'It's very difficult to do a remake'

Published Nov 24, 2021, 11:54 pm IST
Updated Nov 25, 2021, 1:26 pm IST
… says Shahid Kapoor when we caught up with him at the trailer launch of his next film, Jersey
Shahid Kapoor
 Shahid Kapoor

An actor who’s known for his positive outlook about work, Shahid awaits the release of his next film, a remake of the 2019-Telugu film of the same title. The trailer launch of the Hindi film in Mumbai had many in attendance, including the cast.

With theatres reopening after the lull caused by COVID, Bollywood, Tollywood and their all actors, technicians, directors and producers are rejoicing. This is so especially since the release of Rohit Shetty’s Akshay-Kumar-starrer film Sooryavanshi, which paved the path for the rest of the industry after being the first successful theatrical release that raked in the moolah.


Answering a volley of questions, Shahid shared how Jersey is about the victory of the human spirit during challenging times. “So the film has a great context for the times today and is even more relevant today than it was when we started shooting it,” adds Shahid.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q After Kabir Singh, remake of a Telugu film Arjun Reddy, you’re doing Jersey, another remake of a Telugu film. Are remakes of successful southern films by the original’s director safer box-office bets?
I must confess that being a part of a remake is definitely helpful for me as an actor. It’s very helpful when you know what you’re doing. For instance, I’ve been a part of a few movies I thought were going to be a certain way but wondered if I’d really signed up for that one when I saw them; I’d go back to the script to confirm. So I’ve had some very scary experiences. When doing remakes, on the other hand, you understand the story and the filmmaker’s thoughts about expressing himself around that story and bringing his vision to it.


QYour view on doing Jersey?
Believe me, even when I read Kabir Singh and now that I’ve done Jersey, I’ve realised it’s very difficult to do a remake — sometimes even tougher than doing an original character.
That’s because you have to make it fresh — it cannot look like a copy–paste or like you’re picking up something and creating it. You have to rediscover it all over again.
A filmmaker, too, who’s made the original and is now doing a remake and has created a character so close to his heart and then giving it to another actor, experiences a similar insecurity: ‘What if this actor doesn’t understand what I need, or makes it something it’s not because he wants to do it his way?’
I believe it’s very difficult to find that balance. Even with this Jersey remake, it’s been very challenging as this version feels very different from the original. It’s tougher when the actor changes, when the cultural milieu changes, the language changes, etc. Then again you cannot do the same thing for different audiences and cultures.


Q How was it working with your dad, Pankaj Kapur?
It’s very scary to work with your dad especially when he’s an actor. I remember shooting with him on Day One. I’d shot with the director Gowtam for about 15 days and thought he was happy with me as I was bringing something fresh to the role.
Then during another scene, in which we were having tea, Gowtam took Dad’s shot. Just then, his expression changed and he let him know that he was outstanding. When I asked Gowtam about it, he just turned around and said, ‘Will you be able to match his performance? Because he’s outstanding, and people won’t look at you, so you better be very good in the shot.”


Q So it was nerve wracking working with your dad.
It’s nerve-wrecking working with him but it’s also a pleasure. But I’m not intimidated by him — intimidation is a wrong word. When you have so much respect and regard for somebody, you want to be able to be the best. As an actor, it’s amazing to be standing in the same frame with a great actor regardless of who he is — whether my father or not. It’s about two people standing in the frame as actors. And seeing what he’s doing with his craft honestly was a great learning for me.