak Davar’s institute (SDIPA),I could do what I love to do the entire day. I used to spend hours in the rehearsal hall to improve my dance moves. After you become a professional,you don’t really get the time to work on yourself over and over again as you have plenty of things to focus on. Back then,there were days when we used to just work on choreography,not necessarily for a specific performance or show. We were purely focusing on our dance because all of us enjoyed the process and loved the art form. When you are in a big group with friends,who have come together for the love of one thing,it’s always amazing. I miss those days. As much as I would love to come back home and do some dance rehearsals,there is very little time. The only time I see myself dancing without any inhibitions is when I go out partying with my boys.

Compared to the time when you were an instructor,do you think dancers have more opportunities today?

I think the opportunities are growing,but the real art form is somehow dying. Our Indian dance forms are dying a slow death,while a majority of people are busy adapting to westernised dance forms. I remember telling Prabhu sir that he should open an institute soon,because once he stops choreographing,there will be no one to carry those skills forward to future generations; his unique style will die. It’s nice to see that there are so many people who appreciate dancing and love the art form,but I would also like to see people adapting the desi dance forms,which we should not let go. We have some fascinating folk styles, which are totally watchable.

In the past,you have mentioned that love for cinema is something that runs within the entire family. Which was the last film that you watched?

Cinema is an integral part of my life. Sadly,I don’t really get the time to watch films every week. The last film I saw and really liked was Ron Howard’s Rush,starring Chris Hemsworth. I was blown away by the fantastic screenplay and presentation. I love going to the theatre and I want to catch up on all the films that have released,be it Krrish 3 or … Ram-leela. Before Rush,I saw Chennai Express and really liked it. But the round-the-clock working schedule has not given me enough time to watch films as much as I’d like to.

If acting wasn’t on the cards,what would you have opted for among your other choices — disc jockey,cricketer and dancer?

Wow! I really don’t know. That’s tough for me to choose (thinks). Well,I guess I will be a good disc jockey because there are many brilliant cricketers in this country and we have several talented choreographers. Also,I enjoy dancing alone rather than teaching people. I think there are fewer good DJs in the country right now,so maybe I’ll just get a decent job (laughs). I am just being practical.

With your contemporaries turning producers or donning various hats,will you look for other opportunities as well?

Right now,my only focus is on acting. I would like to experiment with different genres before adding another feather to my hat.

There were reports about you being very keen on doing a remake of the Kannada film,Addhuri. Is that on the cards anytime soon?

I have heard about this rumour and honestly,I don’t have a clue about the film. I haven’t even seen Addhuri,so talking about it makes no sense either. Right now,it’s only Haider that I am shooting for and post the release of R. Rajkumar,I will figure out where life takes me.

Despite the failures in the past,you have always been very optimistic. What is it that keeps you going?

If you love what you do,it gives you enough reason to give your best in everything that you do. I feel extremely thankful to god that I am an actor and I get to do things that I love doing. I understand the amount of luck that you need to get this kind of an opportunity. I never got things served on a platter,with people saying — ‘Yeh lo beta,picture karo’. It has been a tough decade in the industry and that’s why I feel fortunate about everything that life has bestowed upon me. The journey has been long and I have craved to be where I am today,but the journey continues to be tough even ahead.

priya.adivarekar@expressindia.com

First published on: 06-12-2013 at 11:29:38 am
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