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Shahid Kapoor

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Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor at Big Star Awards.jpg
Kapoor at the BIG Star Entertainment Awards in 2014
Born (1981-02-25) 25 February 1981 (age 34)
New Delhi, India
Other names Shahid Kapur
Ethnicity Punjabi
Occupation Actor
Years active 2003–present
Spouse(s) Mira Rajput (m. 2015)
Parent(s) Pankaj Kapur
Neelima Azeem

Shahid Kapoor (pronounced [ʃaːɦɪd̪ kəˈpuːr]; born 25 February 1981), also known as Shahid Khattar, is an Indian actor who appears in Hindi films. The son of actors Pankaj Kapur and Neelima Azeem, Kapoor lived with his mother in Delhi after his parents split when he was three. He moved to Mumbai at age 10, and five years later he joined Shiamak Davar's dance academy. He appeared as a background dancer in films in the late 1990s, and went on to feature in several music videos and television commercials.

Kapoor made his film debut in 2003 with a leading role in the romantic comedy Ishq Vishk (2003), a sleeper hit for which he won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. He followed it with roles in a series of commercial failures, including Fida (2004) and Shikhar (2005), before starring opposite Amrita Rao in Sooraj R. Barjatya's highly successful family drama Vivah (2006). He earned nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for portraying a troubled businessman in Imtiaz Ali's romantic comedy Jab We Met (2007) and twin brothers in Vishal Bhardwaj's caper thriller Kaminey (2009). He then appeared in a series of box office flops, before starring in the action film R... Rajkumar (2013), his first commercial success in three years. Kapoor portrayed the Hamlet character in Bhardwaj's critically acclaimed drama Haider (2014), for which he won the Best Actor award at Filmfare.

In addition to acting in films, Kapoor supports charities, hosts award ceremonies, and has featured as a talent judge on the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Reloaded. He regularly features in listings of the most attractive Indian celebrities.

Early life[edit]

Shahid Kapoor was born on 25 February 1981 to actor Pankaj Kapur and actor-dancer Neelima Azeem.[1] Kapoor's parents divorced when he was three years old; his father shifted to Bombay (and married the actress Supriya Pathak) and Kapoor lived in Delhi with his mother and maternal grandparents.[2][3] His grandparents were journalists for a Russian magazine, and Kapoor was particularly fond of his grandfather: "He would walk me to school every single day. He would talk to me about dad, with whom he shared a great relationship, and read out his letters to me."[2] His father, who was then a struggling actor in Mumbai, would visit Kapoor in Delhi once a year on his birthday.[2] When Kapoor was 10, his mother, who was working as a dancer, moved to Mumbai to work as an actress.[2]

In Mumbai, Azeem went on to marry the actor Rajesh Khattar.[3] Kapoor continued living with his mother and Khattar, until they separated in 2001.[3] Kapoor continues to use the last name Khattar on his passport.[4] He has a maternal half-brother from his mother's marriage to Khattar.[3] From his father's marriage to Pathak, he has two paternal half-siblings.[5] Kapoor was educated at the Gyan Bharati School in Delhi and Rajhans Vidyalaya in Mumbai.[6] He later attended Mumbai's Mithibai College for three years.[7]

Kapoor was interested in dance from an early age, and at the age of 15, he joined Shiamak Davar's dance institute.[8] As a student there, Kapoor appeared as a background dancer in the films Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and Taal (1999), in which Davar served as choreographer.[8] During a stage show at the institute, Kapoor performed in the songs "Vogue" and "GoldenEye" to a rapturous response from the audience; Kapoor described that moment to be the first time he "felt like a star".[8] He later became an instructor at the institute.[8] During this time, Kapoor accompanied a friend to an audition for a Pepsi commercial featuring the stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji, but went on to get the part himself.[2] He subsequently appeared in other television commercials, and also featured in music videos for several performers, including the band Aryans and the singer Kumar Sanu.[9] Kapoor also worked as an assistant director in his father's television series Mohandas B.A.L.L.B (1998).[9][10]

Acting career[edit]

Early work (2003–05)[edit]

Kapoor in 2004

The producer Ramesh Taurani noticed Kapoor in the music video "Aankhon Mein" and called him for a meeting.[11] Taurani found Kapoor, who was 20 years old at the time, too young and underweight to become an actor and asked him to wait it out for two years.[2] Kapoor was subsequently approached by the director N. Chandra to play a parallel lead role in the sex comedy Style, but he turned down the offer in hopes of working with Taurani. Meanwhile, Taurani contracted Ken Ghosh to direct a teenage romance, entitled Ishq Vishk, for his company and recommended Kapoor for the lead role. Kapoor, who trained extensively for a bulkier physical build, was eventually selected.[11] Before beginning work on the film, he attended acting workshops with Naseeruddin Shah and Satyadev Dubey.[9]

