Chit Chat

It’s not healthy for an actor to not be doing films: Shahid Kapoor

After a rough patch, Shahid Kapoor is back in the limelight – but this time the actor’s a much happier, much more approachable version of himself

You’re back after a while, you’ve had a rough patch, but you’re laughing more, talking more, you’re just more there…
That’s a change that’s happened in me as a person in the last couple of years. I just want to enjoy myself in whatever I am doing. I am more settled with what I am doing. I think it’s natural progression. I’ve reached that point now when I want to be happy. When we were making Mausam, it was difficult and there was a lot of stress. And the one thing I learnt from that year and-a-half was that I want to be happy. I want to be with people, I want to make them smile. I want to be happy while I’m working and I want to enjoy myself. It’s very important to do that. I think that’s something that’s changed in me. So now, whenever I wake up every morning, one of my agendas is to have a good time.

It’s not healthy for an actor to not be doing filmsYou weren’t happy earlier?
See, the more time you spend as an actor, you need to understand there are so many things that are out of your control and you need to not worry about them. An actor has an opportunity to make people smile and laugh. Maybe because I did these two films – ‘Phata Poster Nikhla Hero’ and ‘Rambo Rajkumar’ – both have a lot of comedy and fun. And I see that people really enjoy themselves when I do this stuff and it makes me happy and I want to extend that to my life.

Also, I was always very, very shy. That was my issue even before I became an actor. I would stand quietly in a corner of a room, and not talk to too many people. I am myself with very close friends, otherwise I’m socially shy. After I became an actor I realized that people might take that as, ‘oh he’s an actor so he doesn’t want to talk to anybody’. It took me some time to realize that once you become an actor, you need to take responsibility for the fact that people will have apprehensions, people will assume things, people will come with a mindset before they’ve even met you.

So, you need to be the one making that effort and you need to be the first one to break the ice. I think when you make that effort, it makes it much easier for people to communicate with you. Being a celebrity and being an actor, you need to learn to do that a little bit and I’ve learnt to do that. And I see the difference, I see people a lot more straight with me, and it becomes a lot easier. I think I’ve reached that point where I questioned a few things about myself and I’ve worked on them and I’ve changed them. And I’m happier with the way that things are going.

You did all this introspection in the six months when we heard nothing about you? Is that damaging for an actor?
It’s not healthy for an actor to not be doing films, especially in our generation. It wasn’t deliberate, it just happened. Yaar, do saal toh ek film mein chale gaye, then ‘Teri Meri Kahaani’, so teen saal mein do filmein. It’s not healthy and I’m very clear about the fact that now I’ll be doing at least three films a year. You have to go out there and you have to show yourself to the audience. I have reached the stage in my career when people need to see the different things I can do as an actor, when I need to discover myself as an actor and let people change me and mould me. That’s happening right now and it’s good. I hate sitting at home. I was like, ‘why am I sitting at home, what’s going on?’. But it was out of my control.

Also, I’ve had a very scattered life since I was very young. So, very early, I realized that there are times in life when you need to help yourself. You need to stand up for yourself and deal with situations and you need to back yourself. That’s really helped me. I always say that when you see a lot of success, you should see it with your head bowed down. And when you see a lot of failure, you must see it with your head held high. The last two years were not mine, but I’ve also been working for 10 years, so I’ve had this happen before. Right before ‘Vivah’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Kaminey’, I went through a low patch.

So, when you come back with a film after two unsuccessful ones, what kind of pressure are you dealing with?
When you accept the fact that as an actor, there is only so much you can control, it becomes easier to deal with success and failure. And when your focus becomes satisfying people you’re working with, success becomes a by-product, it doesn’t become the aim. That’s a better way to go, because eventually, success and failure is out of your control. An actor can do a good job in a film, but he’s not responsible for how the film turns out – it’s up to the director or how the film is promoted – it’s up to the producer. What’s important is that you work towards building a relationship with the audience. I always say this – I don’t want the audience to respect me, I just want their love. Because in love, you forgive. And I know I am going to make mistakes, so I’d want to be forgiven for them. I know people sometimes say ‘arey yaar Shahid ki yeh do film nahi chali, par third film better honi chahiye.’ They are on your team, and that’s fantastic. Maybe they’ve gone to see these films and have got bored while seeing them, but they’re still saying ‘I like this guy and I’m sure he’ll do a good film’.


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