From this angle, Kapoor is quite something. You feel an instant sympathy with the 38,000 plus members of the Facebook group 'Shahid Kapoor fans'. We mean, we're here with him in his sparkling silver Mercedes-Benz, his biceps are stretching his pale yellow jersey, his deltoids flexing like a pair of dolphins trying to nibble his ears. We meet the gun-toting geezer who is now carrying a cricket bat. It's time to play with Shahid Kapoor.
Are we meeting a different Shahid Kapoor today?
No man! I don't think so. I am as stressed out as I was because I have another release coming up in the next two weeks. I was supposed to take this three day Kaminey break (laughs). I haven't got any time to absorb the fact that the film has done well and that it's a success. I am trying to respond to all the messages that I've been receiving since Kaminey released and busy finishing up all my duties. Somewhere deep down, I'm really happy. I needed the audiences support and I've got it.
Now that Dil Bole releases, do you think the ones who are going to watch the film will be the ones who were impressed by Shahid Kapoor in Kaminey?
I'm hoping that all the positivity of Kaminey spills over on Dil Bole Hadippa. Secondly, I think people have always liked me in the commercial space of love stories and films that have a lot of dance, music and entertainment. They haven't seen me in my usual best since a year. Dil Bole Hadippa will put me back in that space. Thirdly, all those people who missed out on Kaminey, because it was an 'A' certificate, will probably be able to see Dil Bole.
Do you empathise with those who were below 18 and didn't get to watch Kaminey?
Of course yes. My younger brother is thirteen. All his friends were upset for not seeing Kaminey. I'm really happy for them that they'll go and watch Dil Bole Hadippa now. This is my first film with Rani and Yash Raj too. There is a lot to it which is so different from Kaminey.
Do you think Yash Raj Films as a production house is far more superior in their work ethics than the others you've worked in?
That will put all the other production houses I've worked with down, isn't it? But I would definitely say that as a hero you feel burdened by the load of a film because if a film works well, the first person to benefit is the actor and if vice versa, then too the actor. Working with Yash Raj is like working with a brand which itself has a certain credibility. Audiences want to see a Yash Raj film. It is also headed by a creative man who isn't merely a business man. They understand the content within a film and it is also from their creative point of view. With Aditya Chopra around, things are too organised.
The public opinion has it that Rani Mukherjee is the first actress that has perfectly matched up to Shahid Kapoor's steps while dancing
(Laughs). Rani is a great dancer and people have forgotten that it's been a while that she has done an out and out dance number. The last time I saw Rani match up with any actor was with Govinda. There have been times when I have calmed myself down a little to balance it out with my co-actor but Dil Bole Hadippa was the first time when I thought that I had to pull my socks up as Rani was going for the kill.
When was the last time you played cricket?
I am a great cricket buff dude. I first played cricket when I was a three year old. I've played for my school. I used to play seven hours of cricket everyday in my building. Unfortunately, I didn't get to pursue it at all. I went through that whole phase of thinking that I would be a professional cricketer when I grow up. As I grew up, there were others things that took over my interest. Dancing was one of them.
Any fond memories you had while filming for Dil Bole Hadippa?
Of course yes. We were shooting in D.Y. Patil ground and we had a whole day to shoot there. I refused to give my shot for half an hour because you could see the lush green grass, brown pitch, all hard with the wickets in tact. I was standing and murmuring, 'Somebody please bowl to me' because I wasn't going to get this moment again. Finally, the cast and the crew did manage to play a short match.
Is there any underlying message to the film?
Yes there is. There is something which the film says very subtly because preachy films can be really boring. Dil Bole Hadippa is very entertaining and in the end, it just leaves you with a thought.
You seem to be taking on all the hotties in tinsel town at the moment.
(Laughs) Am I? Finally the day has come. It's good to be working with new people. There is Rani Mukherjee who is my senior, there is Priyanka Chopra who has done as much work as me, there is a Genelia D'Souza who is newer and then there is Anushka Sharma who is just one film old. Working with people who challenge you, push you or you feel are competition at some level always helps you do better work, and I haven't done that for quite some time.
You played cricket with Rani?
Yes I did. I had a really busy one and a half year. Jab We Met, Kaminey and then Dil Bole Hadippa. But I can recall days when I used to get call from Rani at half past nine in the night saying, 'Shahid, where are you? I am in a cricket ground near Juhu. Please come.' I would reply, 'Sorry Rani but I have an appointment at ten.' Rani would go, 'Just come for ten minutes but come.' I would reach there and she would be seen standing all padded up saying, 'See how I am playing cricket. Now you show me how you play.' I would then show her some of my shots and the reply would come, 'You know how to play, so you can leave now.'(Laughs). I loved the way she was so involved with the film.
You've worked with a lot of first time directors too.
Yes I have. And it's time for a change. This is a great time for anybody who is new. As an actor, I've felt that new directors bring in a fresh perspective to cinema and help us bring a fresh new talent to the film we are working for. I feel very comfortable with those who write and direct films. Imtiaz Ali and Parmeet Sethi are some of them.
You favourite Rani Mukherjee film
Black. As a performance, that was brilliant.
Your favourite cricketer and any match of his which you can recall.
Sachin Tendulkar. I remember the match in Sharjah when the sand storm happened followed by the Sachin storm. He went totally ballistic on the Australians. Then of course his match in the World Cup when Sehwag and Sachin murdered Shoaib Akhtar's bowling in the first fifteen overs.
What about the new Indian cricket team?
As a team, India is doing really well because their approach is new. It's all about the team. Greats will always be greats. I am a huge Sachin fan but I can't see him playing for the next ten years now. New players are finding a place for themselves. I like the rotation strategy that Indian Cricket team follows. Players who are sitting out in couple of matches get a chance to play in the third. That's great.