Ishq Vishk, which released in 2003, tells the story of Rajiv Mathur, a teenage student who engages in a romantic affair with two classmates of contrasting personalities (played by Amrita Rao and Shenaz Treasurywala). Kapoor was attracted to the idea of playing a character with "shades of grey" since it was a departure from the traditional portrayal of a Hindi film hero.[12] Writing for The Hindu, critic Ziya Us Salam said of Kapoor: "He has inherited his father's face and his mother's lips. That means he is no hero material, not yet – boyhood seems to have overstayed on his face – but he is not necessarily bad in the acting department."[13] The film proved to be a sleeper hit at the box office and won Kapoor the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut.[14][15]

Following the success of his debut film, Kapoor reuinted with Ghosh in a film he considered to be drastically different from Ishq Vishk.[14] The thriller Fida (2004) featured him as a lovestruck student who is manipulated by a woman (Kareena Kapoor) and her lover (Fardeen Khan) to rob a bank. Despite criticising the film, Rama Sharma of The Tribune wrote that Kapoor "shines in his role. He looks fresh. As an impulsive emotional and innocent guy, who is sucked into crime because of these very qualities, he manages to evoke your sympathies."[16] Later that year, Kapoor appeared in the romantic comedy Dil Maange More in which he was paired opposite Soha Ali Khan, Tulip Joshi, and Ayesha Takia. Patcy N of praised his dancing skills but wrote that he "tends to imitate Shahrukh Khan a lot. He does it well in some scenes, overdoes it in others."[17] Both his 2004 releases were commercially unsuccessful.[18]

The series of poorly received films continued in 2005, when all three of Kapoor's films failed at the box office.[19] His first two releases that year were in the comedies Deewane Huye Paagal and Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!, both of which were largely panned.[20] In a review for the former, Namrata Joshi of Outlook termed Kapoor "colourless" and criticised his pairing with Rimi Sen.[21] His final role was in John Matthew Matthan's drama Shikhar, co-starring Ajay Devgan, Bipasha Basu and Amrita Rao. Critic Sukanya Verma found Kapoor to be miscast as a village boy in the film, but added that he was "never short of spontaneity and youthful exuberance".[22]

Breakthrough (2006–09)[edit]

Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor pose for the camera
Shahid and Kareena Kapoor at the audio launch of 36 China Town in 2006

In 2006, Kapoor played opposite Kareena Kapoor in two films—the thriller 36 China Town and the comedy Chup Chup Ke.[23] In 36 China Town, a whodunnit from the director duo Abbas–Mustan, Kapoor played one of the seven suspects in the murder of an heiress, and in the Priyadarshan-directed Chup Chup Ke, he played a depressed man who pretends to be deaf and mute. The former was his first commercial success since Ishq Vishk.[24] Greater success came to Kapoor later that year when he starred alongside Amrita Rao in Sooraj Barjatya's romantic drama Vivah, a film depicting the journey of two individuals from engagement to marriage. Made on a small budget of 100 million (US$1.5 million), the film earned over 530 million (US$7.8 million) worldwide, and proved to be Kapoor's highest-grossing film to that point.[25][26] Reviews of the film, however, were negative; Raja Sen termed the film a "nightmare" and wrote that Kapoor "isn't offensively bad, doesn't ham it up like crazy, or speak in a weird accent. Having said that, he isn't an actor at all, standing around working on his boyish grin, simply chewing up the scenery. No screen presence at all."[27]

Kapoor found no success in his first release of 2007—the ensemble comedy Fool & Final.[28] However, his second release that year, the Imtiaz Ali-directed romantic comedy Jab We Met proved to be one of the top-grossing films of the year.[28] Co-starring Kareena Kapoor, the film tells the story of a troubled businessman whose life undergoes a series of changes after he encounters a loquacious girl on a train ride. Ali thought that Kapoor's previous roles failed to do justice to his true potential, and approached him with the role to provide him an opportunity to play a layered character.[29] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN said, "Despite the risk of being overshadowed by Kareena, his co-star in the film, Shahid Kapur leaves an indelible impression with a performance that is understated and mature, and indeed the perfect foil to Kareena's boisterousness."[30] For his performance, Kapoor received his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor nomination.[15]

