Subhash K Jha  Selects  Shahid Kapoor’s  5 Finest  Films

From  Ishq Vishq in  2003  to Kabir Singh in  2019, Shahid  Kapoor has given us some deeply etched  performances creating characters who were rendered interesting by the actor’s skills of  endearment. So  the Top 5

1.     Kaminay(2009):  One riff,  two  Shahid Kapoors  …in that order. The Dhan tana nan ruff  from the club song  of that title was  far more popular than anything in this film . That  destiny-making riff seemed suspiciously ripped  off from Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s  opening riff in Lata Mangeshkar’s Haye haye yeh majboori  in  the film Roti Kapada AurMakaan. When I had  said this to Vishal  Bhardwaj he was alarmed back then. But  it seems true. Also true  is the fact that Shahid  created two characters Guddu and Charlie without  resorting to  props or  gimmicks. It is one of the most nuanced double roles in Hindi cinema since Dilip Kumar’s Ram Aur Shyam.

2.     Haider(2016): Playing Vishal Bhardwaj’s kinky version of Shakespeare’s  Othello and that too in the midst of Kashmir’s militancy was  dangerous.  That Tabu and Shahid play the mother and son torn by the agonizing disappearance of the man they both love (the late Narendra Jha, a surprisingly well cast actor in a role that is more about absence than presence) is a blessing for Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare. I don’t think any other two actors could have better understood the political, cultural and emotional complexities of their characters.Tabu and Shahid get a firm grip on their characters and pitch their emotional compulsions into Kashmir’s tormenting tale of terrorism during times of oedipal impulses. Their performing range hits the highest octaves without getting shrill.  Towering luminous actors craning their collective creative necks into the director’s vision to give it mesmerizing magical spin. Shahid’s torn troubled tormented Haider  brings out all the inner conflicts in a shimmering rush of Shakespearean angst. With this one performance, Shahid proves himself notches above many of  his contemporaries. 

3.     Jab We Met(2007):  It’s not easy for any actor to hold his own when the heroine has  the  author-backed role. Not every Suchitra Sen has a Sanjeev Kumar to  give her tit for tat. But in Jab We Met Shahid created his own Aandhi , made his quiet impact  besides Kareena Kapoor’s jabbering velocity. He  allowed his silences to  speak. Not that he  had  any choice.  Kareena talks. Shahid listens. His is the tougher less ostentatious performance characterized by pain and anguish as opposed to the impetuous exuberance of his better-half who seems to float on verbal  velocity. 

4.     Udta Punjab(2016):   Feral Frenetic, riveting,hypnotic, hallucinogenic and altogether incredible we had never  seen anything quite like  Udta Punjab before. Playing the subversive rock star Tommy Singh , Shahid Kapoor  is seen zonked out of his mind most of the time, screaming expletives  and hurling abuses  that  would make  Kabir Singh blush. It’s a high-intensity  performance brought to mega-fruition by an actor not afraid to enter the unlit pitch-dark interiors of  the   human consciousness.

5.     Vivah(2006): I will go with  Vivah as  Shahid’s fifth finest rather than the overrated Kabir Singh which was  a poor copy  of the same  director’s Telugu film Arjun  Reddy. Shahid’s character  was nothing more than a toned-down  version of his Tommy Singh in Udta Punjab. Whereas in Sooraj Barjatya’s Vivah Shahid explored a completely newsanskari  territory tiptoeing through  line  after line of  tradition-bound treacle, oozing sweetness and bonhomie, speaking to his elders with his eyes lowered, asking his  future wife for a glass of water as if he was  suggesting…never mind!  All this without even a hint of irony. Now,  that required herculean volumes of  acting talent.Take  a bow, Shahid.

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