6 Times When Shahid Kapoor Nailed It

With Kabir Singh  being what  it  is—namely a  vilified blockbuster—it is easy to  forgive  Shahid  Kapoor’s torrent of transgressions such as  Fida, Deewane Huey Pagal , Fida, Fool & Final  , Kismat  Connection…oh  the  roster of  bilge is  bulgy…But Shahid has  also done memorable work. Here’s celebrating the ones  that  matter.

1.     Vivah(2006): Here was  a film and a role  that could’ve sunk horribly into the morass of self-righteousness. The hero Shahid and the heroine Amrita Rai had  to  speak to each other  as though they were endorsing mineral water  . No one in this godly film asked for  pani.It was always  jal.   Shahidpulled off the astonishingly flat  role  of an ideal son, ideal  brother , ideal brother-in-law, ideal suitor….yawn! He managed to make the sanctimonious  look  interesting. Slow clap.

2.     Jab We Met(2007): We all know this film belonged to Kareena  Kapoor with or without the Khan. Yet how brilliantly Shahid’s quiet contemplative  character  countermanded the  excessive exuberance  of   Kareena’s Geet. Shahid played a near-suicidal man who discovers  there  is  life  after a  bludgeoning  breakup .Every time Kareena  took centrestage Shahid gave her  the  right cues. No performance attains  a towering  durability unless supported by the co-star.  Kareena  should be  grateful.

3.     Kaminey(2009):  Shahid’s only double  role to date. Playing Charlie and Guddu in this overrated  film  , Shahid showed how a double  role needs to be done.With spirit spunk and  savoir-faire.  There was no attempt to  bring distinctiveness  into the  characters  through  physical traits. Sure , one of then  two  Shahids stammered. But even if he didn’t, we  wouldn’rt for a moment think it  was the same  actor doing both the  roles.  Never!

4.     Haider(2014): Though  the  finest performances  in this  strange  adaptation  of Shakespeare’s Hamlet came  from Tabu and  the late(and underrated)Narendra Jha(and the worst was  ShradhaKapoor hands-down) , Shahid  in  the title role  imbued his  complex and complexed character  of  an Oedipal rebel with a commanding  graph that took  the  protagonist into the darkest areas  of the consciousness.  Though Shahid overdid  one of  the film’s key monologues(perhaps we should blame the  director for it) this still ranks as a remarkably transformative  performance.

5.     Udta Punjab(2016):  Shahid’s Tommy Singh  in this  remarkably rich study  of  moral dereliction  was a stark brutal  portrayal  of  an over-the-top  rock star who can’t think beyond his  libido and self-fulfillment.  Though  some of the character’s excesses were  not fully  executed by the actor this was  still  a performance worth noticing.Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and  Diljit Dosanjh clearly had an edge.But Shahid  edged in sideways.

6.     Kabir Singh(2019): After  an  utterly  overshadowed  performance in Padmaavat where he was  woefully miscast  and a vapid  star-turn in Batti Gul Meter Chalu  , Shahid is back. And how!  Playing the  reprehensible lout-lover and a doctor with more  need to heal himself than his patients,  he brings to the table  a howl and a hoot and then some more. It is a fearless performance, not on a  par with whatVijay Deverakonda did in  the  original Arjun Reddy . But nonetheless a performance that shows  a discernible  growth in the actor’s ability to go beyond the range that he  displayed in his earlier films.

Shahid  now  needs  to move ahead . He  has  the range. And he is  not  scared  of failing. But something invariably  holds him back from going that extra mile. Now is the time to crossover from ‘ummm’ to ‘wow’.

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