It’s been 15 years since Shahid Kapoor made his debut playing the quintessential boy next door in Ishq Vishk. With a talent for acting that seems to flow in his blood, his versatile looks, legendary dance moves and an undeniable onscreen charm, he continues to add exciting projects to his filmography. With his film Batti Gul Meter Chalu due to release soon, the actor reminisces about the highs and lows of his career.
“I remember telling my mom that I wanted to get into the film industry. She would ask me, ‘If you are unable to make it, then what?’ Though both mom and dad were from the Hindi film industry, they weren’t doing commercial films; there was never a hero in the family. When I auditioned, no one even knew who my parents were. I remember going for innumerable auditions, waiting for that one call, and facing rejection,” Shahid says.
But once that call did come, there was no looking back for him. Talking about how he carved a path for himself in the industry, the actor says, “Mine was a journey of self-discovery. Whatever came my way; I had to make my own decisions. If things worked out, it was a win, and if I fell flat, I had to get up and start afresh. I learned from my mistakes.”
One of the most important lessons he claims to have learnt is that actors need to keep evolving and reinventing themselves. “Doing relevant work will bring you recognition. I always want to do something new, to avoid boring stuff. In the past five years, I don’t think I have repeated any character,” he says.
“I don’t believe in cultivating a particular image. Having consistency in your energy and focussing it in the right direction is more important,” Shahid says, adding that choosing strong scripts has helped him address controversial subjects through his films. “Udta Punjab spoke about drug abuse. The way the story was told left an undying impression on the minds of the audience. My upcoming film, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, is about an issue that the residents of small towns commonly face. Yet, it’s been portrayed in a quirky manner. I am lucky to be getting such different stories, I always try to play my characters truthfully — sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
The actor who’s about to become a father for the second time says that apart from his acting debut, it’s been fatherhood that’s had a defining impact on his life. “As soon as I became a father, the deconstruction of my life began. When I was single, I was so different. When I got married, I had to become sharif (respectable). And when I became a father, I had to lay down all my weapons,” he says.
Meanwhile, his wife is taking her first step in the direction of an acting career. As a good, supportive husband, Shahid says, “Honestly, Mira is free to choose what she wants to do. She wanted to go ahead and do a particular commercial because she felt she could identify with it, and I supported her.”
Going on to extol her virtues, he adds, “Mira has sacrificed a lot. Being married to an actor, she has had to deal with a lot of baggage, and I must confess she has adapted beautifully. She has always supported me, professionally, so whatever she chooses to do, she will have my full support. We may have difference in opinions, but we respect each other a lot.”
Not surprisingly, he’s also gaga about his adorable baby girl. “Misha is a lovely little kid. Though she is just two years old, she has the understanding of a four-year-old. She doesn’t throw any tantrums, especially when I am looking after her,” he says, adding, “I think Misha has a great sense of dance, we started dancing together when she just started standing up!”
Addressing what’s getting to be quite a widely-debated topic these days, the actor says that he’s not in favour of the paparazzi going after shooting celebrities’ children. “It’s not good for their mindset, I feel. When the photographers get so close to them, it’s scary. The kids might get hurt. But since I have chosen this profession, my family has to adapt to all that comes with being a celebrity,” he says.
Over the years, Shahid has been a trailblazer of sorts. Being the first “hero” to emerge from his uber-talented family, he’s paved the way for younger brother Ishaan Khatter, whose first commercial flick, Dhadak, has been declared a success. Says the proud brother, “I am happy that Ishaan has entered filmdom. He is rejoicing the success of his film. Let him enjoy this phase.”