When Shahid Kapoor debuted in 2003 film Ishq Vishk, only a handful people remembered him as the Complan TVC kid or the love-struck guy in pop band Aryans’ music video “Aankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra”. But the film’s success made the entire nation sit up and take note of him. Ishq Vishk struck a major chord with the youth for being a college romance which had Shahid dance, romance and do everything that a lead actor of a candyfloss rom-com was required to do.
Shahid’s next few years and films relied heavily on his dancing prowess, giving us some hits and several flops. It left him with the tag of a dancer-actor. But, given his current position in Bollywood, did we ever imagine back then that he would end up being the same man who will deliver critically acclaimed films like Kaminey, Haider and Padmaavat?
Shahid Kapoor might have been a star-kid, but that did not help him. He paved his own way. He is the same actor who, between 2003 and 2007, projected himself as a thorough entertainer. He did films like Dil Maange More, 36 China Town and Fool & Final, and all we remember of them today is its foot tapping songs and Shahid’s perfect moves. But how long could he impress the audience with his dance and boy-next-door charm?
Unlike others, Imtiaz Ali saw the talent in him and gave him Jab We Met in 2007. That became the first milestone in Shahid’s career. Playing a troubled businessman on a journey of self-discovery, it turned the spotlight on Shahid’s acting prowess for the first time.
Vishal Bharadwaj helped boost Shahid’s filmography with Kaminey, where the actor played a double role of brothers who were poles apart, giving him a chance to portray two characters in one film. The movie obviously got Shahid a lot of accolades and several nominations at award shows.
But as they say, Bollywood is a battleground and taking risks is not everyone’s cup of tea. Shahid couldn’t change his film slate and went back to doing the same old ‘naach-gaana’ in films like Kismat Konnection, Chance Pe Dance, Phata Poster Nikala Hero and R… Rajkumar. While his career kept braving the stormy seas, many even began to write him off. But it was Vishal Bharadwaj one more time who showed faith in him and signed him in Haider, based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. His part of a man seeking his roots and revenge was dark, much against Shahid’s comfort zone. But he pulled off Haider Meer with so much conviction, that his critics readily forgot his past duds and welcomed him back with open arms.
Post 2011, he began taking his life and career seriously. He became choosy, taking up only content-driven films. This meant his chocolate-boy image took a back seat as he resurrected his career.
In 2016, Shahid delivered one of his best performances so far in Udta Punjab. This controversial film heavily relied on him despite having an ensemble.
Shahid repeated his intense avatar in last year’s Padmaavat. This was his first period drama and he pulled it off well. It isn’t easy to find a place between director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s favourites – Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. But Shahid did. From Udta Punjab’s loud and lousy Tommy Singh, he switched to the restrained and poised Maharawal Ratan Singh. Though his last Batti Gul Meter Chalu fell flat at the box office, he did try to bring a social issue on-screen.
Today, he is no more just a dancing machine. His fans still love his smile and his comic timing, but he has moved way beyond that. He is now a secure actor.
We are waiting to see what he offers in Kabir Singh. Here’s wishing Shahid Kapoor, a very happy birthday!