‘Respect our privacy’
What is Indian actor Shahid Kapoor’s take on the media intrusion into his romantic liaison with Kareena Kapoor? He says the rule must be ‘give respect and take respect.’ Rajeev Nair met him in Dubai
It has been one media circus of Bollywood standards. A tabloid picks up what is supposed to be an intimate moment from the real life of Indian actors Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. And the whole bandwagon jumps in – some celebrating the rival’s scoop, others with a put-on of morality, bitter at having missed the action and now not wanting to be left out entirely adding, ‘this is the picture that raised a storm.’
Caught in the ugly limelight, the two actors deny the episode, citing that the pictures were ‘morphed.’ The publication stands by its story, and the issue is now taken up by India’s apex court.
Shahid Kapoor, who was in Dubai, before the incident, expects from the media just a little respect. The son of veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor, the 23-year-old has tasted success from the word go. His first film, Ishq Vishq, was a surprise hit; his second Fida, partly shot in Dubai and featuring Kareena Kapoor, did not ignite the turnstiles. Another youth-flick, Dil Maange More is awaiting release.
Excerpts from an interview:
For a 23-year-old, don’t you feel your romance with co-star Kareena Kapoor is way too far ‘celebrated’ by the media?
A certain amount of privacy is important for every relationship to stay normal. I only expect that much (from the media). I understand that there is a curiosity, obviously, around situations like this. I respect the media for that but the media must also respect our relationship and give us more privacy.
You say you are only a beginner in cinema, and young too, just 23. Are you too early or young for a relationship that is somehow the talk of the town from day one?
It is never too early or late for any relationship that is serious. As far as you are serious, and you know what you are getting into, as far as you realise it is about commitment, I am ready to take on that responsibility.
How do you evaluate your cinema career so far?
I have just started off. It is just a beginning. I did a romantic comedy and a thriller – that was two different genres. To come up are Dil Maange More, which is a romantic comedy with three heroines, and Deewane Huye Paagal, again a romantic comedy.
You have often been compared with Shah Rukh Khan. What is your take?
I feel humbled to be compared with such a big superstar. But ultimately every artist finds an identity and people identify with them on their individual level. I guess with only two films I have achieved that.
Why was there so much of a gap between your first two releases?
I was not in a hurry to sign any new projects after Ishq Vishq without being sure of what I am doing. Also, I was very young. I was only 22 and there were hardly any scripts that suited my age. It took time for people to come up scripts that suited my age and looks.
What do you look for in a role?Basically, the script and character must excite me. The genre of the film is not necessarily important. When I hear a script, I should instinctively feel that I must be part of the project.
So you are not insistent on doing solo hero films…?I am lucky that my first film was a solo-hero film and it did well. Naturally, a lot of films that came my way were solo-hero films. But it is the overall project that in fact matters to me.
In your current growth phase, how important is money in the scheme of things?
This is a profession. Every one charges a remuneration that is found fit for both parties. Money is important in that sense but it is not a priority. I am building ground right now. I am stabilizing myself and I have to prove myself in many aspects. The priority, for me, now is good projects.
What is the influence of your father in your career?
He is a great actor; he humbles me every time I see his performance and I feel I have not even begun my journey as an actor. Both my parents are extremely critical about my performance and I think that is very important. With success people around you tend to praise you. Therefore it is important to have people who point out mistakes. My parents humble me, keep me grounded and help me see my mistakes so I can improve.
Were you disappointed when Fida did not work at the box-office?
I think people expected a happy ending for the film. I don’t think the film itself has a problem. My parents liked me better in Fida than in Ishq Vishq but the latter did better. This is a speculative field. A lot of films that you perform well do not do well.
Describe yourself as an actor…
I believe acting is a combination of emotion and technique. One must find the right balance. Sometimes it may take many years to do that. I also think that acting is about recreating spontaneity because actual shooting situations do not permit you to okay in the first shot necessarily. You have to do it over and over again and yet retain the spontaneity of the moment.
Was acting a planned choice for a profession?
I started young and I didn’t know too much of the industry. Though my parents were in the industry, the film world has still been relatively new to me. I don’t know how it all happened. And when people ask me what I would have been doing if I were not an actor, I would say, I would be sitting by the beach wondering why I was born…
That is a bit too philosophical…
It is, it is. Really, I wouldn’t know what I would be doing…
Today, is it tough being a star?
Yes it is. Every one thinks being an actor is a cakewalk when they set out. I thought so too. But it is all too difficult. After achieving whatever little I have, my respect for my seniors and all the stars have gone up…