Not until he took off his shirt and ran with the horses in Kaminey. That was the beginning. Then came the split with then girlfriend Priyanka Chopra. Soon, everything changed. Suddenly, the boy who didn’t drink or socialise began partying. Hard. The guy who had longterm relationships was, within a short span of a few months, linked to Anushka Sharma, Bipasha Basu and Nargis Fakhri. The workaholic then took off for a vacation with his buddies. And finally, there was his “naked birthday” in Goa – a three-day pool party that began trending on Twitter after pictures of him and some babes in bikinis surfaced on the internet.
Shahid is suddenly sexy, with a fan following of 1.21 million on his micro blogging account. Singledom seems to suit him. Over a cup of cold coffee, he answers questions on love, life and the ladies…
You’ve become suddenly sexy! What’s changed? I’ve been sexy for a while (grins). Ever since I crossed 30, women have started taking me seriously. Until now, my target audience was school-going girls!
Does the sexy vibe have something to do with being single? No. I think it’s because I’ve stopped shaving for a while, so maybe the stubble is helping. And I think this unemployed vibe I have right now is working for me. When you have to work, you have to look proper, and you have time for very little apart from shooting.
There’s something different about you… I think I have changed over the last four years. Also, I’ve been living on my own and doing my own thing…
Haven’t you been living on your own for years now? Yes, I mean kind of…for the past six years I’ve had my own apartment.
What are the other changes? Oh God, you are asking me to analyse myself! I think I’ve become more relaxed and laidback. Earlier, I was very fixed in my ways. I used to only go with what I wanted. Now I go with what other people want and, it’s an easier ride. You have to believe in whatever you do workwise, but it’s wonderful to go with someone else’s vision because it’s liberating. As an actor, it’s a beautiful place to be in. And in my personal space, I’ve become more social…
What made you more social? Nagging ex girlfriends? No! (laughs) It’s just a natural change. I can’t define it, but I think with age you realise that I prefer being this way. I can’t analyse why.
Your former girlfriends call you boring! See, this is what happens when you don’t defend yourself and only one side’s version is put across. No one knew me, so they believed whatever they heard. I was always a well-behaved boyfriend, which I am not anymore.
Yes, you are the new bad boy, with lots of link-ups! That’s because I was in a very public relationship for a long time, after which I haven’t been in one. I also don’t talk about my personal life anymore, so everybody wants to know what the hell is going on. Since speculation is on, I’m being linked to any woman I am seen with. But nobody knows what’s really happening, which works for me!
You are happy being single? Very happy!
You always seemed to be a guy who preferred a relationship to a romp. (Smiles) I’ve kind of discovered myself in the last year-and-a-half. I’ve learnt to enjoy ‘me’ time and do stuff that I want to do. I haven’t been working much of late. In the last eight years of my career, I have worked on an average of 320 days a year. After Mausam, I was supposed to start a film but it got pushed to the end of the year, which left me unemployed. I am hating it, I’ve come to realise I love working. It’s my first love. I feel incomplete without it. The last I was on a set was three months ago. That’s really long!
You began working at 16, so you’ve earned a break! I am a workaholic. But this time-out has its plus side. I have had a lot of time with myself, friends, family and just chill. I have met lots of interesing people from different walks of life. I think I have experienced a lot more. As an actor you tend to live in a really small world which is not very healthy. It is enriching to go to new places, meet different people know and learn about things which you didn’t know about..
You took off for a holiday, too! Yeah, I did a holiday in Barcelona with three boys. We had a banging two-week vacation.
Pun intended? (laughs) Take it how you will, no it was the best boys’ vacation I have been on.
One gets the feeling that you are now easier on yourself. True? I am very passionate about what I do, I give it 200 per cent, and I don’t think it will ever change. But I’ve realised that as an actor you have to give it your best and let it go. That’s the most difficult journey and it comes with time. When you start out, there’s so much eagerness, excitement, and you want all that appreciation to come your way. But with time, you come to realise that you cannot chose to make things go in any particular direction. Every film has its own journey and it works/ doesn’t work for so many reasons… It’s important just to enjoy work without worrying about other stuff. I am at more peace with myself. I just go with the flow. I don’t judge myself all the time.
How do you remember Mausam? I always smile when I remember Mausam. The first memory of the film is that I got to spend two years with my family and work at the same time. My parents separated when I was very young so I never got that kind of time with my dad and the entire family. I am definitely dissatisfied with how it was recieved.
Cop films are big these days. Wanna wear a uniform and grow a moustache? I grew a moustache and are a uniform (air force officer) in Mausam. I have done 18 films, and have completed eight years in the industry. Now, I feel that, as an actor, I am ready to attempt everything – action, romance, comedy, an off-beat film, or even a full-on massy film, because I’ve learnt to enjoy these films. But there are still some films, that I don’t understand. They make lot of money and I wonder, ‘Yeh kya hai’?.
What kind of roles are coming your way? All kinds – from a rustic guy, to a mentally challenged person, to an underdog, to a politician. When they feel you are good in comedy, they offer you comic roles, and you choose the best. But it gets difficult when you are offered everything and it’s up to you to choose what kind of films you want to do.
That’s because you are considered a good actor. I thought I was okay in my first film, and then I was really, really bad in some films. I really cringe when I see some of my scenes. There’s a scene in one film where a dog is biting me, the expressions I have made should be qualified as the most over-acted scene in the history of the cinema. The dog’s expressions were more real than mine. I was going bananas!
Speaking of bananas… Let’s talk about your naked birthday… That is Atul Kasbekar’s fault, who decided to turn me into a calendar model. About 30 of us went to Goa. We booked the whole place, there were around 20 rooms; all my friends were there. We had a 24-hour DJ who played music from noon till 2 am in the morning. It was a three-day pool party. As for the girls in bikinis, they wore them for obvious reasons. (Grins) I requested everyone to be in their saris and pyjamas but they refused. Eventually, all of them wore swimsuits and shorts. I had a great time. It was the most fun birthday I have had. As the whole place was just ours, I could let myself go.
Your next film is with Priyanka. Any awkwardness? Not at all. It was all very smooth and comfortable.
You decided to work with PC and haven’t worked with your first ex Kareena Kapoor yet. How so? But we haven’t been offered a film together.Interviews Kareena Kapoor Mausam Priyanka Chopra Shahid Kapoor