Shahid Kapoor tells this correspondent that he is happy that Paathshaala, which he did not do for commercial reasons, has recovered its cost at the box office.
Is Badmaash Company a film on scam jobs?
At the face of it, it may seem to be a film on a con job scam, where the protagonists do wrong things in the right way, but in effect it is actually a journey of four different friends. It is about their coming of age, their relationship, their understanding of life etc. A lot happen to them fast and the impact it has on their lives forms the crux of the subject. It is a film which has an emotional base. I feel that any day any film with emotional base will connect to people easily.
What is your role in Badmaash Company?
I play Karan. He is a thinking person who schemes and plans and has ideas which do not appeal to people. Karan is from a middle class background. His character has a four or five years graph to it. It was quite challenging to portray the graphical changes in the character. I loved the script. The con jobs were very fresh, believable and simple. Parmeet Sethi told me that he had incorporated the scams out of clipping from newspapers. I liked the script written by the debutante director. Dil Bole Hadippa was more conventional whereas Badmaash Company is very unconventional. You wish you get a good script but it does not keep happening. The idea in Badmaash Company is very fresh.
How was the experience of working with a new director like Parmeet Sethi?
We were just four actors in the film and there was no star at all. Parmeet and I had an open relationship so we could discuss with transparency and honesty and a lack of formality. I am happy being directed by new directors and have no desire of being a director as of now.
How did you find Anushka as an actress?
Anushka is a very uninhibited actress who had absolutely no preconceived notions. Right after Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she has been able to break the mould, because other actresses get limited roles and space after coming up with a conventional role like she did in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
How did you break the ice with Anushka?
All four of us- Anushka, Vir Das, Meiyang Chang and I did a few workshops, because we had never worked together before, especially because it is a subject of four friends. We needed to break formalities and avoid having inhibitions. We spent time reading the script in Parmeet Sethi"s house before we went on the floors
Why did you agree to do a special appearance in Paathshaala?
I wanted Paathshaala to be seen by people because it is saying something good. I don't think Ahmad (Khan) made this for commercial reasons. We just believe in what the film is saying, we wanted to reach out to people, People don't pick up a subject about children, the education system and try and take a film about it. You try and make a documentary and it becomes boring. It's all the more difficult to find a subject and make it entertaining and make it like a story which has little bit of emotion, a little bit of comedy, drama and you want to sit through it.
What did you like about Paathshaala?
I liked the fact that Paathshaala tried to answer questions related to the sanctity of today's education system. It shed light on the shortcomings and wrong doings in today's schools where the high morals and basic ethics associated with the teaching profession seem to have taken a back seat. There are lots of things that the film talks about. There were small situations in the film which signified various problems that children are going through.
Would you compare Paathshaala with Taare Zameen Par?
I do not see Paathshaala as a Shahid Kapoor film or as a commercial film of mine. It was a film which cost only eight crores to make. It was made for a cause and has recovered its cost. I would not say that the film is anywhere near Taare Zameen Par. Taare Zameen Par gave a platform for this type of film. Before that no one ever thought that this type of film could be made and released at the commercial level. Taare Zameen Par talks about a dyslexic child while Paathshaala was about the general education system.
How do you look at hits and flops as an actor?
Whenever a film of mine flops, I try not to think or mull about it. Nor do I become delirious with happiness when a film of mine becomes a big hit like say Jab We Met or for that matter Kaminey, because I have now come to believe that hits and flops are a part and parcel of an actor"s life and it is not at all in your hands whether a film clicks at the box office or embarrasses you by tanking badly.
Do you look back and analyse why a particular film of yours, say like Chance Pe Dance flopped?
If a film sees the light of the day, it is time for you to move on ahead by looking forward. If you have to survive, you cannot afford to look back, because there is no point absolutely in wasting your precious time, especially since there is this danger that it will take away whatever positivity that you may have from a forthcoming film of yours, though I do believe in sitting with my director and analyzing what went wrong so that both the director and I can learn from where we had gone wrong. Of course I would not like the discussion to go beyond the four walls.
Do you let your flops unnerve you?
You should always make it a point to remember that a successful film of yours is not good just because it has been proclaimed a hit and vice versa, a film of your which has flopped isn"t always a bad film, though it has failed to recover the investment of the producer. As an audience, I feel that there is no point in blaming any one when a film of yours flops, because I am of the belief that the audiences are always right.
What is your take on ego?
I feel that ego is something that will take away your ability to recognize mistakes. Today I have no qualms as an actor to go to, say Raju Hirani or Mani Ratnam or for that matter even Vishal Bhardwaj with whom I have already acted and tell them that I am dying to work in a film with them. I wish I was a part of films like 3 Idiots, Dhoom or for that matter Krissh. As an actor, I"d rather first learn how to be successful and only then think of proving to the world how good an actor I am.
In what way is the Shahid Kapoor of today different from the Shahid Kapoor of 2000?
Today, I have lost all the inhibitions which I had as an actor when I had begun my career way back in 2000 with Ishq Vishq, when I was just yet another kid on the film scene. Today, I feel that there is a certain focus, belief in attempting something new. Today I can vouchsafe that I do not feel scared to do something different from the others by pushing the envelope.
Tell me about your father Pankaj Kapoor"s directorial venture Mausam in which you have been teamed opposite Sonam Kapoor!
My father"s film Mausam is a love story. My dad has written the last leg of the story. Dad told me that though he has put in 35 years as an actor, he did not have ambition to prove himself and he just wants to make Mausam to show his son in a different light as an actor. With dad, every day was a workshop, when I assisted him when he was directing his TV serial 'Mohandas B.A.B.L".