Now is probably a good time to mention that even when being cynical, Namak is far from immune to Shahid's charm, so take my recommendations with a big hearty serving of salt (no pun intended).
The ADHD years
Shahid was really hyper in the beginning of his career. Luckily, that went well with most of the young lovable characters he was playing, but I can't say I wasn't grateful when he started to tone it down.
Ishq Vishk - high school love story with a couple of morally questionable plot drivers. He's paired with Amrita Rao and there's something to be said about an actor who can make me sit through a high school love story. Especially when the hero is somewhat morally dubious. And when he looks 18. By the way, Shahid was rejected after auditioning for this one because he looked too young. I find that hilarious. You mean younger than this??
Fida - Shahid trying to be mean. In a love triangle with Fardeen Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Evilness did not become him back then. But the movie has a couple of interesting scenes, and a couple of decent songs. Worth watching if only for the last scene with Kareena. And for Kareena doing a much better job at being evil.
Dil Maange More - my guilty pleasure. I can't explain it, but despite the innanity of the 3 heroine love story (featuring Tulip Joshi, Soha Ali Khan and Ayesha Takia), I have such a blast watching this. Maybe because that's when Shahid started having fun with his roles and he is just a ball of energy and spunk here! And who can resist him when he does this:
Plus DMM has one of my favourite songs ever with Shahid. It's like Elvis Presley on crack! How can one not love it!
Deewane Huye Pagal - this surprised me by not being as bad as I thought it would be. Shahid with braces? Hilarious! Rimi Sen and Akshay Kumar also star. One of those plots where everyone is after the girl, trying to con the others. I've seen worse. I have definitely seen worse (Jaan-e-Mann anyone?). Plus it has this song that only Paresh Rawal could yawn through:
Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! - The hero is struggling to take care of his ridiculously numerous family while daydreaming about the heroine (Amrita Rao again), but he dies and goes to Lord Yama. Reminded me of 90s masala films, and I'm not very big on that but hey, it's got Shahid. Granted in one of his silliest performances, but still cute as button. As is Amrita, so another one worth skimming through while procrastinating to go make dinner, if one is a fan that is.
Shikhar - Presumably some moralizing story about how the city corrupts the young pure minds. Whatever. Not convincing as a lecture, but it does have Ajay Devgan and Shahid going shopping and looking good in their suits. Bipasha Basu is also looking fine, and Amrita Rao, well, she's Amrita Rao. Can you tell I was mostly just watching this one to gawk at the actors?
36 China Town - A bit of a mystery, a bit of a thriller, a bit of a love story, a bit of a comedy. It's on my "decent" list especially since it features Shahid opposite Kareena Kapoor, plus Akshaye Khanna in a wonderfully campy performance and a cameo from Priyanka Chopra. And before we forget, this song alone is worth the price of the DVD, youtube simply does not do it justice:
Chup Chup Ke - Ah, Priyadarshan, how I hate thee! The typical Priyadarshan ridiculousness in a village where the hero is running away from creditors (doesn't this guy just love his shots of dozens of villagers running after someone?) and the heroine is deaf, mute and gorgeous (Kareena Kapoor again). I love the songs, love the pastel colour scheme of the film, and love Shahid posing as a deaf-mute. And that's about all I loved. Better than nothing, so it fares much better than other films from the same director.
Fool'n'Final - I'm not sure what this movie wanted to accomplish. It's a caper of sorts, and it has all the elements for a fun flick, but it's like they made a list of the boxes that needed to be checked and then gave it to a class of 10 year olds to come up with the story AND to do the editing. One out of only two Shahid movies where I will say loud and clear: avoid, yaar! Do watch the songs though, Yeh Dooriyan and Tere Layee are worth it.
The quiet years
A quieter Shahid, with hardly any skin showing and what do you know, that's when success finally came for him.
Vivah - Everyone loves Vivah, young and old. So predictably, I didn't like it much. Boring boring boring movie about an arranged marriage and quite unsuccessful in getting me to buy the plot. That said, Amrita Rao and Shahid do have some melting chemistry, so I did sit through it once. It made him a superstar, so for that I am grateful.
Jab We Met - Everyone's favourite love story. What? Not everyone's? Who is it, I will fight them! Well, at any rate, it's by far my favourite love story in Indian cinema, and a great movie overall. Imtiaz Ali, I've said it before, is the poet of our generation: where before everything was sappy and stale, he made love stories fresh and young once again. Shahid is completely transformed as the brooding Aditya and the film is a roller coaster of emotions and colour. Kareena matches him fabulously in histrionics.
