And there he walks in with a huge smile. In his trademark blue denims and a blue printed tee, Shahid looked like one naughty kid entering a press conference. Now a man, and a bad one too (looking by his released films titled Kaminey and Badmaash Company), Kapoor is seen deeply sucked into the world of films. He has slight stubble which he confessed he has grown for one of the many look tests he is undergoing for his father’s directorial debut Mausam. He walks a few strides and then turns the chair around and sits with his legs widely stretched. That’s comfort for Shahid. He has no regrets and has left his inhibitions in the bin. That’s why you see him more relaxed today. He again breaks into laughter on the few questions being asked, then orders for some water, and as he is about to answer one of the any questions thrown to him, his father calls him on his mobile. Unlike other heroes, he picks the call up. Then you look at the journalists and they are fine with it. They are fine with the fact that they treat Shahid as one of them – street smart, wicked (sometimes), witty, mad and upfront. Today, as I see him sitting at an arm’s distance, I notice a different Shahid. I notice that he hasn’t changed. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent meets the man who dictates his own rules, creates his own rules and breaks his own – the sweet ‘kamina’ and an even sweeter ‘badmaash’ Shahid Kapoor. It’s con-fession time!
Kaminey and Badmaash Company. You’ve got a lot of bad names man!
(Laughs) I don’t know. Maybe my directors see a lot of ‘kaminapan’ and ‘badmaashi’ inside me. I’m happy and it’s fun playing a bad guy. I’ve not done it for many years since I began my career. Now I’m getting all bad guys roles because of Kaminey. Badmaash is a little less of a bad guy than a kamina (laughs). Kaminey‘s role was a lot more physical and quick. Badmaash Company sees me as more of a thinker.
Which means that you haven’t played a role like Badmaash?
Yes. I haven’t played a role like this before, of a scammer and of a con artist. It’s a genre that I really get excited about. Con films are rarely seen in Bollywood. I think films like Bunty Aur Babli was restricted in its conning. It was more of a small time con guys. Badmaash Company is a lot more believable.
Bunty Aur Babli was restricted in its conning. Badmaash Company is a lot more believable
How do con artists make money?
Con artists don’t make money through conning people. They make money because their ideas are bigger than their pockets. That’s why the line in the film goes – ‘Any business grows not because of the power of money, but because of a bigger idea’ which I believe in. Their big idea happens to be a scam and they pull it off. They believe that they are getting success through conning people and don’t mind pursuing it as their business. There is a reason why they do that. They want to break out of their normal life. A life of 9 to 6 jobs and all. They are young, enthusiastic and that’s why they want to do something unpredictable.
What was your interaction with Parmeet after you read the script?
I think Parmeet Sethi is a dangerous guy. He is a big con man. Watch out for him. But when I spoke to him after reading the script, he told me that all these con jobs were picked up from newspapers. He has taken the basic thought of every con job from a real incident and that’s why it is the biggest strength of our film as it looks believable. Plus, the film is also based in the mid nineties.
What about the nineties?
We used to get it the easy way. I mean, the whole customs act wasn’t introduced back then. Everything was sold in ‘black money’. So that time was very apt for this kind of a plot. System wasn’t well defined. It’s a lot more logical. We shot at the Hyderabad airport only to show that the Mumbai airport looked like this in the nineties.
So, you call yourself ‘lucky’?
A con job film based in the nineties, a youth oriented film, and I’m working for the first time with three new people. When I read the script, I found that it was innovative. I hadn’t come across characters like these, and con jobs like these. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be a part Badmaash Company. I’ve been really lucky in the last three years to have got one significant film each year.
Parmeet told me that all these con jobs were picked up from newspapers
How difficult is it shifting gears from Guddu to Charlie to Karan in Badmaash Company?
It’s great fun. I don’t want to play Shahid in different costumes. I hope I can break that. I want to do it once in a while. An actor can never be larger than the script. If the script provides you a base where you can attempt something new without taking it away from the subject, then one does that. I’m not established than the three Khans’ nor am I as new as the new ones. I’m somewhere in between. I need to balance things here. I can’t do things that are so different that people don’t understand. I have left all inhibitions behind and am ready to do diverse roles in my career now. This is the time in Bollywood that anybody can make a good film, anybody can be accepted and anything can work.
If you had to choose one role from your career, which role would you pick as your favourite?
Undoubtedly Kaminey. Then I guess Mausam will follow because it is the most challenging role as of now. Even my character in Badmaash Company was difficult to portray as I age five years in the film. That’s something I feel is difficult.
I’m not established than the three Khans’ nor am I as new as the new ones
Do you recall any incidents from your personal life where you’ve conned anyone?
Yes, all the time. I used to con my mother. I played cricket for six hours everyday. I have my man ‘Friday’ called ‘Mamu’ who is with me and was with my family before I was born. Mamu and I would always strategise how we will get the money out to repair the broken windows and we were successful all the time. I am an inherent badmaash. What I can’t do in real life is what I do in my films.