‘Love is a tricky thing’: Shahid Kapoor on ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’

One of the few actors to have successfully broken the image trap, Shahid Kapoor says it’s the actor in him who makes him the star he is

February 06, 2024 04:02 pm | Updated 04:02 pm IST

Shahid Kapoor in a still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’

Shahid Kapoor in a still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“The beard took time to grow!” remarks Shahid Kapoor as we talk about the long time it has taken for him to evolve from lover boy to an intense actor. After proving his versatility with several films and most recently with the OTT series Farzi, this week, Shahid returns to the romantic terrain with a sci-fi twist in  Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya (TBMAUJ) where he serenades a humanoid played by Kriti Sanon.

Shahid Kapoor in a still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’

Shahid Kapoor in a still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Edited excerpts from an interview:

Your face seems to have been made to evoke the innocence of romance... How do you deal with that?

I have been working for two decades. Even during the first 12-13 years of my career, there was an actor inside me that wanted to break out of any kind of typecasting that people tend to put you in. It took me a lot of time to convince people to not worry about how I look. I used to tell them, ‘Don’t go just by the face. I can be part of different stories and portray complex characters. Have faith in me and allow me to transform,’ and so on. Then I went on to discover different spaces with KamineyHaider and Udta Punjab.

Hindi cinema and its heroes were different when you started out...

When I started out in 2003, our mainstream films were very filmy. It was also the time when Aamir Khan had just begun breaking trends. He broke away from the typical choices that actors were making and he made them successful. I was inspired by it. After Jab We Met, when people saw me in this very specific kind of image, Vishal (Bhardwaj) sir allowed me to break the mould. He enjoys changing actors’ images. I had to work not just on my acting but also on changing the silhouette. I worked very hard to physically change myself from having a boyish face to a manly structure and raw look. Once that happened, it became easier for me to find performance-oriented films.

A still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’

A still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It seems you resist the trappings of stardom...

I believe I should be able to hold my own regardless of the tropes and that happens only if you have acting chops. My primary aim has always been to grow as an actor. I always feel that the actor in me makes me the star I am and not that the star in me provides me with acting opportunities. I believed in it from the beginning.

With TBMAUJ, you are returning to a space you freed yourself from...

Having done a lot of this and that, people come to me with different kinds of subjects. Doing something over and over again bores me. I was trying to break away and this film popped up and I found the concept quirky. It requires to be done right and it needs to fall correctly for the audience, otherwise, it can go very wrong. We have made what we set out to make. Within the genre, Kriti and I have tried to answer all our questions. It is an entertainer but a sensible one. It is a slice-of-life film that aims to take you a decade or two ahead of where we are today. You think that it can never happen but then that is life. It surprises you.

Was there any challenge in playing the younger you?

I don’t need to do much to do this! I asked myself whether I was repeating myself and if there was something new that I could offer in this space. I haven’t done something like this for a few years. I did play a college boy in Kabir Singh and at that time, I asked my wife if should I play a college boy. She knew about the Telugu version and she wanted me to do the role; she had to tell me that medical college students are a bit older and that pushed me to go for it. But throughout the film’s journey, I again realised that cinema has its own magic. It doesn’t matter beyond the frame. What matters is, within the frame, are you buying the idea? Is it sucking you in? Itna logic nahin hai, it is about a lot of heart.

A still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’

A still from ‘Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiya’ | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

How has the meaning of love changed for you over the years?

I have been married for eight years. So I am a little disconnected. Love has always been a tricky thing, isn’t it? Either you understand it or you don’t. I feel the understanding of love evolves as you grow in a relationship. With children, I am now understanding the different stages of love. It is no longer main tu aur hamari feelings (You and I and our feelings)

Teri Baaton Main Aisa Uljha Jiyareleases in theatres on February 9

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