think of myself as a general store, where everything is available. You’ll get anything you want. Shahid Kapoor gets candid.
How do you feel when you look into the mirror these days?
I’m shooting for a new film now, so the look and the hair is different. Those six and eight pack abs were for Kaminey and Chance Pe Dance.
Do girls ask you to take off your shirt?
(Laughs) It has happened a couple of times. I look down or look away because it’s embarrassing... but I won’t deny that I like it. In Chance Pe Dance, Ken (director Ken Ghosh) and I had to create some shock value. That was the eight-pack. It got me a lot of ‘Whoas!’ Girls seem to like me a little more now.
Are we talking about any girl in particular here?
Sorry, I’m not going there.
Does having an eight-pack make you feel more like a man?
I won’t be politically correct and say it doesn’t really matter. Yes, it’s a great feeling.
Was six-pack Shah Rukh Khan the role model or eight-pack Aamir Khan?
Honestly, it was neither since I had not planned on either a six or an eight pack. Kaminey needed a raw, rough look, while Chance Pe Dance an aesthetic, chiselled body. For a year, I worked out with my trainer keeping both requirements in mind. It was Ken who, after looking into the monitor, pointed out that I had an eight-pack. It took me by surprise, but when others agreed, I realised he was right. You could say it happened by chance.
What was the biggest challenge getting there?
Getting the last four packs. It’s easy developing your upper abs but losing fat in the lower half happens only last. Also, it’s more difficult when you are a vegetarian.
Did the abs help you as a dancer or add to your performance as an actor?
They were for purely for visual effect and aesthetic appeal. I didn’t build them to prove a point to anyone. For me, the greatest actors in the world are Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Dilipsaab (Kumar) and Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) who have a body of work rather than a body to show.
Your dad, Pankaj Kapur, has also relied more on performance than physical appearance. What was his reaction to the macho image?
Dad understands that in this new space the look is as much a part of the job. He reacted with a wry smile and an “achche lag rahe ho beta.”
How is your look different now?
In Parmeet’s film I’m playing a regular 22-year-old, so I didn’t need a bulky body. Parmeet saw me at a show earlier this year and was worried. We were going to start shooting in 45 days and he wanted a boy next-door. He got it. Personally, having an eight-pack is a high but professionally, I cannot be obsessed with it. I’m an actor not a body builder. Still, it must be heartbreaking to lose it just when you got it? I’m a fitness freak now, I can get it back in three months.
How do you feel when you look at your old films now?
I’m not going to run away from an Ishk Vishk or a Vivah. I don’t mind going back to a love story. I think of myself as a general store, where everything is available. You’ll get anything you want.