Shahid Kapoor is tremendously charged about his next project, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider … so much so that he has not charged the filmmakers his usual fee for a film. The actor explains, “When we heard about the project from Vishal sir, we felt we wanted to be as true as possible to the film; and we didn’t want the pressure of my remuneration to curb us. We wanted to put all the money in the film; and I feel it was the right decision.
Motivating the actor was the fact that the Shahid-Vishal team has worked successfully earlier. As Shahid points out, Vishal had given me the best role of my life so far in Kaminey and it’s amazing to get an opportunity to work with him again.
Shahid plays the title role in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, which is about the melancholy Prince of Denmark who seeks to avenge the death of his father and has a troubled relationship with his mother. Shahid enthuses: “I am very fortunate to be get the opportunity to play a character based on Hamlet which is a very rare opportunity that very few actors all over the world have got. I feel very, very lucky.”
The actor acknowledges it is a difficult role and says, “It’s very difficult to prepare for the role but I had lot of support from some fantastic actors which helped me a lot. Being in the same frame with actors like Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan was a huge learning experience for me.”
Vishal, who has earlier helmed adaptations of other Shakespearean plays in Maqbool and Omkara, was Shahid’s mainstay. The actor reveals: “The only reason I thought maybe I will be able to pull off this is because I have Vishal directing me. I spent a lot of time with him and he really helped me through the entire journey. This is one role which makes you feel very inadequate as an actor. Every day when I use to go on the set I use to feel that I am not good enough to play this role.”
Shahid says he immersed himself in his role. “I don’t think you can switch on and off when you play a role like this; you need to stay in that zone. We were very lucky to shoot in Kashmir as it has a certain energy which is unique.”
The play is dark, and the film’s promos also captures the tense mood of the story but Shahid dismisses such concerns. “I think we are so used to heightened reality, which is really bright and nice and colourful and honestly not like real life, that when we see something real, we feel like it is dark,” he posits. “I think Shakespeare talks about relationships which are the most real and honest.”