After essaying the character of a drug addict rock-star, Tommy Singh in Udta Punjab (2016), Shahid Kapoor is gearing up for the release of Rangoon where he will be seen as an army officer, Nawab. Ahead of the film release, Shahid talks about the reason he takes unconventional characters and how the definition of commercial cinema has completely changed in the past few years. Kapoor is hopeful that like his previous two outings with Vishal Bhardwaj (Kaminey in 2009) and Haider in 2014), Rangoon too will do well at the box office.
How was it teaming up with Vishal Bhardwaj again?
He is the most relevant film maker I have worked with in my career. He has given me opportunities to showcase my acting talent in a way that probably even I didn’t know. Working with him has always been special and everybody wants to work with him. So for me to be a part of his films again and again is indeed special. We have not got it wrong yet and I hope that we get it right this time as well. Rangoon is a different film for us and I think this will be a different experience for the audiences as well. I believe even they want to watch good content these days and that is what I have been focusing on. I think this film can be watched by a wider section of audience compared to Haider and Udta Punjab because this isn’t a dark film rather it is dramatic.
Was it difficult to get into a character set against the backdrop of World War 2?
This is my first period film but the few films I have done earlier belong to a universe that has never existed for me. I had no access to the world of Tommy Singh in Udta Punjab and same was the case with Haider. In Rangoon, my character was far away from reality for me but I am playing an army officer. I am playing a man who fights to save his country and those things do not change with the change of era. Nawab is the most heroic character I have ever played. What he is ready to do for his duty is something larger than life. I am representing the men in uniform the way I have always wanted to.
Are we going to see you do films which are not commercial and majorly dependant on content?
I feel a little liberated with the kind of choices I am making because I am not feeling the weight of too many thoughts. I am doing what instinctively I want to do. And of course, I am very lucky that directors like Vishal Bhardwaj and Sanjay Leela Bhansali are coming to me with interesting characters. This is a great space to be in.
Why do you choose such films?
We are in a state of flux right now as the industry is going through a change. I feel that there is a lot of change coming our way and thinking of commercially viable cinema alone will not work anymore. Whoever offers the audiences a better content will always be the first choice. As an actor, it is our duty to offer something new and different which is in an unchartered territory. An actor will be a star when he makes the right choices.
Can we see you return to a commercial space again?
I would want to be a part of good films. The reason to do the film should meet your expectations. We look for answers in the future that lies in the past, but that’s the safe route in this profession. We have to do something unconventional as that would help us find an identity.
What’s your take on the Padmavati controversy?
We should wait to see the film.
How much do box office numbers matter to you?
I don’t think anyone wants to be a part of an unsuccessful film. The only way you can term a film successful is when it recovers its cost. So you make sure that it makes money. Box office numbers are very important but you should not run after it. You should run after wanting to be a part of a
By when will you finish shooting for Padmavati and what next after that?
I am done shooting for 25 days of Padmavati and we have a 200-day shooting schedule in place. Right now, I am just focusing on finishing Padmavati. I have been offered a lot of scripts, but I am yet to sign.