“I Miss Playing The Stylishly Dressed Villain”
He has donned several hats in his Bollywood career spanning over more than three decades and 700 movies. From playing an onscreen baddie and later moving over to comedy, Shakti Kapoor has come a long way. Born as ‘Sunil Kapoor’ to a Delhi-based Punjabi family, Shakti doled out some memorable characters in blockbusters such as Qurbani, Himmatwala, Hero, Rocky, Raja Babu, Andaz Apna Apna and Chaalbaaz to name a few.
The famous dialogues mouthed by the villain-turned-comedian are etched in the memory of those who are from his generation. “Aaooooo Lolitha” from Tohfa, Nandu sabka bandhu from Raja Babu and “Main ek nanha sa pyara sa chhotta sa bachcha hoon” from Chaalbaaz are still talked about. From being a reel life villain, Shakti was touted as the real life villain when a video allegedly showing Shakti asking for sexual favour from an undercover reporter posing as an aspiring actress, in return for entry into the film industry, surfaced in 2005. Perhaps the darkest phase of his life, Shakti was banned by the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, which was lifted after a week, as the allegations were considered baseless.
Moving ahead with life the Kapoor boy, married to Shivangi, is now channelising his entire energy towards the career of his son Sidhanth Kapoor, a DJ-turned-assistant-director-turned- actor and daughter Shraddha Kapoor, an actress. Presenting below are excerpts from an interview of Shakti Kapoor to Raman Ahooja during former’s visit to Dehradun.
Out of 100 years of Indian cinema, you have been part of this illustrious industry for almost 30 years. How does it feel?
It feels great. When I started out, I was not sure that I would last this long. But hard work and of course the love of audience and excellent roles have made me a household name. I have seen more than three decades of changing cinema. It has undergone a massive transformation and I am lucky to be part of this entire process. My father was a humble man who had a tailoring business in the Connaught Place in New Delhi. Like a typical Punjabi boy, I too was expected to join my father in his business. Nobody from my family thought of getting into mainstream films. It was more or less a shocker for them when I announced my decision. But, thankfully they supported me throughout.
You started with small budget films and then moved on to big roles of main villain positioned against the leading man. What was it like being the most hated man in the film ?
I simply loved playing the negative character. I have attempted a large number of roles ranging from negative to even comedies. However, my heart still belongs to the negative character. I miss playing the stylishly dressed villain, like the one I played in Qurbani and Aatish—dressing up royally, wearing three-pieces suits, high boots, luxurious watches and driving around in imported cars. Those days’ negative characters had an edge to them. Even off screen they were seen as villains. In fact I have so many memories where kids were actually scared of coming up and meeting me. These days the leading heroes have hijacked the negative characters. From Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and even Aamir Khan everybody is grabbing the negative lead. Though they are doing good, but somehow lack the punch that villains had.
You have tasted success as both villain and comedian. What did you find easier to deal with and why?
Playing a villain and scaring away people is quite easy. But to deliver comedies and make somebody laugh is perhaps the most difficult task, as you never know the secret to tickle somebody’s funny bone. The characters like Nandu, Balma and their dialogues are spoken by children even today. I had a nice pairing with Govinda and Kader Khan. In comedy it’s all about having a perfect partner and matching the timings with him/her. Also, it takes years to find that right balance that matches each other’s pace and sense of humour.
Now that your son and daughter have both ventured into Bollywood, have you given them career advice or do you keep a tab on the movies they are signing?
Both my kids are mature and have a smart sense of choosing their career path in the industry. Shraddha is an independent girl who likes to take her own decision. She has never consulted me for any script or before taking up any role. It’s a good thing that she prefers to learn on her own. However, when they come to me for some I advice, I definitely give them frank opinion. Shraddha is working hard to groom herself for bigger challenges and Sidhant would be seen in a movie soon.
As a father how do you deal with the link-up rumors of your kids, especially now that Shraddha is rumoured to be close to her Aashiqui 2 co-star Aditya Roy Kapoor?
I have spent 30 years in this world and I know how things work here. These are all rumours and as a celebrity you are bound to be dragged into one or the other controversy even when you are not part of it. These things do not affect me as I am sure of my daughter and believe that whenever she is going to be in love, I will be the first one to know about it.
Any comeback plan in pipeline?
A lot of scripts are coming my way. But I want to get back into playing negative characters. I am on a lookout for a strong negative role for my next project. Unfortunately majority of the scripts coming my way are related to comedy roles, which I am tired of playing.