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“I am what I am "

Basking in the glory of the positive response he’s been getting, Shahid Kapoor connects with Vajir Singh from London to share his views on his next release, Mausam and more.

How’s it going in London?

Fantastic. I just started working. (Laughs) 

I heard you are working hard and partying harder.

(Laughs) I was on a three-day break before I started shooting as I had a very hectic time shooting for Mausam and then Kunal’s (Kohli) film. Then, I was busy with the launch of the trailer of Mausam. I had three days in between, so I thought I would chill out and spend some time with my childhood buddies in London.

What kind of response has the theatrical trailer of Mausam received?

Work on the theatrical promo had begun and we sent them all the material they needed for the theatrical promo. We asked them to bring out the trailer with what they would like to see, you know, from the audience’ perspective. We needed to have a commercial element in it. When they showed us the trailer, dad and I loved it. Now people have reacted just the way we had hoped they would. It is a great feeling. 

Were you apprehensive of the type of feedback you would get?

No yaar, I’ve been confident about Mausam since the moment dad conceptualised it. But, yes, my palms were sweating when I was driving down to the first promotional event. I was a little surprised but that only shows that this is a very special film for me. There are so many people and fans, especially through social-networking sites, that are waiting for this film.

It is a year and a half since I began working on the film, and I finally had the opportunity to share it with everybody. As an actor, I wanted to show what we had been working on and I was keen to see the reaction. So, yes, a little nervous but more excited.

Since you wanted the trailer to include a commercial element, how do you define ‘commercial’?

Jo film aam aadmi ke saath connect kar sakti hai, woh commercial film hoti hai. I think the common man must connect with your product. After that, there’s no looking back. Touch wood, this is what happened with the Mausam trailer.

What works in a romantic film is the on-screen chemistry between the lead actors. How has the audience reacted to a fresh pair like you and Sonam?

Very positive, actually. I think it is a little too early to judge our chemistry from the theatrical promo alone. But judging by the response, we look good together. But I think what’s more important are the characters in a film. When the characters work, the actors seem to work. The characters of Harry and I have a great relationship in the film and if people connect with that relationship, they will really like to see me and Sonam. 

What was it like working with Sonam? There were rumours about a tiff…

(Cuts in) Itne rumours har week spread hote hain ki ab har week ek naya rumour sunne ki aadat ho gayi hai. It was good fun working with her. But I was even more excited about working with dad. I was not just an actor but I was also trying to do all sorts of other things on the sets as well. So I probably spent less time with Sonam than with some of my other co-stars and technicians but I had great fun working with her. 

Can we assume that after eight years in the industry, Shahid Kapoor is ready to face all types of rumours, personal and professional?

No, I don’t think, I’m OK with rumours. It doesn’t feel great but then, one has to get used to it. After a point, you start taking it less seriously. I have started taking them casually. 

Back to Mausam… You are known to be quite involved with your projects. So how was it working with your father?

A father is always a father and he’s always right. You know how it is. I wanted to learn from him as an actor because he is one of the best actors in the country. So when you sit and talk to him, you don’t learn much but when you work with him, you learn a lot more.

Were you allowed to check the monitor at all or were you barred from taking even a peek?

No, he never stopped me from checking the monitor. He was quite chilled out. But he was quite strict about what he wanted from me as an actor. But I too am like that. So I really enjoyed working with him. As they say, like father like son. Yes, I was very nervous initially but I soon found an equation with dad. 

This is a very special film for Pankaj-ji (Kapur) and you. But what will the audience take away from it?

There is a line in the promo that summarises the essence of the film: ‘A love story that takes you beyond romance’. It’s a new thought and a newer concept. The whole idea was to position the film as an epic love story over a journey of 12 years and the story of two characters. At the same time, it says a little more. When and how did the idea originate? At some time in my father’s head. (Laughs) .

When was that?

He has written a lot of scripts and I had been telling him to make a film as I wanted to learn from him as an actor. So he said, “OK, let me see if I can fit you into one of my scripts.” But he said, “No, you are an actor who has been doing a certain kind of film, so we need to find the right kind of cinema. So I will write a fresh script.” Thus, about three and a half years ago, he started work on it and we started shooting about a year ago. 

The film was to release in July but it will now release in September. Why?

Shooting went on till June and we wanted to release the film in July as that was a great date as I have not had a release for a year. But dad wanted more time with post-production. So shooting went on a month-and-a-half longer than we had expected. Thus we decided on a September release. 

Has the film gone over-budget? 

It’s very simple. If a film doesn’t work, then even a small budget seems big but if a film works, then even a small budget seems big. Basically, the cost of making this film will be seen by the audience and this comes across in the promos. It is a very big film for the kind of places that it has been shot at and the kind of subject it has. It needed a certain scale and presentation.

The reason I sat at home was because I had four different looks in the film. And there are four seasons in the film. So many different locations, times, looks… We have tried to be as true to the subject as possible. The budget of a film is also decided by the money it can make. So I cannot comment on that right now.  

Since promotion plays a very vital role in the fate of a film, how many days have you allotted to promotion?

I have assigned a month to promotion. I will be back in India around August 15. So it will continue till September.

So will we see you in four different avatars during this time?

I will be shooting for different films, so that won’t be possible. But I quite enjoy doing that. During the promotions of Kaminey I had cut my hair and everyone remarked on how different I looked. I enjoy that and get a kick out of it. 

You started your career with Ishq Vishk and followed that immediately with an action-thriller, Fida. And now…

(Cuts in) You see, different cheez karne ka keeda mere mein tab bhi tha aur ab bhi hai. I can’t help it. (Laughs). 

Do you have any regrets about turning down a film or accepting the wrong type of film during your career?

I have done a few bad films and a few good films. But if you don’t make the wrong choices, you don’t learn the kind of films you should stay away from. I am what I am on the basis of all the work I have done. So all the good, bad and successful ones… they have all come together to make me the person and actor I am. I have no regrets.

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