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Mud sequence remains one of the most painful I have ever shot: Shahid Kapoor

Kapoor talks about not caring for box office numbers, working with Vishal Bhardwaj, shooting with Kangana Ranaut and more in an interview with Cinestaan.com.

Mayur Lookhar

In the run-up to Rangoon's release, the talk has been mostly gossip like Kangana Ranaut not getting along with other cast members, particularly Shahid Kapoor, the team shooting in adverse conditions, Ranaut hogging the limelight, etc. Talk about the film per se has been limited.

Critically-acclaimed director Vishal Bhardwaj is ready with his next, Rangoon, a period drama film starring Saif Ali Khan, Ranaut and Kapoor. While Saif is busy tending to his newborn son Taimur Ali Khan, director Bhardwaj has been largely missing from the promotions. 

"Vishal sir is among those filmmakers who lead from the front. Unfortunately, such filmmakers get so engrossed in work that they can’t promote their own film," Kapoor defended his director.

Dressed in a light brown half-sleeved shirt, black trousers and sporting a funky hairdo, Kapoor looked in great shape, and eager to talk about Rangoon.

Rangoon is Kapoor's third film with Bhardwaj after Kaminey (2009) and Haider (2014). Talking about their equation, Kapoor said, "Working with him is an extremely enriching experience. I don’t think anybody knows anyone beyond a certain point. There is a lot that we have understood about each other. In an another interview, Vishal Bhardwaj said that he and I (Shahid) could look at each other from a distance and still know what is needed to be done. I don’t know what it is, but Vishal sir and I feel like a good fit. That has only improved with the work that we have done." 

The duo has worked together in three critically-acclaimed films, but what's also common between them is that neither the actor nor the director has given a Rs100-crore plus hit. "I don’t care about it anymore. What’s the point in running after something which you don’t know how to achieve? You have to run after the craft, you cannot run after numbers," he said.

"Every film that has been performing at the box office in the last two years has performed completely differently from what the expectations were. You see the direction in which content is headed today, there are no rules. When you do a film, you need a script. You either think that here’s a story that needs to be told, while the other question is how much money will it make? Can anyone answer that question today? So, why should I ask myself a question which no one else has an answer to. These can be answered only when the film releases," added Kapoor.

The Rangoon trailer has been received positively, the highlight being Kapoor and Ranaut’s intimate scene with their bodies covered in mud. "We were shooting in January. It was very cold. We had 20 kgs of mud on us. And every time we had to be wet before the shot. So, it was not an enjoyable experience. I fell ill for a week. However, it looks beautiful when you see the film. It’s one of the nicest scenes in the film. But it remains one of the most painful scenes I have ever shot.”

Talking about Ranaut revealing 'dirty' details about how Kapoor had a running nose when he kissed her for the film, Kapoor said, "Kangana has a very vivid imagination. That’s all I can say."

When asked what attracted him to Rangoon, Kapoor, who plays a soldier Nawab Malik, said, "I just heard the script and I want to play this guy. I wanted to understand how someone can be so bound by duty, and so passionate about something that they put it ahead of everything. So, I really think Nawab Malik is more a soldier than the lover. He stumbles upon love and he’s actually pretty bad at it (love).  The funny thing is that he’s a soldier of the British army. So, in a way, he’s working against his country (India).”

In an interview to a sports channel, Kapoor had disclosed that when he was child, how Saif joined him for a game of cricket, but the Nawab that he is, Saif didn’t let the bat off his hands. Now that he’s grown, is it time for a role reversal?

Kapoor says, "I think there's great fun in bowling and fielding as well. There’s no harm in doing a bit of everything. I said that like a compliment. He was very good at cricket. I was in my college whereas Saif was already a star then. So, when he used to walk out, we used to say 'Saif Ali Khan batting karne aa raha hain'. We used to view him like that."

Before taking up Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati, Kapoor has done intense roles in Haider (2014), Udta Punjab (2016) and now Rangoon (2017). Each role has had its own challenges, but was also exhaustive in nature. 

“From Haider to Udta Punjab to Rangoon… tiring, but all amazing opportunities. The tougher the opportunities, the more you have the opportunities to soar, to discover yourself. If you want to get better at what you do then you have to up your game. These films have definitely helped me up my game. But I guess I am who I am because these films came my way. I do feel tired in many ways. I feel emotionally tired. Hopefully, after Padmavati, I’ll do something lighter. Well, I said the same after Rangoon though,” said Kapoor.

One thing common about Haider, Udta Punjab and now even Padmavati is how the three films have had their fair share of controversy. Haider, in particular, was deemed as an anti-Indian Army film by few former army personnel taking to social media to urge people not to watch the film. Bhardwaj had directed the Shakespearean drama (based on Hamlet) set in the backdrop of the Kashmir struggle. 

We asked the actor his views on the criticism, but Kapoor was in no mood to turn back the clock. 

He said, "I don’t want to talk about a controversy that happened in 2014 when I’m facing a new one in 2017." Kapoor was referring to the controversy over Shree Rajput Karni Sena disrupting the Padmavati shoot in Jodhpur.

“Today, every second film  is facing a controversy. With all due respect, everybody’s perspective needs to be heard. That is what a democracy is all about. Everybody’s point of view should be discussed. People have the right to express themselves. But how you express yourself, defines your culture,” he said.

The first thing that strikes you about Rangoon is the title, which brings back memories of Shamshad Begum and C. Ramchandra’s classic song 'Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon' from Patanga (1949). So, did Mira Rajput (Shahid’s wife) call him singing this song?

"I tried very hard to get through, but she used to fire me, asking what kind of job I was in where she couldn’t speak to her husband. First there was Udta Punjab, which happened right before I got married. Then I told her that for 10 days I need to get into the character and she was like, 'What? Excuse me.'" 

Kapoor revealed that Rangoon would have a revised version of 'Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon'. "We have a revised version. I think it is probably one of the reasons why Vishal sir named it Rangoon. Because we have a period film, so it kind of draws from that." 

Rangoon is set to be released on 24 February.