'There are 31 million houses without electricity.'
Shahid Kapoor, who is awaiting the release of Batti Gul Meter Chalu, says it is important for mainstream actors to be a part of socially relevant films so that the message reaches a wider audience.
The actor said his films Haider and Udta Punjab were appreciated because they dealt with contemporary issues.
"Haider was about human rights, which is a massive issue in Kashmir and in the north east states, then I did Udta Punjab, which was about the drug issue," he told reporters in Mumbai.
Set in a small town, Batti Gul Meter Chalu revolves around the problem of electricity.
"I feel proud to be a part of this film. One would think it (electricity) is a small issue, but it is not for others."
"As actors if we can represent those issues, it would be good as we have the opportunity to say something nice otherwise we will lose the chance."
"We are not making a documentary film as it will never reach anywhere. So you have to make it entertaining and take mainstream actors so you can reach out to wider audience," Shahid added.
Batti Gul Meter Chalu is directed by Shree Narayan Singh who helmed the Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet - Ek Prem Katha..
"The issue of electricity is there both in small and big cities. There are 31 million houses without electricity. Also, there has been a sudden rise in bills due to the privitisation of electricity. It is an important issue," Shahid explained.
"I had no idea about the sanitation issue, it is a rural issue. Shree Narayan Singh's film Toilet - Ek Prem Katha was educational for me."
The idea to make Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Singh said, came from Producer Prerna Arora, who was planning to make a film called Roshni and Singh fell in love with the idea and told his writer duo Siddharth-Garima to work on it.
"We talk about progress in our country but nothing much has happened," Singh said.
"I am from a small town and I know what has happened. Like in a village called Rampur, there is electricity, but not in anyone's house," the director added.
Working in two hero films, Shahid said. is not an issue for him. "I have worked with Diljit Dosanjh in Udta Punjab, Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon, Ranveer Singh in Padmaavat. Divyendu Sharma has an important role in Batti Gul Meter Chalu."
"It is essential to chose the right films. We need to go beyond these limitations. I want to be a part of good films."
Talking about his half brother Ishaan Khatter, who is basking in the success of his Dhadak, Shahid said he is such a good actor that he doesn't need his elder brother's support.
"Ishaan is such a good actor that he doesn't need my support. He is fine without me."
"He did not call me for the success party. I saw the photos on Instagram."
"I wasn't invited, I messaged him today after watching his after-party pictures. I messaged him saying thanks for letting me know and he replies, 'I wasn't sure if I want to call anybody'," Shahid added.