Controversies hound Shahid Kapur ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News service

imageMumbai, (IANS) Box office success seems to be eluding actor Shahid Kapur while controversies and failures embrace him more strongly than ever.

Rumours are that Subhash Ghai, producer of "36 China Town", screamed at him and his girlfriend Kareena Kapoor at the film's party for ignoring mediapersons.

Talking about it Shahid told IANS: "I'd rather not give this importance. I drove down all the way from Nainital where I was shooting for Sooraj Barjatya's 'Vivah'. I drove for 10 hours to Delhi and caught a flight to Mumbai only for Subhash-ji's function."

"It makes no sense for me to run away without giving any interviews. Why would I come back all the way to Mumbai, tired out of my wits and run back before doing what I had come to do - talk to the media? It was a miscommunication."

Shahid says it was just a minor miscommunication, which the media blew out of proportion.

"We left when dinner was served because I had a very early morning flight for Sooraj-ji's shooting. Mr. Ghai's people rang up and said the media was waiting. We immediately turned the car around and returned to the venue... came back gave our interviews. That's it. There was no fireworks, no need for screaming headlines."

After "36 China Town", he has one more release - Priyadarshan's "Chup Chup Ke" where he is featured opposite real love Kareena again. But Shahid shrugs away the question of over-kill.

"The two films look very different from one another. I have always said if a product is good it'll do well. My first film 'Ishq Vishk' wasn't so much hyped. It still did very well, whereas my second film 'Fida', which was far better publicised didn't work.

"The size of the product makes no difference. The content does. I am very happy with both '36 China Town' and 'Chup Chupe Ke'."

He effortlessly slips into talking about his pairing with Kareena.

"It is true we haven't really had a successful film together. But at the end of the day, it is the product and not the stars who get rejected. People couldn't digest the negative ending. They wanted to see Bebo and me doing happy endings.

"In '36 China Town' and 'Chup Chup Ke' there are lots of sweet romantic moments, though neither is an out-and-out love story. 'China Town' has a love story, but it is a murder mystery. The driving force of Priyan's film is comedy. We must do a full-on love story together, if not for the audiences' sake then our own sake."

Shahid had great fun with both directors.

"Honestly as a newcomer it is a pleasure working with experienced directors like Sooraj Barjatya and Abbas-Mustan. They have worked with so many different kinds of actors. I feel I am in school when I work with them."

Shahid says he has a very cute role in "36 China Town" but he doesn't have too many scenes with Akshaye Khanna.

"But whatever work I had with him was enjoyable. He is an actor who likes to give other actors their space. I like that. Like Akshaye, I like to stay in my own thoughts and space when I am working. Of course, I have fun on the sets too. You have to find a common ground between work and leisure when you are on the sets."

As for Priyadarshan, Shahid said: "I am the kind of guy who'd always adjust to my directors. Every director has his own requirements. I like to go on the sets with an open mind. Fortunately I am working with directors I can trust completely. Priyan-ji does a very peculiar and particular kind of comedy. I remember after my first shot for 'Chup Chup Ke', I was sweating."

Shahid, who has only one comedy to his credit, is looking forward to 'Chup Chup Ke'.

"I have tried that genre only in Ananth Mahadevan's 'Dil Maange More'. 'Deewane Huey Paagal' was a comedy. But I had no comic scenes in it. I was the serious and boring one. Now I get to do comedy not only in 'Chup Chup Ke' but even in '36 China Town', I have quite a bit of comedy."

Shahid is confident about both films.

"I am hopeful about both, not over-confident."

Barjatya's "Vivah" is almost complete and the actor describes it as a sensitive film on arrange marriage.

"We have finished about 80 percent of the film. It is very much a Sooraj Barjatya film. It has just two characters principally - Amrita Rao and me.

"'Vivah' is an extremely sensitive film. We have seen hundreds of love stories. But none so far about arranged marriages. 'Vivah' shows what happens after two people have decided to get married."

Now he wants to pick films carefully.

"I am blessed to have so many different kinds of directors. But now I need to get even more choosy. I can't get away with one hit and three flops... not in this day and age.

"Today an actor has to take responsibility for every success or flop... I take responsibility for the failure of my last film 'Shikhar'. But I am proud of it."