Cover Story

Shandaar Kapoor

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Cover and cover story photo credit: Rohan Shresta

A Tete-aTete with

Shahid @Shandaar Kapoor

His ‘to-be’ happened after a lot of ‘not-to-be’ moments. Shahid Kapoor has been through it all. With 6.99 K followers at the time of writing this interview, he’s Bollywood’s most endearing star who returned to stardom and glory after a bad phase of films. We know that the Bollywood canvas is sprinkled with stories of underdogs who made it after umpteen tries and those about talented people who are constantly overshadowed by either screen grabbing co-stars or wrong choices of roles. It is when the tide turns towards them and luck is on their side, the story is written with them in focus. Once written off, sympathized with and hunted down with some really severe criticism, Shahid braved it all to come back with a bang and how?

He tells Manju Ramanan why success is sweeter today!

The 2nd Innings
If success eludes you for a while and then comes banging on your door, it is definitely sweeter. I am more shaant (quiet) today and not into extreme reactions. There is a huge sense of satisfaction due to the recognition. I am so looking forward to Shandaar that has two insomniacs in love!

Fighting the Boyish Charm
At one point of time, I looked younger than several of my leading ladies and I had to dress in a certain way to look their age. I am glad today that there are many talented young actresses like Aalia Bhatt or Shraddha Kapoor who look younger than me and look perfectly suited for me. I am so looking forward to Shandaar where I share screen space with my father (Pankaj Kapur).

Background to Centre stage
I started out as a background dancer with Shiamak Davar’s dance troupe and for a larger part of my career my films though recognized were in the background. But I guess I took the scary choice and it worked. Haider was a scary choice of a film. I did it from my heart. If you chart out how selective actors are about their roles, a lot of people ‘advised’ me against it but I followed my heart and am not disheartened at all.

Courage needs Fear!
As actors we all strive to newer possibilities. No creative person wants to repeat himself or herself. There is always an insecurity of being type-cast and thankfully for me people have appreciated the risks I have taken and that motivates me to try newer things yet again. It makes me feel adventurous. In Hollywood you can see there has been a mainstream and hugely popular Tom Cruise and there has been Johnny Depp who is known for his versatile roles. I have recognized that people want me to play different roles.

Fashion and Me
I believe that style is an extension of what you are as a person and as an actor you tend to pay attention to the
way you look and present yourself. But I like the well-tailored suit look.

From Shy to Sociable
I was always very, very shy. That was my issue even before I became an actor. I would stand quietly in a corner of a room, and not talk to too many people. I am myself with very close friends; otherwise I’m socially shy. After I became an actor I realized that people might take that as, ‘oh he’s an actor so he doesn’t want to talk to anybody’. It took me some time to realize that once you become an actor, you need to take responsibility for the fact that people will have apprehensions, people will assume things, people will come with a mindset before they’ve even met you.”

Cinema Today
There is a change in perspective, thanks to filmmakers who have paved the way to make a difference. I have loved the work of Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj etc. Vishalji has given me roles that I always felt were beyond my abilities but I have been fortunate enough to have done them!

Star versus Actor
I don’t find it any different. I used to work hard when I started out and I work hard now. Yes, some of my films were not great choices but I allow myself those mistakes. I realized that I was trying to be someone else. When I came back to myself, a film like Haider happened. It was very fortunate to have happened at the right time in my career. Stardom is a package in this field, yes you have to work towards your acting skills all the time, you don’t have to work on being a star.

Shahid Then and Now
Then: I think I should date a normal girl. I am tired of dating heroines. While I believe in marriage as an institution, I am also petrified of it. Now: Shahid introduced his wife by posting a selfie on Twitter stating