“People have this desire to live vicariously through an actor,” remarks Sharad Kapoor who has been a stalwart veteran villain of the Indian film industry. “Actors are the most popular people in India because they connect with the masses.”
Kapoor, who has worked with some of the best actors in Bollywood, has created his own buzz in the industry by playing antagonistic characters in films such as Josh, Lakshya and Dastak. While on a personal trip to Lahore, the 36 year-old actor told The Express Tribune that he has learnt how to strike a balance between his on and off-screen life.
Differentiating reality from make-believe
The actor has played the quintessential villain in many films such as Josh, a film which earned him the nomination in the Best Villain category at the Filmfare Awards in 2001. Currently, Kapoor is gearing to start shooting for a yet unnamed film directed by Pooja Bhatt. However, despite his negative roles, the actor thinks fame depends on the person you are in reality. “The biggest thing for an actor is to be a great human being. If an aspiring actor is arrogant, he can get by for a couple years but people will have issues with him in the long term,” says Kapoor. “Everyone has the right to enjoy fame, but one should always have a perspective of the work they are doing.”
According to Kapoor, on-screen success doesn’t really translate into public approval. Justifying his belief, he quoted the example of many actors who have tried to earn and retain the title of ‘King Khan’, but the honour keeps circulating amongst a few individuals. Kapoor says that previously, Shahrukh Khan was generally considered the ‘King’, however, in recent times, Salman Khan’s success at the box office has generated rumours that he may be the new King of Bollywood.
“How you relate to the public is heavily dependent on the human being you are,” claims Kapoor. “The media is responsible for making an actor’s image but this can change when the actor starts interacting with the public and the reality is revealed.”
Winds of change
Kapoor explains that the recent growth of Bollywood and the change in storylines has proved profitable for the Indian cinema. He quotes the example of Ra.One, which had 4,000 prints screened in theatres across India. “The budgets are bigger now so changes are taking place,” says Kapoor. “The biggest issue regarding the industry is that we are lacking originality. We are preferring western ideas but I personally believe we should get back to our roots.”
The actor adds that Hollywood producers have developed an interest in Bollywood, so the trend of catering to a more global audience has developed. The film fraternity is also seeing growing diversity in storylines, which have moved away from traditional family-oriented ‘rom-coms’ to modern and trendy romantic themes. The willingness to incorporate political themes in films is also apparent in recent Bollywood projects such as Aarakshan.
“We don’t have a problem with critiquing our politicians in India; we can say whatever is in our heart,” explains Kapoor. “Films are the main entertainment for the general public and I must say they have been very receptive to the changes in movie themes and styles.”
The actor cancelled a vacation in Cuba to attend a wedding in Pakistan, where he had a chance to meet Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, as well as several other personalities. Aside from that, he took time from his visit to interact with journalists at the Press Club in Lahore, as he is of the view, that cultural exchange and cross-border collaborations are important to improve relations between the two countries.
Kapoor has also maintained close ties with many Pakistani actors including Moammar Rana, who starred in the Bollywood film Dobara opposite Mahima Chaudhary. Like many actors and singers who have taken their work to India, Rana also got a warm response from the audience there.
Kapoor explains that actors are always selfish when it came comes to work; they take their skill wherever they see a market for it.
His views regarding the Pakistani film industry is that there is not enough infrastructural support for the industry. Kapoor believes that lack of technological help and theatres in Pakistan, is why talented actors such as Rana have had to struggle.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.