W Power 2024

There's a little crazy inside me: Shahid Kapoor

At the Forbes India Leadership Awards, the actor spoke about how he has reinvented himself and remained relevant over two decades in a competitive film industry, whether he is anything like the characters he plays on screen, and why it's important to keep it real in the age of social media

Published: Mar 9, 2024 01:48:44 PM IST
Updated: Apr 16, 2024 04:17:46 PM IST

There's a little crazy inside me: Shahid KapoorShahid Kapoor at Forbes India Leadership Awards 2024

Shahid Kapoor was at his candid best at the Forbes India Leadership Awards, held in Mumbai on March 7. The 43-year-old actor, who completed 20 years in the film industry last year, spoke about what has kept him going and how he’s always on the lookout for quality work. To get down to the brass tacks, he said it was all about being real, keeping it simple, and “having a relationship with your inner voice”. The actor, whose latest film Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya has been enjoying commercial success at the box office, said, “I’ve always believed in myself, and I’ve always believed in improving, growth, rediscovery and trying to surprise the audience, and I think all that has got me here.”

In the past two decades of his career, Kapoor has played diverse characters—starting with the ‘chocolate boy’ romantic lead in films like Ishq Vishk (2003), Dil Maange More (2004) and Jab We Met (2007) early in his career, he transitioned to picking layered, intense characters in movies like Kaminey (2009), Haider (2014), Udta Punjab (2016), and even the controversial Kabir Singh (2019).

The characters that he has chosen to play on screen have nothing to do with who he is as a person, but who he can be on screen, the actor said. “The idea is to be part of stories, to play different characters who represent different aspects of human behaviour, of society, people who are from different backgrounds, whose brain and heart work differently, who look different and speak different. I will always chase that,” said Kapoor, who was in conversation with Forbes India’s Editor-Desk Kunal Purandare.

“I wouldn’t say a romantic hero is like me and Kabir is not like me,” he added. “There is a little crazy inside me somewhere, so that Kabir is existing within me, deep down. Those crazy streaks are there within me as an actor, so I chase complex characters.”

There's a little crazy inside me: Shahid Kapoor“Your personality doesn’t necessarily have to be directly connected or exactly the same as how people view you. They see that as two different things. Being natural is the best way to be,” said Shahid Kapoor.

The actor, who admitted to feeling like an outsider in the industry despite his parents [mother Neelima and father Pankaj Kapur] being from the film industry, said he is proud of himself because he got work on his own merit rather than leaning on to his parents’ connections in the industry.

Before he signed his first project as an actor, Kapoor worked as a background dancer, featured in music videos and advertisements. It’s been a journey of self-discovery, he said, where you are required to believe in yourself when nobody else does. “This industry teaches you that you need to have a plan along with a dream, and that plan can only be true to you,” he said.

It is also important to “blank out the noise”, he added. As a public figure navigating stardom in the age of social media, Kapoor said that it is important to protect who you are as a human being, but at the same time, keeping it real so that people can understand and connect with you. “Your personality doesn’t necessarily have to be directly connected or exactly the same as how people view you. They see that as two different things. Being natural is the best way to be.”

Apart from box office success, the actor also had a good run on OTT, with the web series Farzi and action flick Bloody Daddy last year. The industry is in a churn, Kapoor said, with people trying to figure out what projects will work on the big screen and what should go to OTT, should movie actors not do OTT and whether OTT actors can be loved on the big screen. “It’s something we will discover in the next four to five years,” he said, adding that his approach is to be part of “great stories”, where his characters and films leave a mark in people’s memories and minds.

Kapoor, who plays a rebellious cop in his next film Deva, said that while 20 years ago he was “just a kid” trying to do something he loved, things are different today. “Now, there’s a lot more to lose because I’ve gotten somewhere,” he said.

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