Jersey actor Shahid Kapoor: ‘In the Hindi film industry, we struggle to find good stories’
Actor Shahid Kapoor says he was looking for an emotionally intense story after the success of his latest outing Kabir Singh and I found that in Jerseya redemptive drama of a former cricketer taking up batting again for his son.
The 41-year-old actor – who has won both commercial success and critical acclaim with films such as Ishq Vishk, Jab We Met, Vivah, Kaminey, Haider and Kabir Singh, among others – said his goal was to entertain the audience with a story. which is sprinkled with romance, emotion and has its fun moments.
“After doing ‘Kabir Singh’, I wanted to find a story that could give the audience a complete experience. People come with expectations after you give them an experience that stays with them, which was ‘Kabir Singh’. I worked very hard to find a subject that had the emotional potential and the story to stay true to people’s expectations,” Shahid told PTI.
Kabir Singh, directed by Sandeep Vanga Reddy, was a remake of the 2017 film Arjun Reddy. The Hindi version received mixed to negative reviews from critics, but it turned out to be one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of 2019.
Jersey would be the second film where Shahid is working on a remake, but the actor believes that good content travels through time, regardless of the language or culture in which it is set.
“I think within the Hindi film industry we struggle to find good stories. It’s important to recognize the fact that today a real star or superstar or someone who connects widely with people would be the kind of person who collaborates with the right kind of content creators,” he said, crediting the OTT boom with opening people up to stories of all kinds.
Jersey and Kabir Singh may be emotional stories, but they are also different from each other.
“He has the same kind of emotional depth that the love story of ‘Kabir Singh’ had. ‘Kabir Singh’ was actually a modern aggressive version of ‘Devdas’. He is a man who destroys himself out of love for someone… The only difference is that the man is reactive and aggressive.
“(But) Arjun is a family man. I could very well identify with Arjun, I am a family man and I have been married for seven years. I understand what comes with marriage, in terms of relationships, responsibilities, how it changes you from being a boy to a man. All of your priorities and considerations are guided by the greater unity, you don’t feel like an individual,” said the actor, who is married to Mira Rajput and shares two children with her.
What resonated most with Shahid about Jersey was the character’s sense of demotivation and disconnection, emotions he struggled with in real life like any other actor going through career ups and downs.
“I went through times where I felt disconnected, unmotivated and was able to connect with it (this movie). I wondered if I could ever get to a place where I could choose the job I want do or should I choose from what is there in front of me and say yes because I can’t sit at home. These are very difficult times. And in those times, you either give up or you don’t. no. That fire (passion) never went away,” the actor recalls.
Shahid said he learned from his life that it is important to “wait” for the right moment with a positive mindset.
“When the right time comes, I’ve seen everything change in a minute. I’ve seen that happen in my life and to the people around me. And I have a lot of respect for people who are able to do that. Everyone’s destiny is different and we have all faced different circumstances. Having the right attitude and waiting for the right moment also teaches you a lot. It makes you a much more complete person. Jersey is a remake from the Telugu film of the same name starring Nani and Shraddha Srinath and is directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, who had also directed the original.
Shahid said he saw ‘Jersey’ a week before ‘Kabir Singh’ was released and wanted to tell this story in Hindi cinema, but people advised him not to play the role of a family man or a father after his role as a student and an aggressive character.
The film’s story, the actor said, stayed with him.
“I’m very proud of ‘Jersey’, it’s a film close to my heart because I’ve been through many stages in my career. I have films where I’ve played crazy characters, like Tommy Singh in ‘Udta Punjab’. If this movie can make people feel what I felt, it will give them a lot of hope. When I saw the movie, I felt that I could pursue my dreams.
There have been many delays along the way due to the pandemic as the film’s release has been pushed back. Shahid admitted that there were times when they had to deal with the feeling of “being pushed and bogged down by our reality”, but it was the spirit of the film that kept them alive.
“It’s a two-year journey of fighting out of our circumstances.” The film is now set to be released on April 14.
Also starring Mrunal Thakur and Pankaj Kapur in key roles, Jersey is presented by Allu Arvind and supported by Aman Gill, Dil Raju, S Naga Vamsi.
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