Shahid Kapoor is all set to con you Friday, May 7th in Badmaash Company. The YRF production was directed by Parmeet Seethi and also stars Anushka Sharma, Vir Das and Meiyang Chang. In yet another new avatar, the young actor takes on the role of Karan who, according to Shahid, goes from simple boy to Badmaash during the 4 years of the film. Check out what Shahid had to say about the film, his co-stars, his many disguises and much more!
What can you tell us about the script of ‘Badmaash Company’?
I remember when Adi called me about the script I asked him who is the director? He said, I will not tell you who the guy is because if I tell you will get influenced. He just told me that the director is also the person who has written the script, dialogues and the screenplay. When I came to read it he had also removed his name from the first page!
When I started reading it, by the end of ten pages I was hooked. I found it extremely fresh, extremely young, extremely entertaining, very simple yet very effective. Obviously the film is about con jobs, it’s called Badmaash Company! It’s about four characters – Karan (Shahid Kapoor), Bulbul (Anushka Sharma), Chandu (Vir Das) and Zing (Chang). These 4 are the four people who come together to form the Badmaash Company and perform all the con jobs. They are an extremely relatable foursome. If you are a group of 5-7 people, each one of you will be able to identify with one of them. The cons are so simple, I was irritated that I did not see them! They are there in front of your face and you don’t see them. It takes a con artist like Parmeet Sethi to see them and come up with scams like that! I am so scared of him now, if he can think of such scams!! Very interesting characters, extremely fresh dialogues, con jobs which I have not seen in any other film, but yet very easy to understand. Not complicated at all. Very fun film, there was no reason why I shouldn’t be doing it. So, when I went back to Adi I told him you know that you have given me a very, very good script to read! He just smiled and we were on!
Who is Karan?
Karan is from a lower middle class family, his father works in a regular 9 to 5 job. Karan is different. He always says, “Meri mehnat ka fayda sirf mujhe hona chahiye”. He doesn’t want to lead a mundane, boring life, he wants to do something which is different. He wants to start his own business; he does not want to be employed by anybody else. He is quiet, he is an introvert, he is somebody who had a very sharp brain, but he does not show it. He can think of things that other people don’t. He also feels the burden of his father’s expectations and the financial constraints his family faces. That is the start of Karan. During the course of the movie, there is a big change in him. He turns from a boy to a man. He turns from an innocent boy to a bad guy, a Badmaash! Ya, so for me the most challenging part was to be able to portray four years of the life of a simple guy who starts of as any guy next door and who later becomes very different.
How close is Karan to Shahid?
Not much. Except that we are both ambitious.
The film is set in the 90s. What kind of research was done?
We spent a lot of time deciding the look and styling of the film. We wanted it to represent the 90s correctly, but at the same time we did not want it to look boring. It is also very important for a con job film to look slick, and we wanted to maintain that. So, we researched on the scenario of the 90s, and used them in the film. For example, we used clothes that were in fashion like high waisted jeans, simple t-shirts which used to be tucked in, the aviators, which were all in vogue. Also, the calculator watch that was very much in fashion at that time, has been used in the movie. The film starts in 1994 and goes on for five years. I was about 13 years old in 1994, so I was old enough to observe things. It was quite memorable!
How was it working with your co-stars?
I don’t think this movie would have been what it is without the other three. All of them have done so well for themselves. I have learnt so much from them even though they are relatively newer than me. Anushka has done Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Vir had a small role in Love Aaj Kal, and for Chang it is his first film! All of them have done an absolutely terrific job. The film would not have been complete without their contribution. Anushka is doing something so different from her first film, I am very happy that for her second film, she chose this script. Inherently, it is very easy to repeat something that has been successful but she is breaking the mould and I really appreciate that about her. She is a very natural actor, very unassuming, she just goes with the flow which really works for her. Chang was a revelation for me. He is really, really good in the film. When he gives a shot, you feel like he has done nothing, but when you see it on the monitor, it comes across perfectly. I told him that he had found the right career for himself, because he is really good. For Vir, I initially thought he was wrong for the film! He has this American accent, but is supposed to be playing a very desi character, so I thought he was totally wrong! But the beauty is that now I cannot see anyone else as Chandu. He has gone through a huge transformation, and pulled off the character of a boy who wants to be an actor brilliantly. Whenever he would come on set he would be wearing those waistcoats from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and we would start singing ‘dulhe ki saaliyon hare duppate waliyon’. But it’s so nice to see all of them do such good job, who are just starting out but are so natural, so candid and so confident. I don’t know if I was so confident when I did my second film, so yea, great job by all of them!
What about the director, Parmeet Seethi?
There are not many directors who write their own script, it’s pretty much his baby since he has written the dialogues, screenplay, the entire script! A huge credit must go out to him because its amazing to see how he has come up with these extremely smart, but simple con jobs. I think he has come up with an awesome script. Any director who can write well, will definitely be clear about what he wants. He’s a person who wants honesty from his actors. If ever you give a shot that you are performing, and not being honest, he is very good at spotting it. And I as an actor love working like that, I try to find that honest moment, I believe that if I give a shot honestly, somewhere it will connect with the audience. He also has a great team working with him. For a first time director, who has acted for so long, he had a great DOP, great set of assistants, great production team, which made a huge difference and helped him better his work and talent. But at the end of the day, its his vision and his conviction, kudos to him for it.