I know I should link to the best song in the film, Nagada Nagada, but this is the song that made me fall hopelessly in love with Shahid, so Mauja Hi Mauja it is!
The mix and match years
Recently it's been a big cluster of roles and films all over the place, some brilliant, some not so much, so I will see this as a transition period. To hopefully an era of mostly great cinema, with talented directors, charming heroines (even if they're not Kareena), and most importantly: good solid stories. Cheers to that!
Kismat Konnection - My first Shahid film in the theatre. And one that was filmed right in my city to boot. I loved it and hated it at the same time: hated it because it's just not a good movie (the dubbing!! Whose head can i have for the dubbing of all the white people?), loved it for the above reasons and for Bakhuda Tumhi Ho. But it's grown on me since. I appreciate the chemistry between Shahid and Vidya Balan now and I basically know what to skip when I watch it. Also, because I was very annoyed with Shahid's SRK-like acting in most of this one, the scenes where he's not doing that come across as fabulous to me.
Kaminey - I know Dolce will have only one thing to say about Kaminey: Charlieeee!!!!
Ah yes, Charlie... but really, Charlie or no Charlie, it's a damn good movie, and by far Shahid's best performance. Or should I say Fhahid? One of the twins he plays is paired with Priyanka Chopra and that works brilliantly, whether or not they were also together in real life, and the other twin is paired with... ok, I won't go into the mad chemistry he had with Chandan Roysanyal because those are murky waters. Nonetheless, a fabulous caper film, the first time we see Shahid being truly badass, and a parade of funky goondas like we hardly ever get to see in Indian cinema. One of my favourite Indian films.
Dil Bole Hadippa! - A giant ball of glittery fluff! Rani Mukherji, Shahid, item numbers, lots of dancing, lots of colour, cricket, Punjab, did I mention lots of colours? I can't help but smile when I think of DBH, it simply makes me happy. As far as Shahid is concerned, it's not a ground breaking performance, but boy oh boy is he yummy to watch! And anyway, it's all about Rani, and the colours, and the dancing, and Punjab...
Chance Pe Dance - How I had longed, how many months did I pray to see Shahid in a movie where he dances! And how excited I was for Chance Pe Dance, a film about an aspiring actor/dancer making it big! And how inspired I was when I went to see it saying the same thing I said when I went to Burlesque: I'm just going for the dancing and for Christina's voice. Except it was Shahid's performance instead of X-tina's voice. Great performance by Shahid, very thin plot. Spectacular dancing, though as always, I would have loved even more of it. It had all the elements to be a good movie. Except for a good script. Oh well, next time.
My other favourite number: Just Do It.
Paathshaala - the other movie where I have to say loud and clear: AVOID! Nothing, not even Nana Patekar's heart-melting smile saves this one. Meant to be an expose of how schools make money and how the media exploits their lack of means, but really, there is no plot. Nana Patekar is the only actor performing, and even that, only in the last 20 minutes of the film. Avoid, just trust me.
Badmaash Company - I blogged about Badmaash Company since it came out recently, so the full review is here, but in a nutshell, very Western feel con movie, lots of style, little heart. Still Shahid, Anoushka Sharma and Vir Das put in some good performances, so it's worth a watch. Just not very Bollywood, but otherwise not a bad film. Worth seeing if only for the steaming jodi he makes with Anushka.
Milenge Milenge - apparently a remake of Serendipity? I wouldn't know, Hindi rom-coms are enough for me, they give me more than my monthly intake of sugar, so I don't watch many Hollywood ones. At any rate, Kareena Kapoor is in it, and she is bubbly and in full form (literally). And Shahid makes one fine girl! I think it's the lips... This one was filmed even before 36 China Town, and it shows. Not a particularly good movie. In the same league as Kismat Konnection, that too without Toronto. Still, Shahid and Kareena, reason enough for me to enjoy it. Just not sure about anyone else!
And now... crossing fingers and toes for Mausam this summer, hopefully stepping into that era of great cinema I was talking about before...
Note: I don't remember the source of all my pictures, but it's safe to say that for the most part they have been collected from shahidonline.net, the best resource around the net for Shahid pics.