Shahid Kapoor stars in this week’s magnum opus ‘Padmaavat’ which is his biggest film till date. He started his career as the ultimate lover boy, tried his hands on comedy, and then became this phenomenal actor whose performances we wait to watch. Taking as much pride in his journey filled with twists and turns of good and bad, he portrays Maharawal Ratan Singh of Chittorgarh who sacrifices himself for the Rajput valour. His character must have been kept under the wraps but the huge success of the film has made an excited Kapoor sit down with us to chat about this Sanjay Leela Bhansali dream and more.
1. How do you feel about roaring success and box office shattering records that ‘Padmaavat’ is making?
Shahid Kapoor: The first reaction that I have is that we have come a long way. It’s been a year and half journey. There was at a point when we were unsure of the release. It’s been turbulent, emotionally draining and tiring at the end of it, we were waiting to showcase the film and share it with everyone. First thing I feel is validated for the release of the film and for the beautiful compliments it has got. Everyone I know has had positive things to say, the intent has been appreciated. Secondly, this role was a risk for my career because nobody exactly knew what it was. It was kept under the wraps. There were people who questioned my choice and post the release I waited for what people had to say for 2 days. Now I feel very grateful and thankful because my character is an underdog and despite that I’m so happy that the hero of the film was given that love. Out of the three characters, people know a lot about Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji next but no one knew who Rawal Ratan Singh really was. Even his journey was so spectacular for the sacrifices he made, the things he stood for, especially his wife and against Alauddin Khilji. It was a beautiful journey. I wanted to showcase his journey to the world which was worth telling. I’m happy with the love and support I’ve got.
2. Has ‘Padmaavat’ set the bar as an actor and for the box office collections for your next film?
Shahid Kapoor: It’s not about better or worse, the operative word for me is ‘different’. I would like to do different things. Every film offers you different opportunities for which you have to fall truthfully. Give what is expected of you and don’t bring your personal aspirations into it. It is important to do roles that benefit the film and do something that’s right. The next film shall be very different from Maharawal Ratan Singh. I’m down with the choices that I’m getting. Sometimes playing a quiet and subdued role is interesting, sometimes playing a regular guy is interesting and sometimes playing loud and noisy characters is interesting.
The box office numbers aren’t upto any actor. Sometimes there are actors who are being directed in films that don’t work and same actors may do a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film and give a hit. I cannot take credit for the numbers. The first one who needs to take credit of Padmaavat’s success should be Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He has it in him to take his actors from a certain number to a higher one through his films. He’s taken me to a wide audience with this film. What we as actors do after Padmaavat decides where we stand in terms of size and numbers.
3. How was it working with Deepika Padukone? Your pairing is infact one of the reasons why the film is running so successfully. What do you have to say?
Shahid Kapoor: Deepika and I have had offers before which have come and gone. After 10 years of her being in the industry we finally did a film together. It’s great to have done Padmaavat with her. After the first screening, Sanjay Sir looked back and told us he would want us to do another film together. There was not enough time for our romance to brew in the screenplay of Padmaavat since it’s a fast paced film. I think we make a great pair shall do something in the future.
4. Tell us something about the filmmaking process that Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for. How challenging is it to be his actor?
Shahid Kapoor: The more time you spend with him, the more beneficial it is for you as an actor. He has a defined process of work. He’s a certain type of person who brings out the best in you. It was great fun learning filmmaking from film. It’s like working with a mad genius. If you’re up for it, you’ll have completely dedicate yourself in it. I was excited to share screen space with Ranveer, Deepika and others. True challenge for an actor is when words are taken away from him. I had that kind of a role.
Working with him is like a strategic strike. You need to wait and then go all at it once and halt again and go for it again. One needs to be patient and give all their time. Padmaavat is a benchmark for everybody who participated in it. It’s a special film.
5. According to you, which was the most difficult scene to perform?
Shahid Kapoor: The most difficult scenes for me as Maharawal Ratan Singh were when Alauddin asks to him to see his wife Padmavati and the one where Padmavati suggests doing this sequence to save Chittor. As the King I didn’t know how to react as he didn’t agree with the situation.
6. Tell us something about the transition that your character goes through in ‘Padmaavat’.
Shahid Kapoor: My character in the first half is only seen falling in love with Padmavati, you only get to see the romantic side. Till the time the first confrontation happens with Khilji, Ratan Singh is unaware of his motive as he assumes Khilji’s arrival at the footsteps of Chittor is only a political move. When Khilji demands to see his wife, it becomes personal. Then you see the angry side and the warrior shade of his character. It was about understanding the graph of the character. There is tune that a filmmaker wants you to play with, your job is to hit the right notes when the camera is on.
7. Being a multi-starrer film, did you have any insecurity as to how much screen time you would have as compared to the other actors? What made you agree to it?
Shahid Kapoor: I wasn’t insecure to be casted in a multi-starter film. Your insecurities drive you away from the opportunities God gives to you. Every opportunity brings something new which you have to take and the result will be defined later. I hope to have a library of my films that’s worthy of sharing with my family and ‘Padmaavat’ will be there. Smart choices make good careers.
8. In the 70s and 80s we have had a lot of 2 hero films, why do you think the number has come down in today’s cinema?
Shahid Kapoor: Very few films that are being written today are worthy of two hero and two heroine main characters. When somebody has the ability to write certain content of certain ability, actors will definitely do it.
– Yaser Khan