CINEMA PLUS

Still in the Race

back on the bestsellers’ list Anil Kapoor

back on the bestsellers’ list Anil Kapoor  

Be it Welcome, Race or Tashan, Anil Kapoor fits the role to a T

Anil Kapoor wasn’t born with a golden spoon like many other film personalities. In fact, when Anil was born, his family was living in a chawl in Tilak Nagar. The Punjabi-speaking Anil was born in 1959 to Surinder and Suchitra Kapoor. Surinder Kapoor worked as Shammi Kapoor’s secretary.

Perhaps, it was Anil’s deep-rooted tradition in middle-class Mumbai that influenced his performances as the tapori. He drew largely from real life. Tapori in Hindi means vagabond or rowdy. Their style of speaking Hindi combined with their distinct style of dressing sets them apart from the others. It’s almost like a tribe of wise guys who live life on their own terms — and Anil has achieved great success playing just such men on screen.

In the recently released Tashan, Anil dons dreadful outfits to match his red-dyed hair and speaks with a thick accent while trying to learn the Queen’s language. The unbelievable fact of the whole escapade is Anil manages to pull it off without looking caricaturist or immature. It just proves Anil is still the quintessential tapori. In Anees Bazmee’s Welcome, his moustache had this spearhead sharpness making him look classy and decorous. But the way Anil Kapoor played his stylish underworld don Sagar ‘Majnu’ Singh can be best described as the roadside ‘batata wada’ shop serving pizza. Completely, value for money!

And in his latest hit Race, Anil played a Karamchand-style detective mouthing dialogues laden with innuendos while chomping juicy fruit. In one of the film’s best-mounted scenes towards the climax, Anil squares off with Saif in a dusty sand-strewn terrain. Anil looks straight out of a stylish Quentin Tarantino feature in his cool threads and funky hairstyle, but at the heart of it, he is the archetypal tapori playing to the gallery, traipsing around till his audience applauds. Talk about flexibility.

This combination of the two worlds that he incorporates in film after film has worked wonders for Anil’s career. And has helped him make a successful comeback to the best-sellers’ list.

The perfectionist performances have come with years of hard work. Anil says, “I was constantly pushing myself and I tried pushing others; that’s the reason I got the best people. I would cut my hair for a film, work out a look, work on the script, have meetings, go for rehearsals — when I used to go for rehearsals people would say ‘Yeh toh chamchagiri kar raha hain’. But now the whole trend has changed; now everybody is doing what I did.”

Anil was a huge fan of Raj Kapoor — in fact, many thought the legendary showman influenced Anil’s style of acting. He was always into Bollywood. He landed a role as a child artiste with Shashi Kapoor in the lead, but his film Tu Payal Main Geet was never released. He finally appeared on the silver screen in Hamhare Tumhare in a character role. Anil may not have had the fiery debut he hoped for but shot to fame playing the lovable tapori in Subhash Ghai’s Karma and Ram Lakhan.

During his college days, Anil commuted by bus and train from his Chembur home when he attended St. Xavier’s College at V.T., and walked the rest of the way. While the elite crowd of St. Xavier’s imbibed a sense of style, the bus journeys and walks home kept him in touch with reality.

It wouldn’t be wrong to call Anil the man who made the tapori moves popular in films. Once he became a star, Anil has made a career playing the dishevelled tapori in films like Loafer, Laadla, Andar Bahar, and Tezaab.

Today, Anil is getting ready to star in Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraj reprising his over-the-top musical genius act from Taal. In fact, Yuvraj is being touted as a musical, much like Subhash Ghai’s 1999 hit Taal.

After that, Anil will gear up to play yet another quirky character in director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. And going by the title, Anil Kapoor looks just right for the part.

TANVEER BOOKWALA

Bollywood News Service

Recommended for you