Sixteen years ago, when Shahid Kapoor debuted in a love triangle Ishq Vishk, it seemed like Bollywood had found its latest poster boy for the rom-coms. And now, as the actor is all set to be seen in another love triangle Kabir Singh, Shahid has made sure he remains far from being referred to as the ‘typical Bollywood romantic hero’.
In the early crucial years of his acting career, the actor was boxed as the ‘chocolate boy’ with back-to-back releases such as Fida, Dil Maange More, Deewane Huye Paagal, Vivah, Chup Chup Ke, and Jab We Met, among others. It was Vishal Bhardwaj’s dark-comedy Kaminey that saved him by the bell. Confirming it, Shahid opens up, saying, “For the first 10 years of my career, I had an image. Everybody used to think of casting me in a film, which is either a love story or where I can do a lot of dancing. It took a lot of effort for me starting with films like Kaminey and trying to break the mould over and over again.”
Not only did he essay versatile roles thereafter, but also ended up receiving critical appreciation for his acting. Talking about how necessary it became for the actor to break-free, Shahid says, “Today, when people say I am not typecast, I feel victorious that I have been able to achieve that. It was very trapping and I was claustrophobic in that place. I never liked the fact that I was out in a category. I was uncomfortable with that so it has been a lot of work over time to prove that I can do different things.” Haider, which is a Hindi adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, serves as that crowning glory in his filmography.
Among his latest films, the 38-year-old actor also has hits like Udta Punjab and Padmaavat to his credit. Despite enjoying critical and commercial admiration, the actor is yet to receive his due share of credit. “I got over that feeling, which I had for a few years, that I deserve better and why it wasn’t happening. You have to be thankful for what you have, so I have no regrets or angst. I don’t think like that anymore,” Shahid reveals.
At a time when there is an influx of a new batch of actors and his contemporaries are also getting increasingly competitive day-by-day, Shahid is not bothered about getting irrelevant. “I don’t think so hard. I have been doing this for 15 years, and I am still considered relevant, people still like me and like my work. It is easy to surprise when you are new, but it’s more difficult when you have been around for a while. I don’t sit down and judge my career. I just focus on craft and enjoy myself,” says the Jab We Met actor.
Meanwhile, Shahid is enjoying a content life on the personal front. Married to Mira Rajput, who does not hail from a filmy background, the actor accredits his wife for supporting him. He says, “She gives me more security as a wife than I give her as a husband. I think women have the ability to be stronger than men in general, so, I think, I get a lot of security from her. She is very unassuming and very honest in her opinion and I love that. She just says it as it is. It is very natural. She makes me feel grounded.”
Talking further about Mira with whom he has two children, the actor adds, “The people you spend your maximum time with become the people that impact you the most and that’s obvious. Of course, Mira has made a huge impact in my life and she has played a big part in my reality today, maybe not directly when it comes to the choice of movies but at a subliminal level. When you change as a person, your choices also get impacted by that change.”
As Shahid will soon be seen on the silver screen in Kabir Singh, which is a remake of the Telugu film Arjun Reddy, the actor reveals that initially, he was sceptical to star in the remake. Playing the role of an alcoholic lovelorn surgeon on the path of self-destruction, Shahid delves, “I was very scared to do it. When there is already something good, why do you want to take it up and spoil it? But the good thing was the filmmaker who made the original was happy to make it again. It was his interpretation that made the film what it was, and the opportunity of playing a character like that was so exciting that I had to take it up. I couldn’t let the challenge go.”
Moreover, the film will also see the rebellious and volatile character romance Kiara Advani’s character who is compliant and calm. And Shahid is all praises for his co-star as he says, “It is quite challenging to do a role where there is a character that is out there and you are playing a quieter part. I have done that a few times, especially, with Jab We Met and Padmaavat. I have played a much more controlled character and it is very challenging, and I can’t see anyone else playing this part other than Kiara.”
Other than Kabir Singh, currently, the actor does not have any further projects on his plate. He had formerly shown an interest in making a biopic on boxer Dingko Singh, who was the first and only Asian gold medallist boxer from India in the Bantamweight category, but it seems that Shahid is in two minds about that film. “I am unemployed right now because I don’t have a film and it does suck because I want to know what I am doing next! I do have too many things to do even when I am not working, so there is always something to do,” concludes the 38-year-old actor.