Why he matters: Be it Sunny, Haider or Kabir Singh, the galaxy of his characters shines bright, making this actor’s tremendous influence on the Indian cultural landscape evident. Known for portraying a number of wildly different roles over the course of his career, Shahid Kapoor has redefined the Hindi film hero, illustrates Kaveree Bamzai.
As the heart and soul of Farzi, one of the most-watched Indian web series of all time, Shahid Kapoor could have rested easy. But this movie maverick chose to remake himself as a slick narcotics officer with a thirst for trouble, in Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bloody Daddy.
An actor who prefers to stay under the radar (when compared to his more showy contemporaries), Shahid’s work remains top-notch because he lays emphasis on the craft of acting, rather than the razzle-dazzle of red-carpet appearances.
Marking 20 years as a leading man is no small feat for someone who began as a background dancer. But Shahid, who spent his initial years in Delhi, away from his widely acclaimed actor-father, Pankaj Kapur, gradually transformed himself from a soft, romantic hero to an actor who could shoulder meaty roles in movies, often directed by the likes of premier filmmakers such as Vishal Bhardwaj and Imtiaz Ali.
While he already had a number of critical and commercial successes to his name, like Kaminey and Jab We Met, Kabir Singh in 2019 gave his career a phenomenal boost, especially among young Indians. And from Sunny, a small-time con artist discovering big-time forgery, to Kabir, the young doctor who loved and lived for Preeti, and, of course, Haider, Shahid’s innate ability to inhabit any character marks him out as one of the most talented actors of his generation, reminding the audience of his brilliance, every three years.
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