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Salman will always be the original Prem

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
For a guy who is only 25, Shahid Kapur portrays maturity beyond his age. His Vivah releases this week. We cornered the actor for a chat. Here, he talks about learning from Kareena's performances, about being compared to the orginal Prem - Salman Khan - and growing up.

Tell us something about Vivah.
As the tagline in Vivah suggests, it is the journey from engagement to marriage for a young couple Prem and Poonam, played by Amrita and me. Nobody has made a film on arranged marriage when over 90 per cent of the people in our country go through arranged marriages. This is the first time where two people meet knowing that they are going to get married to each other and start discovering each other from there.

In the age of slick techno thrillers, will a family entertainer like Vivah work?
Why not? It's become very convenient to buy new clothes, cars, houses and even get new spouses. Relation-ships have become like commodities. But here is a film that I learnt from. I am 25 and will get married in the next three to five years, so I am at that stage when I am looking at marriage in life and it taught me about marriage, relationships and commitment. Vivah says something very nice and poignant about the institution of marriage.

Does Prem's ideas of marriage conform with Shahid's ideas of marriage?
Prem is actually Soorajji's conception and visualisation. He's a bit shy, reserved, a dreamer and then takes on responsibility and becomes a man. I don't connect too much with Prem as we don't have many things in common. In the last three years, because of experiences I have learned to be mature, calmer, and take on more responsibility so I can connect on that level.

Salman Khan has always been Rajshri Films' Prem. Afraid of comparision?
There can be only one original Prem and it will be Salmanbhai. I hope people don't compare me with him as I am just a newcomer. I did what my director asked me to do. The reason that Soorajji cast us was because we were right for the part. He needed a very young couple and he needed to tell a very innocent, pure, simple love story.

You haven't signed any films after Vivah?
I haven't signed a film for two years now. I needed a little time to sit back and assess myself. I don't want to shoot for more than one film at a time though I know it'll be difficult. I hate sitting at home. I'm very into my work, I love being on my sets and when I am at home, I am either hearing scripts or watching movies; catching up on good cinema. Films are the only thing I'm obsessive about.

Have you perceived any changes in yourself in the last three years?
Yes. I have learnt and grown a lot in the last three years. I was an excited kid when I started out post Ishq Vishk. I didn't know much about anything or the way the industry functions. I have grown from a boy to a man. I have learnt one thing - the only thing, I feel an actor should focus on - is the script he chooses and how he performs in the roles that he is given.

Has Kareena wrought changes in you?
Of course, she has. I have become more secure and more responsible, more patient. In a relationship, both people learn from each other and grow together. It's a journey which two people have to take together.

What do you think of Bebo as an actress?
I loved Omkara. It had a very commercial cast but had an original story unaffected by the cast. Kareena, in the last couple of years, has developed into an actress par excellence. Every time she comes up with a performance which just surprises you. I always learn from her performances. She has this amazing combination of beauty, vulnerability and characterisation which is rare. She was one of the best things in the film.

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