Shahid Kapoor Interview: My beginning was very humble!: Shahid Kapoor, who turns 30 a month later, says that he's done movies in the past because his girlfriend was in it, but not anymore
You turn 30 next month. How different are you from the time you entered Bollywood seven years ago?
Thank you for reminding me (smiles), but it hasn't really sunk in yet. I really believe that the best years of my life are starting now. I've worked enough now to feel at ease with what I am and who I am. Also, God has been very kind. I've done some very good work, and whether or not my films do well, I always get offered good work.
The work comes because of luck or hard work?
I feel very proud of the fact that I have pretty much done all of it on my own. When I look back, I feel fortunate to be where I am. In this profession, it's not easy to make it on your own as it's very unpredictable, and has its ups and downs. It becomes easier when you are from the industry, but my father, even though an actor, was very much away from it. So, I wasn't exposed to people. My beginning was very humble.
You had no advantage then and struggled like any other person would?
Oh yes. I believe I've made a lot of mistakes. I have done some things right but I have committed a lot of mistakes. But even after making those mistakes, to be where I am, I am fortunate. So, am really happy doing what I am doing and I have survived 7 years, and am hoping to survive another 17, probably 20 years, and do work that I am proud of. In fact, it's in the recent past that I've done work that I'm really proud of, actually in the last 3-4 years, that I am doing work that I like, love, enjoy, and am proud of. Till then, I was finding my own identity. It's a very interesting phase, the best years from a work point of view are yet to come and the best years from a personal point of view are yet to come, and I think I am my own person now and I am comfortable with who I am. I think it's only when you are comfortable with who you are that you can have stability in your personal space or in any relationship.
Yes, we've noticed that you are now quite comfortable being spotted with a certain someone who you are being seen with. You also said that in a recent interview, right?
The question that was posed was that the media is linking you with people and you're not responding, and my answer was that I would never be governed by what the media says about my personal life because it would be a very restricted and scary place to be in. I will live my life the way that I do and I've learnt that it's a part of the profession and that things will be written about you and people would want to speculate. And I am not going to get scared or get worried about that and not live my life. I think that I am answerable to the people that I am answerable to and not to the media as such regarding my personal life. I think professionally, there's a huge amount of interaction happening with people...
Yes, you are less uptight now.
Yes, everyone tells me that. You know, I was very scared and very shy and people thought I was uptight, maybe it came across like that and I am very sorry if it did. Abhi toh I know everybody in the media, so I have a personal equation with people, and I have reached that point of comfort where I can open up and say what I feel and not feel any pressure. There used to be a point at which I used to feel a lot of pressure maybe because I was very new and I was still finding my ground, professionally. And it was very upsetting to constantly answer about your personal life. Then one day I just decided that I am not going to answer, write what you want. Life became a lot simpler after that and I think it became simpler for everybody, even for the media and for me.
What mistakes were you referring to earlier?
Lots of mistakes ya... I had no experience, so I used to do films for different reasons. At times I would do a film because I was excited about working with a certain director, sometimes I would be insecure about sitting at home, sometimes because my girlfriend (We assume he means Kareena!) was in it, different reasons, sometimes even because people used to tell me to.
You did movies because your girlfriend was in it?
Ya, and I am very honest about it. Sometimes I did a movie because everyone told me that you must do this film and you cannot say no to these people and then over time I realised that you know success is really periodic. It'll keep changing. What matters is satisfaction. And what's most important is to find success where you are happy and not run after it. So, I stopped. Three or four years ago I stopped running... of course, it's most important in this profession to be successful. But the idea should not be to run after that. Do work that you believe in and that makes you happy. That's what I am doing right now – trying to work with likeminded people, trying to work with people who I think I can talk to about films , who I think think similarly.
No emotional decisions anymore?
I wouldn't say those were emotional decisions, I just think there was lack of experience, so I was trying everything. Acha yaar aisa bhi try kar lete hain... waisa bhi try kar lete hain... Then, it's only over a period of time that you discover yourself as an actor and the person, which I think I have in the last few years. So, I feel comfortable now taking decisions.
You struggled because you were Pankaj Kapoor's son?
Maybe even worse because there were more expectations and I think when you are Pankaj Kapoor's son, everyone's like yaar isko acting toh aani chahiye. I had no advantage of getting a free launch or anything.
You came without a free launch, but were declared a superstar in the making. Unfortunately, you've always been a step or two behind that title...
That's ok, I don't live my life by titles. I feel terrible about the comparisons with everybody because I feel I am really undeserving of being compared to someone like a Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan or any of these people who have had such achievements. There's a long way for me to go and I don't want that pressure on me, frankly. Like I said, it's not easy when you don't have anyone backing you.
Even without the backing, have you achieved everything you wanted to by the time you are 30?
I have a lot more than what I had expected. But there's too much more that I need to do and I am ready to work day and night for it. I remember, Will Smith said this one very beautiful sentence, which for me has become my mantra. I was watching his interview sometime after "Hancock", when he was being touted as the biggest star in Hollywood and that's very surprising with actors like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt around and he said, "You can be better looking than me, you can have a better body that me, you can be a better actor than me but when you run with me on the treadmill, I will outrun you." That was very beautiful, he said that I work harder than anyone else and that's what makes me what I am. That's my mantra – I'm ready to work harder than anyone.