'People have misunderstood my father, Shakti Kapoor'
He is the son of veteran actor Shakti Kapoor, and finds himself in the company of Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, and Manoj Bajpayee in his debut film Shootout at Wadala.
No wonder Siddhant Kapoor looks a little nervous, though excited as well, about his first airing in Bollywood.
Sitting in his plush home in Mumbai overlooking Juhu Beach, Siddhant in his first and exclusive interview talks to Sonil Dedhia about his debut film, his relationship with his father, and why he wants to follow in his father's footsteps as an actor.
You approached the director Sanjay Gupta for a part in Shootout at Wadala, your very first film.
Yes, when I heard about the film, I could actually imagine playing the various characters from the earlier film Shootout at Lokhandwala.
I met Sanjay Gupta and requested him to let me be a part of the film. He offered me the role of a sharpshooter.
Was this the first film offer you have got?
No. I was offered the remake of Satte Pe Satta, Haal-E-Dil and I also gave my screen test for Mani Ratnam's Ravaan, but things were not falling into place.
Is it true that you were rejected for Satte Pe Satte because your father doesn't share a good equation with Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan?
All these are just rumours. Sanjay Dutt and my family have been very close.
Salman Khan had an issue with my father about which I don't want to comment. I share a different equation with him. I have grown up in front of him and actually played in his arms.
I think he is one of the nicest people alive. I guess Salman is much more misunderstood than my father.
Image: Siddhant Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor and Shivangi Kapoor
'I have always been fond of grey characters'
You play a grey character in Shootout At Wadala.
Yes, I play the character of a sharpshooter in the film who gives unnecessary gyan (knowledge) to people. That's why my character is called Gyanchod in the film. He is part of Manya Surve's (John Abraham) gang and is its sharpest shooter with the sharpest tongue.
How are you preparing for the role?
I am watching a lot of Korean films and also some Hollywood films like Goodfellas, The Departed, Shooter. I have also read the book Maximum City to prepare for my character.
Are you trying to follow in your father's footsteps by playing negative characters?
Yes, I want to play grey characters for two or three films, which is also performance oriented. Today, we don't have a typical villain in our films.
I have always been fond of grey characters more than the typical chocolate boy hero who would dance and run around trees. At the end of the day, the script and my performance matter the most.
Image: Siddhant Kapoor
'My friends freaked out when they saw my father as Crime Master Gogo'
Did you take any formal training in acting?
I went to New York and did a course at Lee Strasberg in 2003, which taught me a lot of method acting. I also did a filmmaking course in London where I learnt how to use lights, setting up the camera, editing and other technical things related to films.
After coming back, I assisted Priyadarshan for two years. I did four films (Chup Chup Ke, Bhagam Bhag, Dhol and Bhool Bhulaiya) and some advertisements with him.
What you learn in a school is completely different from what you do in practice. Working with him gave me a lot of confidence and also helped me get a lot of experience and exposure to films.
Did you always want to be an actor?
I wanted to become an actor but I actually realised only a couple of years ago what I wanted to do as an actor.
When I was in school I took part in a lot of plays and did a lot of theatre. I always saw myself being an actor, but I was not sure what kind of films I wanted to do.
I also wanted to be a sportsperson. I played football and cricket at state level.
So what kind of films do you want to do?
I am not much of a fan of commercial films. I would like to do real cinema. I like the kind of films being made by directors like Anurag Kashyap, Sriram Raghavan, Tigmanshu Dhulia and a few others.
I will be exploring commercial cinema but that will be some time later in my career.At the end of the day, I would like to experiment with the characters that I play but only if I am comfortable with it.
Image: Shakti Kapoor in Andaz Apna Apna
'I have already made my debut, with Judwaa'
While growing up, were you a big fan of your father? Would you discuss his performances with your friends?
We used to discuss my father's performances in his movies but not on a very serious note. My friends and teachers would ask me if I had visited the sets or had met any stars but I guess that is normal.
I remember when my father played Crime Master Gogo in Andaz Apna Apna all my friends in school freaked out.
Was there any time during your schooldays when you were asked to imitate your father?
There was a famous incident that happened in school. I guess I was in ninth grade and was acting in a play. I had to play the role of a father who was rude. I imitated my father's character from Judwaa and, just like him, I also spoke my dialogues with a lisp. Everyone loved it. I always wanted to copy my father.
In fact, I have already made my debut, with Judwaa. I played the younger character of my father in the film.
Were you at any point of time embarrassed by your father's performance?
No, not at all. But I have been teased by my friends where they would call me Nandu, the character that my father played in Raja Babu. I would just go with the flow, joking around and would give it back to them. I never took these things personally.
Image: Siddhant Kapoor
'My favourite performance of my father is Mahansangram'
Would you accompany your father on the sets?
I would often visit the sets with my father when I was around 10-11 years old. I remember visiting the sets when he was shooting for Mahasangram, Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri, Coolie No 1 and others.
I would go there just to hang around on the sets. I was star struck with actors like Govinda, Madhuri Dixit, Jeetendra and many others.
Would you look in the mirror and mimic your father?
I guess that happened all the time. Not only my father, I would also imitate other Bollywood actors. My sister (Shraddha Kapoor) and I would do a lot of mischief by imitating actors. My mother would film all our nonsensical stuff and would show it to my father. We had a lot of fun.
Image: Siddhant Kapoor
'My father was paid a lot more than others to be on Big Boss'
What is the one thing that people don't know about Shakti Kapoor?
A lot of people have misunderstood him. Most of the time what he says is not what he means. He has been a very caring father and husband and has provided us with every possible thing that we demanded.
The world had a misunderstanding about him but I guess after his stint in Bigg Boss (the TV reality show), people look at him in a different light.
So, would you agree that he went inside the Bigg Boss to change his image?
No, not really. I'll be very honest: he agreed to be a part of Bigg Boss because of the kind of money that was offered to him. He was paid a lot more than the other participants. The producers wanted him to be a part of Bigg Boss for the last three years.
He also wanted to prove to his children that he can live without alcohol, and I guess he proved himself.
My family never knew he was going to be a part of Bigg Boss. He told us after he signed the contract or else I wouldn't have allowed him to go in.
I didn't want any more controversies attached to his name. I was really scared when he entered the house because there were 16 girls and one guy. My family thought that this might create another controversy with my father, but I guess he handled himself really well inside the house.
Image: Shakti Kapoor
'I would like to remake Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri'
Which is your father's favourite performance?
I think it has to be Mahasangram where he played the role of a contract killer.
I just love the ending sequence of the film where he is running at Haji Ali and gets killed. It's just fantastic. I don't think any scene like that has ever been made in Bollywood. That was one of the first few films that showed a different era of gangsters in Mumbai.
Which is the one film of your father's that you would like to remake and act in?
It has to be Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri with me playing my father's character and my father playing the character that was portrayed by Kader Khan in the film (laughs).
You were alleged to have consumed drugs at a party in 2008 and detained by the police, but you were cleared. Tell us about the incident.
I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was there for professional reasons and had not gone to party. I was a deejay and I was doing my job.
I was down with high fever and I had not consumed a single drop of alcohol. When the police raided the premises, I was eating my food. All my tests were negative.
I think the media needed someone to hype the news. If I hadn't been Shakti Kapoor's son, I would have been any other guy who was caught up in the incident. No one would have bothered about me.
The incident put a lot of pressure on me. I was depressed and didn't go out of my house for two weeks. I was embarrassed and hurt and would often see my name being flashed on all the news channels.
I hadn't done anything wrong and I have come out clean from everything.
Image: Siddhant Kapoor