After featuring opposite Vidya Balan in the romantic comedy Kismat Konnection (2008), Kapoor played twin brothers, one with a lisp and the other with a stutter, in Vishal Bhardwaj's critically acclaimed caper thriller Kaminey (2009).[31][32] In preparation, Kapoor met speech specialists and researched on the medical and mental aspects of the two conditions.[33] He also worked on creating a different physique for the two brothers, a process that took him a year to accomplish.[33] Writing for Variety, critic Joe Leydon wrote that Kapoor "impressively displays sufficiently variegated degrees of emotional intensity to sustain the illusion of two distinct characters. Just as important, he provides each sibling an appropriately elevated hunkiness quotient."[34] listed Kapoor's performance as the best by a Bollywood actor in 2009 and he received a second Best Actor nomination at Filmfare.[15][35] Kaminey earned over 700 million (US$10 million) worldwide.[26] Kapoor's final release of 2009 was as a cricketer in Dil Bole Hadippa!, a romantic comedy co-starring Rani Mukerji, which was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival but was a financial failure.[36][37]


Kapoor with co-star Priyanka Chopra at a promotional event for Teri Meri Kahaani in 2012

In 2010, Kapoor reteamed with Ken Ghosh in Chance Pe Dance, a comedy-drama about a struggling actor, in which Kapoor's performance was described as "uneven" by Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis.[38] He had a supporting role in Paathshaala, a drama starring Nana Patekar, following which he starred in Yash Raj Films' Badmaash Company, a comedy-drama about a group of overambitious youngsters who become con men. Rachel Saltz of The New York Times praised Kapoor's look in the film, though Tushar Joshi of Mid Day found him to be a miscast.[39][40] Kapoor's fourth and final release that year was Satish Kaushik's romantic comedy Milenge Milenge, opposite Kareena Kapoor, a production delayed since 2005.[41] During its production in December 2004 at Phuket, Kapoor requested for a delay in filming to attend the premiere of Dil Maange More. The hotel that the crew was supposed to stay in was subsequently destroyed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the delay thus potentially saving their lives.[42] With the exception of Badmaash Company, none of these films performed well commercially.[43]

Kapoor next appeared in his father's directorial Mausam (2011); co-starring Sonam Kapoor, the star-crossed romance set over a decade, took two years to complete. Considering the film to be his "dream project", Kapoor did not take on additional work while filming for it.[2] For his role as an air force pilot, Kapoor trained to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon.[44] Rajeev Masand reviewed that "while he doesn’t quite cut it as a convincing IAF pilot, Shahid Kapoor is terrific as the small-town brat".[45] The film was a box office flop; Kapoor later said, "I usually do not regret anything in life, but in hindsight, I wouldn’t want to do that again. I really don’t want to be in that situation again."[46]

The following year, Kapoor took on another romantic role in Kunal Kohli's Teri Meri Kahaani, co-starring Priyanka Chopra. It tells the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers who are reincarnated in three different eras. Filmfare reviewed that "Shahid and Priyanka give it their best shot, but their charm doesn’t make up for the absence of a genuine kahani [story]".[47]


Kapoor promoting Haider in 2014. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the film.

The comedy Phata Poster Nikhla Hero from director Rajkumar Santoshi was Kapoor's first release of 2013. His role was that of Vishwas Rao, a struggling actor who masquerades as a policeman. Critical reviews on the film were negative, though Kapoor's performance was praised.[48] As with his last few releases, the film earned little at the box office leading trade analysts to question his commercial appeal.[49] This changed later that year, when he starred in Prabhu Deva's action film R... Rajkumar; despite a negative critical reception, the film earned over 995 million (US$15 million) worldwide, becoming Kapoor's highest-grossing release.[50][51] In a scathing review, Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV called the film a "massive mess" and wrote that Kapoor "ends up looking more moronic than macho" in it.[52] Kapoor suffered an accident during the filming of R... Rajkumar when a chemical spilled on his back and hands leading to burn injuries.[53]

Kapoor next reunited with director Vishal Bhardwaj to film Haider (2014), an adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet set during the Kashmir conflict of 1995, in which he played the titular role opposite Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor. Kapoor described the film as the "toughest" of his career, and waived his fees to star in it.[54][55] For the role, he shaved his head and learned to speak in a Kashmiri dialect.[56][57] Haider garnered critical acclaim, though was controversial among Hindu nationalists for its portrayal of the conflict in Kashmir.[58][59] Writing for Hindustan Times, critic Anupama Chopra wrote that Kapoor initially seemed uncomfortable in the complex central role, but added that he "slowly [...] comes to inhabit Haider, veering from rage to jealousy to madness in a heartbeat."[60] Kapoor won several awards for the role, including the Screen Award, Star Guild Award and Filmfare Award for Best Actor.[61][62][63]

Kapoor began 2015 by featuring as a talent judge on the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Reloaded.[64] He then starred opposite Alia Bhatt in Vikas Bahl's Shaandaar, a romantic comedy about two insomniacs who fall in love during a destination wedding.[65][66] The film failed at the box office.[67] As of January 2016, Kapoor will feature in Udta Punjab, a thriller on drug abuse from director Abhishek Chaubey, alongside Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.[68] He is also filming Vishal Bhardwaj's Rangoon, a drama set during World War II co-starring Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut.[69]

