Shahid Kapoor is more on the news for his extra-cinematic engagements than for his cinematic repertoire. But he begs to differ. Bubbling over with enthusiasm over his first cinematic interaction with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Phata Poster Nikla Hero, he holds forth on his upcoming films.
How close or different are you from Vishwas Rao, the character you played in Phata Poster Nikla Hero?
The film is about a young man called Vishwas Rao, who once lived in a dream world fantasising that one day, his face would spread right across the city and the state on huge posters and billboards. It is a world of dreams he lives in. If you want to know how close or distant the character is from the flesh-and-blood Shahid Kapoor, I have to say that for any actor, taking on any film is like dreaming in your sleep and when it is morning and you wake up from that sleep, you realise that you were dreaming and this real world is different. Sometimes, some common elements may be there between the dream world and the real world. But more often, there aren’t any.
Why do we hear more about your off-screen relationships than your on-screen work?
I do not agree because then you would not be asking me about my forthcoming films. You would be asking me about my off-screen relationships. I have time on my hands. I can afford to sit back and really enjoy the work I am doing. If I play my cards right and make the right choice of films, banners, directors and roles, I should not have any problems. So far as off-screen relationships go, I feel it is the media that spreads it around, not actors.
What attracted you to Raj Kumar Santoshi?
I have been a great fan of Raj Kumar Santoshi since I was a boy. I have not missed a single film of his. I am especially fond of his sense of humour as his films show. He did not give me a script. He only gave me a narration. He can show how exactly to act — facial expression and body language, style, everything. He has given me a completely different look in this film. It was great fun just listening to the script. I kept laughing all through.
Do you dream of portraying the characters your father Pankaj Kapoor has played over his long career?
This is a very difficult question to answer. The way my father has shaped his acting commitments, the manner in which he has essayed each character is not something I should be asked to compare with at this point in my career. I am not sure whether I will be able to justify myself in the kind of characters he has done. It needs some deep thinking. Directors and producers I work with have not yet conceived of putting me in the characters that are similar to the characters my father has played. There is a lot of time for that, if ever it comes. I wish I were half as focussed as he is.
What about Milan Talkies?
Ekta is producing Milan Talkies and it is being directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. It is Tigmanshu’s first collaboration with Balaji Motion Pictures. Though it is basically a love story, it falls back on a young man from Uttar Pradesh, who gets involved in the duplication racket of pirating feature films in a small-town cinema hall he is employed in. He shoots the film on his video-cam to create video duplicates for the underground market. The film explores how the two young people in love will be able to sustain their love story within this volatile environment.
You have been paired with Sonakshi Sinha for Prabhudeva’s Rambo Rajkumar. What is the film all about?
This is my first film under the directorial baton of Prabhudeva. It is the first film pairing me with Sonakshi. It is Prabhudeva’s original film not copied from any Southern hit. It is wonderful working with Sonakshi who has created quite a stir at the beginning of her career. She is a true-blooded, committed artiste and there are no two ways of looking at her. It is an action film packed with music and masala. I have a lot of action scenes. Some schedules were shot in Bhuj in Gujarat and some in Satara district in Maharashtra in Wai. Sonakshi taught me a lot about how to dress and what to wear when and so on.
What do you enjoy more — the working world or the extra-cinematic world?
I take it as it comes. I am not fiercely ambitious and I believe in walking along a path that is being created as I walk along. I will face life as and when conflicts occur or work comes along. My definition of success might not be to run to the finishing post in this rat-race of having more roles in more films.