A humble Shahid on his upcoming film choices, working with Vishal Bhardwaj a third time, and not letting all the praise coming his way, go to his head
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; March 4, 2017)

Shahid Kapoor’s last film Rangoon was his third outing with director Vishal Bhardwaj after Kaminey and Haider. Once again, the actor was heaped with praise for his performance. Some actors and directors always make magic together. And Vishal and Shahid are living proof of that.

Shahid says, “I see my relationship with Vishal Sir as a special one. We knew that the pressure was high. Also, honestly, I didn’t know how people would react to the film. It’s a different space.”

It is believed that Vishal has given birth to a very different Shahid. He agrees wholeheartedly. He exclaims, “Absolutely! People who want to evolve as actors need to work with directors who can help them discover themselves. Vishal Sir and Imtiaz Ali helped me rediscover myself. When an actor looks back, there will be those eight or 10 performances, which will be definitive in their careers. And to get those performances, you have to work with the correct filmmakers. With Vishal Sir, it happens every time. I really do feel there is something just so right about us, we’re a great fit.”

Ask him how different was his state of mind with the three very different films with Bhardwaj and he says, “When I did Kaminey, I was a little kiddish. It was my first attempt at trying something dramatically different. Then, Haider had me much more grown up and I was more comfortable with Vishal Sir. We bonded quite a lot by the time it got over. Rangoon was a very difficult performance for me because there are a lot of silences. He is a man of few words and that was very challenging.” Shahid doesn’t think the roles have come to him a little late, after over a decade of acting, “I don’t think I would have been able to do it then. I didn’t have the confidence to pull it off five years ago. It takes a certain amount of maturity and self-belief to be able to play a character like that. Maybe, the fact that I did Rangoon, is also because it was the right time to do it.”

He is certainly enjoying himself and wants to attempt every kind of cinema, including the typical masala film, “I don’t want to say that I don’t want to do a certain kind of cinema. I would do anything that appeals to me and I like all genres of films. I don’t know if I would honestly want to do something completely mindless but I would definitely want to do something high on entertainment. If something feels fresh and makes for an interesting watch, I’d love to do it. Why not? And now I think I should really take a break from all the intense stuff. I have done quite a bit of them now!”

And he believes that there is still a lot of him to be explored as an actor, “I feel that I am just starting out as an actor. I have finally started discovering myself. There is a lot more than can be done, can be achieved. What used to work 10 years ago, is not going to work anymore. People have evolved. You have to participate in good content, give people new experiences, you have to rediscover yourself. In the age of instant gratification, you can’t be repetitive. Being an actor, who has worked for 13 years, I have seen how it used to work when it started out. I have seen the transition and I feel the smarter actors will understand this, too. The mindset of the audience is very palpable for changes. You can see some big mainstream actors, too, choosing good, sensible films to do because they can also feel the change. So I’m investing in the future by doing what I’m doing today. We are in the process where the momentum is building. I just feel I’m just following my gut on that.”

He may take his talent for granted, but never his success, “I have never felt that whatever I’ll do will work. I take a lot of pride in giving 200 percent to what I do. I don’t take myself seriously but I take my work very seriously. So for me, I pride myself in the fact that I will do the best that I can. Success and failure will come and go but I am trying to give it my best and I guess I’m becoming better slowly at how to do it. And it’s a long journey. I have zero satisfaction right now. Maybe I have just taken a couple of steps in the right direction and there’s so much more to do. I am very competitive. I have to always keep giving my best to make sure that I end up with a great performance.”

A lot has been said about how he couldn’t get along with Kangana Ranaut during Rangoon and now he is shooting with Deepika Padukone, for the first time in Rangoon. How different are they to work with? “Working with them was very different... It’s difficult to explain but they (Deepika and Kangana) are not similar at all. It’s like chalk and cheese.”