Shahid Kapoor Opens Up About Working for Free in Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Haider”

In a recent revelation, Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor, celebrated for his outstanding performances in films such as “Jab We Met,” “Kaminey,” and “Kabir Singh,” has shared insights into his decision to work without compensation in Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2014 crime thriller, “Haider.” Kapoor portrayed the titular character in this modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and disclosed why he chose not to accept any remuneration for his role.

During an interview with Film Companion, Shahid Kapoor candidly discussed his portrayal of Haider Meer and the surprising decision to waive his fee for the role. Kapoor explained, “I’m the only one who did it for free.” This statement shed light on the unique circumstance surrounding his involvement in the project.

Kapoor further elaborated that he declined a paycheck because his compensation demands exceeded the film’s budget. He said, “They couldn’t afford me. They said if they had to pay me, then the budget of the film wouldn’t get sanctioned because it was a very experimental subject.” Despite the financial constraints, Kapoor felt compelled to be part of this innovative cinematic venture, stating, “They really didn’t know if it would land at all, but it was a very compelling kind of product to make, and so I said, ‘Yeah, I will do it for free.'”

When questioned about whether he had undertaken similar projects without pay, Kapoor clarified that “Haider” was a unique exception. He explained, “It was the only time I did it. It just happened at that time. I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it, it’s okay.'” Kapoor, who is now a father of two, emphasized that working without payment was a one-time occurrence and not a sustainable practice, quipping, “Ghar bhi chalana hai (I have to take care of my household as well),” with a laugh.

Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, “Haider” featured Shahid Kapoor in the titular role, Tabu as his mother, and Kay Kay Menon as his paternal uncle. The film also starred Shraddha Kapoor in the role of Ophelia/Horatio and the late Irrfan Khan as the Ghost. Upon its release in 2014, “Haider” performed admirably at the box office, cementing Shahid Kapoor’s reputation as a versatile and dedicated actor in the Indian film industry.

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