COVER STORY

SHAHID KAPOOR: REDDY, STEADY, GO

SHAHID KAPOOR: REDDY, STEADY, GO

"I don’t actually consume alcohol. Most actors don’t actually drink, there are those who do, I know some who do. I was smoking cigarettes, we tried to reduce the tobacco content as much as possible.”

For a man who abstains from various substances, Shahid Kapoor has played a plethora of roles that show him as a vein-pumping junkie or an alcoholic. In his newest, the remake of the South hit Arjun Reddy, Shahid plays a high-functioning alcoholic named Kabir Singh. He seems at utmost ease as he talks about the angry Kabir Singh with Almas Khateeb.
The comment section of Kabir Singh’s trailer indicates that it is an instant hit. How did Shahid Kapoor react to it?

The comment section of Kabir Singh’s trailer indicates that it is an instant hit. How did Shahid Kapoor react to it?

“I was shocked! First of all, I was very surprised and overwhelmed by the number of comments. We’ve all done work and seen people respond to stuff, but this one was a lot. I think some of it also has to do with the fact that this is a remake of quite an iconic film. It is considered a cult film for a certain section of the audience; obviously, it becomes topical and people want to talk about it. So, I was super happy because most of the comments were extremely positive and very encouraging. You know some films have the potential to make a deep impact and to evoke an intense reaction, and Kabir Singh is an intense film, it’s a very passionate film – it is strong, bold and an in-your-face film. The character is pretty out there, which is why it was very nice to see people feel that because I performed it and when you do it, you hope that people will receive it with the kind of intensity that you performed it with. When that tends to happen, it is the happiest feeling for any actor.”

As Kabir Singh is a remake of Arjun Reddy, by the same filmmaker – Sandeep Vanga, does Shahid Kapoor think that the director has retained the same style of filmmaking or has he adapted to Bollywood?

“A bit of both, I feel. The thing is, and I’ve discovered this only now since this is my first remake, with remakes, new filmmakers take over and bring a different type of energy and a different type of vision, a different interpretation of the same thing. But here’s the same filmmaker, making it again, and I very instinctively and strongly felt that there’s nobody else who can make a film like Kabir Singh. It was a very personal film. Certain things in the film, you just cannot imagine. It has to have happened to you for you to understand it. The biggest challenge for us was to retain the core and the heart and the soul of the film without making it look like it is a copy. We needed to rediscover it, and rediscover everything that worked for the original without trying to be like the original. Whatever we needed to do, to bring the film from the state that it was based in and the language that it was in, the culture and the backdrop of those people to Mumbai and Delhi, whatever natural changes we needed, we did. Obviously, performances will be different as different actors bring different energies to the film, there will be a difference in the performances. This one is slightly shorter than the original.”

As Kabir Singh is a remake of Arjun Reddy, by the same filmmaker – Sandeep Vanga, does Shahid Kapoor think that the director has retained the same style of filmmaking or has he adapted to Bollywood?
For a teetotaller, Shahid can be seen drinking continuously and chain smoking, in one instance he was smoking two cigarettes. One wonders if that affected him personally.

For a teetotaller, Shahid can be seen drinking continuously and chain smoking, in one instance he was smoking two cigarettes. One wonders if that affected him personally.

“I don’t actually consume alcohol. Most actors don’t actually drink, there are those who do, I know some who do. I was smoking cigarettes, we tried to reduce the tobacco content as much as possible. The two cigarettes are just in one shot. However, it was tiring. I used to feel very spent and depleted, but that’s where the character was so that’s how I needed to be. It helped me to be true to that character.”

How did Shahid interact with his children whenever he came back home to his two young children after portraying such a dark character?

“Hah! That was actually like rehab for me. Whenever I used to go home to the kids, I used to feel warm and loved, back to normalcy. It used to help me unload and unwind and go back to the same thing the next day.”

How did Shahid interact with his children whenever he came back home to his two young children after portraying such a dark character?
Kabir Singh is a short-tempered perfectionist who lives, loves, and hates in the extreme. Does any part of Shahid Kapoor resemble Kabir Singh?

Kabir Singh is a short-tempered perfectionist who lives, loves, and hates in the extreme. Does any part of Shahid Kapoor resemble Kabir Singh?

“I’ve been through phases that have been self-destructive. I’ve been through moments where I’m not happy with who I am and not caring about how I looked and how people are perceiving me. I have been in those phases. I think we all have. We have all fallen apart and tried to pick ourselves up. We all go through vulnerable moments. You know, half of Kabir Singh is a love story and the other half is the aftermath of a loss he deals with. We’ve all been there some time, for different things. Many times it is for love, and not just love for a partner, it could be for family or a friend for your children – it could be for so many different things. We’ve all been there, where we’ve not been able to deal with our own loss and not know how to deal with our emotions. I could definitely connect with that part of Kabir. Now how he expresses himself and chooses to deal with it, whether it is alcohol or smoking, that’s a reaction. That’s him trying to cope with the situation. But emotionally whatever he is feeling, I can connect with that.”

A drug addict in Udta Punjab and a high-functioning alcoholic in Kabir Singh, is Shahid Kapoor getting high on these scripts?

“(laughs) You know I’ve never had alcohol in my life, I don’t know why they come to me with these roles. Even I question that many times, ki arey yeh mere saath hi kyun hua ki people like me in these kinds of roles. And people seem to like me in these roles! It’s one of those freak co-incidences of life – they make no sense at all, but they are what they are.”

A drug addict in Udta Punjab and a high-functioning alcoholic in Kabir Singh, is Shahid Kapoor getting high on these scripts?
The red couch in Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy’s trailer has caused much intrigue. Shahid explains why.

The red couch in Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy’s trailer has caused much intrigue. Shahid explains why.

“There are certain things that the filmmaker has very passionately felt about. So, the colour red is something he has used thematically. Even when you see the shot where the door opens and you see Kabir for the first time, there’s a red cigarette in his mouth. It is the only shot in the whole film where he has a red cigarette. And if you look even more closely there’s a red lighter Kabir always uses and then there’s the red couch. It is what it is.”

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