What about Sanjay, the director of photography?
Sanjay is the happiest man I know! He is laughing Buddha for me. There was never a time he was not smiling. He came smiling on the set and continued to smile even if you told him we had to shoot at night and there are no lights. That’s the most unbelievable quality. I don’t think this movie would have been possible without him. There were many instances of difficulty and trying times; we had restrictions on timing, permissions, lights but he really kept the unit happy, he kept them going. We would want to do even more work, but he would never complain. He would never say something like “we don’t have more light we cannot take another shot”. He would say “get your shot, we will do what we can”. That’s the best attitude a cameraman can have. Given that he has not done so many films; he has a reputation to take care of. But he chooses to be a team player. It’s a huge quality for a DOP to have.
What’s your opinion of Pritam’s music for the film?
Pritam has never let me down. He has always given me great music. He did Jab We Met, Kismat Connection, Dil Bole Hadippa and now this film. I love all the songs on this album. I think it’s very massy and very hummable; they are very groovy and fit for clubbing which were required for a con-job film. Right from the youth to everyone, would be able to connect with it, which is very important for a film like this. This is a film that is fit for every kind of audience, which will connect with anybody and everybody. So we really needed to have music that would bring out that quality and would be popular. So yea, Pritam has done a great job as always!
Do you have a favorite song?
It is difficult to choose one, but when I see the film, I like ‘Fakeera’. It is my favorite song within the film. Visually, it is the most emotionally relevant and poignant song in the film. But from the album, I like ‘Chaska’ and ‘Jingle-Jingle’.
How was it working with Yash Raj Films?
I have already said this, but YRF is made of a set of really professional people who know what they are doing. They have some very efficient people who bring in a lot to the film. For any new director, it is a great asset to work with a production house like Yash Raj, because you know that there is a certain amount of quality as far as production and organization is concerned. You also have the guidance of a person and producer like Adi (Aditya Chopra), who is a creative man. He is also a director so he understands the perspective of a director. I have always had a lot of fun working with Yashraj, I have no complaints (I hope they have none against me!). I had a lot of fun during Hadippa, I had a lot of fun with this one too. It’s always great working with YashRaj.
This film has been shot extensively in 2 foreign locations. How was it working in those schedules in US and Bangkok?
I just remember that the schedules seemed very long, but only on paper! It was fun working with everyone. We got used to be with each other all the time. Even when the shoot got over, we always hung out, got to know each other. It took a few days for everyone to warm up to each other, but once the bonding happened it was all good. The good thing was that everyone got along. And that’s how it needs to be since it helps with the onscreen chemistry. US was fun, Philly was nice. The Bangkok schedule was fun, I love going to Bangkok. But ,we all were positive and motivated to finish the film despite the restrictions we faced every now and then.
Did you gamble?
No, because we did so many shots of gambling that by the end of it we had had enough of gambling! I think we were there at Atlantic City for 7 days, but none of us gambled! We did so many shots of gambling, we never had time to gamble!
Did you ever play a prank on anybody?
Yea, I had a fight with my friend and I told him that I’m shooting in Dubai so he should come and see me. But I was actually at home in Mumbai. And he actually flew to Dubai to see me but had to come back the next day obviously.
Tell us something about your disguises…
The disguises are actually the best part of the film, I had so much fun doing them. We actually did all 8 or 9 disguises within 3-4 days! It was so exciting to do so many, by the end of it we actually ran out of ideas! Vidya dada who is on make-up, was responsible for all them. I just had to sit patiently and he made it all happen. He did a brilliant job, all the credit goes to him.
What about working with your choreographer?
You always do rubbish in front of the camera and he always makes it look so good. That’s Ahmed Khan for you. He somehow manages to make things work in the worst of circumstances, he takes brilliant shots. He is also a team player, he brings so much positivity on the set and just brightens everything up. He is a great person, great at his job, great energy and very sincere. I have done so much work with him that as a professional, I have absolute blind faith in him. If he tells me to stand on my head, I will, because I know he will make it look good. It was an absolute pleasure working for him.
You have an intimate scene in the film. How comfortable were you?
As great as it might look on screen, it is very uncomfortable experience for the actors. There are many people on the set, but its just another day at work and that’s how you have to look at it. The reason that I did it in this film was because both the situations that come in the movie are very cute and happen in the life of every teenager.
Tell us about the night swim in Pattayya:
Yeah, it was fun, Parmeet didn’t join us because he wanted to go back and work out and eat spaghetti and sleep because he was disciplined. But everyone else was in the water having fun!
Is there a moment or shot in the film that you particularly like?
There is a scene in the film where I call up my mother after a really long time from a phone booth and I cry. That was my last shot in the America schedule and it was shot at 5 in the morning. To me that’s a special shot because it was a very honest shot.
Shahid along with rest of the crew are ready to give you a great time at the movies so be sure and check out Badmaash Company. We wish them all the best of luck!