THE last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for Shahid Kapoor. Where there were the highs of films like Kaminey and R…Rajkumar, others like his last release Shandaar haven't fared well at the box office or with critics. After more than a decade in the limelight, Shahid is finally comfortable with who he is.
"I have finally found myself. There is no balance in this industry. When you are successful everyone is blowing sunshine up your way and when you are not, they are pretty much walking all over you. You don't get consistent feedback. People's perceptions are rather fickle.
Perception is never reality which is why you should never take it seriously," says the 34-year-old actor.
Earlier this year, Shahid got married to Delhi girl Mira Rajput in a low-key affair. Shahid says he has been feeling calm since the wedding. "I used to be impulsive but not anymore. I think marriage changes everyone. As a bachelor, I was only responsible for myself. My decisions didn't affect another life. That's obviously changed. I feel a great sense of responsibility."
Shahid loves being married but the actual wedding, not so much.
"It is very tiring. There are just too many people to manage."
If he had to do it again, would he do it differently?
"Oh yes! I'd hold Mira's hand and say 'I want to get married to you. Let's run away'. We'll let everyone know once the ceremonies are done," he laughs at the idea.
Ask him what one of the perks of being married is and pat comes the reply: "I get awesome food. This is the best food I have ever got from home."
His mother would not be very happy if she heard that! "My mother did not cook too much so I am safe on that front. See, I have thought this answer through. (Laughs) Apart from the food, I am still the 49 per cent owner of the house, which I think is pretty good. I haven't given up completely. I have a feeling; it'll eventually balance out at 33 per cent."
Through the years, most people who have got close to Shahid know that the actor is very particular about how he likes things done.
"It's not necessarily true. What I am particular about is attention to detail."
So, has it been easy for him to give up the reins of the house to Mira?
"Absolutely. When I realised that I have someone to help take care of the house, I was so happy. I really enjoyed handing it all over to her. But you have to truly let go. You can't pretend to give up control and still keep picking holes in how things are done. That will just lead to unnecessary fighting."
For the last few years, Shahid was very vocal about why he wanted his partner to not be a part of Bollywood.
"Mira keeps reminding me that there is a lot to life beyond the little bubble I live in. She is very unassuming and very real... these are the things that I really like about her. So, she is being very matter-of-fact about everything. Sometimes she gives me a fresh perceptive on things. When I go back home, sometimes she doesn't want to know about films and instead wants to plan a dinner... so there is that level of normalcy in my life. It's very refreshing," he gushes.
For Mira though, it's not been easy to adjust to her husband's world.
"I remember she went to a mall recently to buy something for the house and she came back totally freaked out. Apparently these four women started following her. They were looking at her and whispering. Mira initially thought there was something on her clothes but then she got very creeped out and ran away. My reaction was "people were looking at you so what's the big deal" and that's when I realised how abnormal our lives are. She will get used to it."
While there are rumours about Mira being interested in acting, Shahid dismissed them. But that doesn't mean his other family members aren't interested in Bollywood.
"I have come to realise that all my siblings want to be actors. And I was exactly like that at their age so I totally understand the headspace they are in. I think they are all very talented and I am their biggest cheerleader," he says about his younger siblings Sanah and Ishaan.
His sister Sanah made a very assured debut in Shandaar and Shahid couldn't be prouder.
"I was very emotional when I saw her give her first shot. It didn't help that she has banished me from the set so I was hiding behind a tent trying to film the shot on my phone! She got very pissed off when she got to know I was there. There is one scene where it's just her and dad and she is superb in the scene. So confident."
If he had to give his siblings advice on how to deal with a career in Bollywood, what would it be?
"Put your seat belt on because it's not going to be a smooth ride," he says, laughing out loud.
Shandaar was almost a family production for Shahid as he also worked with his father Pankaj Kapoor. The last time the duo worked together was when Kapoor senior made his debut as a director with the disastrous Teri Meri Kahaani. Having his father as a co-star, is scarier than being directed by him, Shahid insists.
"As a director, he is on your side. He is helping you get a better shot. But as an actor, he is standing in the same frame as you. So, you are intimidated to be in presence of a talent like him. For me, he is one of the finest actors of this industry ever. I remember, I felt a little like this when I worked with Irrfan in Haider.
"But with dad this feeling was five times more intense. I was very nervous in the first couple of days. He is very graceful and he allowed me the space to settle down. And, then it was fun because our characters are not supposed to like each other in the film. So, it was fun to say everything I couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't say to my father."
Shahid is preparing to shoot his third film with Vishal Bharadwaj. Rangoon is a period drama set during World War II and also stars Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut.
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