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Vishal Bharadwaj and Shahid Kapoor decided to forgo their remuneration for their upcoming film

You often hear actors describing their film as “special” to promote it. But Shahid Kapoor was so sure that Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider is indeed “special” that along with the filmmaker he too decided not to charge any money for the film so that neither the budget is overstretched nor the quality compromised.

Confirming the same, Vishal told, “When he started planning the film, both Shahid and I agreed that it had to make money from day one. But, we also knew that Haider was a big film with a huge budget, an ensemble cast and lavish action pieces. Filming in Kashmir added to the costs. The only way we could succeed in our endeavour was not to burden the film with our remunerations. We kept the secret between us for a long time but it’s finally out.”

His hero’s selfless act and his commitment and passion for good cinema has impressed Vishal. After seeing him in action in Haider and before that in Kaminey, the perfectionist director is convinced that Shahid is the `finest actor in his age group’. “Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, has some really long monologues and so does Haider. Listening to Shahid deliver those wordy pieces on my headphones I was reminded of Naseer (Naseeruddin Shah) and Pankaj Kapur,” he says. Haider completes the Shakespearean triology for Vishal which started with Maqbool.”When I was making Maqbool, a contemporary adaptation of Macbeth, I didn’t know that I would go on to make Omkara (an Indianised version of Othello). It was circumstances which brought it about,” says Vishal, pointing out that after that he took a long gap from Shakespeare before picking up Hamlet. “A lot of filmmakers were also toying with the same subject but I guess I was destined to make Hamlet.”

There were rumours that he had planned Hamlet years earlier, with Irrfan Khan in mind, long before Maqbool. “No, it wasn’t my first Shakespearean drama or even my second,’ Vishal dismisses. “In fact, even when I was planning a third, the choice was between King Lear and Hamlet. And I chose the Prince of Denmark.”