An actor doesn't have to become "big and brawny" to play an action hero, says Shahid Kapoor, who believes even a regular-looking man can appear tough on screen.
Shahid, who features in Ali Abbas Zafar's crime thriller "Bloody Daddy", said the film is the first out-and-out action movie of his career of over two decades.
"I have done action in the past like 'R... Rajkumar', 'Kabir Singh' is a love story but it had its beats of action. 'Haider' had a little bit of action and 'Udta Punjab' was a very intense character, but this is the first time I'm getting into proper action," the 42-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.
A remake of 2011 French film "Sleepless Night", the movie stars Shahid as Sumair, who faces off against Gurugram’s white-collar drug lords, deceitful friends, a ruthless crime boss, murderous narcs, and both corrupt and honest cops - all during one fateful night.
A character's look should justify the way it has been envisioned in the story, Shahid said.
"A lot of times people think that we have to do action, so we should look big. But that becomes like a predisposition. The story and the character has to fit into this scenario. If an actor thinks that they should look really big and brawny to do an action film, it's not true.
"It is what you bring on the table -- skill, understanding, performance, body language and the fluidity with which you fight... I just did what I felt would be right for the film."
According to Shahid, megastar Amitabh Bachchan had a long-standing career as an action hero but he is a "real looking person".
"There are so many films that we watch now where an actor looks like a normal guy. Most of the boys who do all the stunts are all very normal. But they're extremely fit.
"You see athletes today, none of them are big and brawny, they're very lean. Even in crickets, some of the biggest hitters are very lean boys. So I think we've kind of crossed those cliches and stereotypes."
Ali, who has co-written the screenplay with Aditya Basu, said he wanted an actor rather than a bodybuilder for "Bloody Daddy".
"There was a clear demarcation because the film has a very strong emotional thrust. I feel for the action film to have a penetration with its audience, you need to have a very strong emotion. If you don't do that, then it becomes a video game," the director said.
For Shahid, Ali is among the few filmmakers who understand the action genre well.
"I felt Ali was the right person to do action with. I'm very happy that we got to collaborate on this film. It's a titular role but there is an emotionality to the character. Everything he's doing is coming from a deep place of emotion and for me that's always more exciting," the actor added.
"Bloody Daddy" is heading for a direct-to-digital release on JioCinema, something the team had planned right from the start, Shahid said.
A movie being made exclusively for a digital release is not a new concept, he added.
"We were like, ‘Ok, we are doing an original OTT film, a direct-to-OTT film. It is a huge concept internationally. There is a perception among people that movies that audiences don’t want to watch in theatres land on OTT.
"This has been true for some films in the past. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a proper theatrical release, so they had to put on OTT. There are also films that are 10/10 in terms of quality, expenditure, technicians, which are made directly for OTT. That’s a new and emerging trend. So we wanted to attempt that," the actor said.
"Bloody Daddy" also features Diana Penty, Sanjay Kapoor, Ronit Roy, and Rajeev Khandelwal in pivotal roles.
A Jio Studios, AAZ Films & Offside Entertainment production in association with Vermilion World, the movie will release on JioCinema on June 9.