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Anil Kapoor: ‘It’s all about perspective’

Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal


With a 40-year film career to his credit, the screen veteran talks about staying relevant by seeking new ways to learn and grow

Actor-producer Anil Kapoor has gotten used to young actors, assistant directors, and technicians on film units walk up to him and tell him that their fathers have worked with him. He recalls one such recent conversation and says, “I thought, good she didn’t say her grandfather also worked with me, but she did, in the very next line,” he laughs heartily and adds, “But yes, I felt good that I have worked long enough to transcend three generations.” The select gathering in Hyderabad also cheers, and someone remarks that with his age-defying looks, he could pass off as the youngest in the room.

The event was a panel discussion hosted by film critic Anupama Chopra and the unveiling of the short film Tinde on the Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films YouTube channel. The panel members included Anil Kapoor, choreographer-director Farah Khan, choreographer Seema Desai who has directed Tinde, and the short film’s actors Adah Sharma and Tinnu Anand, both well known names in Indian cinema.


Adapt, reinvent

Later, in a quick interview on the sidelines of the event, Anil Kapoor acknowledges that in his 40-year career, he has strived to adapt and continue to stay relevant by reinventing himself from time to time. “I believe it’s all about perspective. If you choose to look at change as a challenge, that’s what it will be. If you look at it as an opportunity for growth, you will seek out new ways of learning and growing. That’s what I try to do, learn and grow,” he says.

In the 80s and the early 90s, when he grew to be a superstar, he reflects that cinema wasn’t as cut throat as it is today. He is glad that he starred in both original content and a string of remakes of south Indian films. “Many of the films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam have had potential to work in Hindi and as an actor, I chose the remakes based on my instinct; it wasn’t a blind process of adapting something just because it was hugely successful in its original language,” he says, citing examples of Woh Saat Din, Eeshwar, Virasat and Judaai. “Woh Saat Din was Anda Ezhu Naatkal in Tamil and director Bapu made it in Telugu as Radha Kalyanam, before making it in Hindi. It did well in all the languages. There were remakes that didn’t work too,” he says.

Besides the mainstream blockbusters like Tezaab and Ram Lakhan, his filmography has a repertoire of films that were considered risky at the time. Reminiscing about Parinda, he recalls how director Vidhu Vinod Chopra had the caption ‘the most powerful film ever made…’ on the film’s posters. “I wondered if he was being too confident but when the film clicked and everyone was in praise of it, it was a reaffirmation that it was indeed a powerful film. The film has completed 30 years and still lingers in people’s minds,” he says. 1942 - A Love Story, Taal and Lamhe were among those films that were considered risky propositions when they were offered to him. These weren’t going to be the formulaic crowd-pleasing vehicles. “In a lot of ways, those films were seen as risky undertakings. But they were risks I was willing to take because I believed in the story, the strength of the characters I was playing, and the talent of the teams behind the movies,” he says.

Surname, the supporting act

In the beginning of his career, he had strived to do some offbeat cinema, before the big budget entertainers came his way. This was his way of working around the expectations that came with the Kapoor surname. To the star kids that dot the Hindi cinema landscape today, Anil Kapoor says, “Focus on your craft and let your work speak for itself. When you work hard and are true to your art, your family name becomes the supporting act to the name you create for yourself.”

Later this month, the actor will turn 63 and is among the fittest Indian actors. His Instagram feed has videos showing him sprint with agility that could match those who are decades younger to him. The actor takes it lightly and shrugs, “The desire to live a long, healthy and happy life keeps me motivated to workout. But more importantly, I need to keep up with my beautiful wife. Have you seen how gorgeous she is?”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 3:39:09 AM |

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