Personal life and off-screen work[edit]

Kapoor performing on stage in 2014

During the filming of Fida in 2004, he began dating Kareena Kapoor and they both publicly spoke of the relationship.The couple separated in 2007 during the filming of Jab We Met.[70] Since their split, Kapoor decided to keep his personal life away from media attention.[71] However, tabloids speculated on his relationship with several other actresses, including Vidya Balan and Priyanka Chopra.[72] Though he denied to speak of the rumours, Kapoor confirmed his relationship with Chopra much after they had separated.[73]

In March 2015, Kapoor spoke of his impending marriage to Mira Rajput, a student from New Delhi, who is 13 years his junior.[74][75] The Times of India reported that Kapoor met Rajput through the religious group Radha Soami Satsang Beas.[76] The couple married at a private ceremony in Gurgaon on 7 July 2015.[77]

In addition to acting in films, Kapoor supports charities, performs on stage and hosts award ceremonies. In 2006, he participated in a world tour, entitled RockStars, in which he performed alongside Kareena Kapoor, John Abraham, Salman Khan and three other celebrities.[78][79] In 2010, he took part in a charity event named Superstars Ka Jalwa, which helped generate money for the employees of the Cine and Television Artists Association (CINTAA).[80] Also that year, he lent his support to the NGO Swayamsiddh, which helps children with special needs.[81] The following year, he adopted three villages in support of NDTV's Greenathon, an initiative to support environmental consciousness and improve electricity supplies to rural areas.[82] In 2012, Kapoor helped revive the Victory Arts Foundation NGO, founded by Shiamak Davar, which helps underprivileged children through dance therapy programs.[83] From 2010–12, he co-hosted three Screen Awards ceremonies with Shah Rukh Khan, and from 2012–14 he co-hosted three International Indian Film Academy Awards with Farhan Akhtar.[84] Kapoor practices vegetarianism, and credits the author Brian Hines' book Life is Fair for influencing this lifestyle choice.[85][86] He supports the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organisation through advertisement campaigns.[87][88]

In the media[edit]

Kapoor at the Mood Indigo festival in 2009

The journalist Dave Besseling of GQ, in 2014, described Kapoor as "friendly, chirpy, affable frat-boy type. Someone you’d want to play video games with on a Sunday, but keep the hell away from your sister".[89] However, certain media publications have labelled Kapoor a recluse and have criticised him for being arrogant and temperamental.[90] Vickey Lalwani of Mumbai Mirror wrote in 2012 that this perceived media image hindered certain filmmakers from approaching him for parts.[91] Addressing this image, Kapoor said, "I know I have a reputation that is not so flattering, but I guess I owe it to just being a private person. [...] I just don’t socialise much, I don’t party too much, I don’t know what to say to the media if I’m not talking about a film that I am doing, so yeah, maybe I am perceived as a snob."[90]

Analysing his career, the entertainment portal Bollywood Hungama published that his "boy next door persona" was initially perceived by critics as a weakness, but credited him for turning it into a trademark.[20] Jitesh Pillai of Filmfare wrote that having established a niche in urban romantic roles, Kapoor defied typecasting by choosing to star in genres as varied as action films to crime dramas, leading to an unpredictable career trajectory.[92] Following the success of Jab We Met (2007) and Kaminey (2009), Kapoor's career went through a decline. He described that period as a series of "wrong choices" and said that taking on a challenging role in Haider (2014) helped him reinvent himself.[93] Sonal Gera of The Indian Express opined that the film established him in Bollywood.[94] In her book Power of a Common Man, the author Koral Dasgupta writes that Kapoor does not "[conform] to any fixed rules of the trade", and notes that despite having a lopsided success ratio at the box office, he remains popular among the audiences.[95]

Kapoor is considered one of the most attractive male celebrities in India. He regularly features in the British magazine Eastern Eye's listing of the "50 Sexiest Asian Men in the World"; in 2012 and 2013 he was ranked fourth, and in 2014 he came in fifth.[96][97][98] He was ranked fifth on The Times of India's list of the 50 most-desirable men in 2014.[99] From 2012–15, he featured among the top 50 in the Indian edition of the Forbes' "Celebrity 100," a list based on the income and popularity of India's celebrities, peaking at the 15th position in 2015.[100] Kapoor is the celebrity ambassador for several brands and products, including Elf Aquitaine and Colgate.[101]

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ "Dual identities". The Times of India. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
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  9. ^ a b c "All smiles and success...". The Hindu. 26 May 2003. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
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