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Making a case for murder

FOR THE SAKE OF CREATIVITY Anil Kapoor says he used to cycle to the sets to get into the character of Ravi PHOTO : RAJEEV BHATT

FOR THE SAKE OF CREATIVITY Anil Kapoor says he used to cycle to the sets to get into the character of Ravi PHOTO : RAJEEV BHATT  

Anil Kapoor is back after a break with "My Wife's Murder". How did it come about? Find out from the actor who talks to RANA SIDDIQUI

Sometimes, a hiatus from work comes as "a breather", especially to those who work for "creative satisfaction." And for an actor like Anil Kapoor - he prefers being called an actor than a star - whose date with creativity has been registered with an array of films like Tezaab, Ram Lakhan, Lamhe, Virasat, Pukar, Ishwar etc , taking a break is always a "conscious decision."

"It helps in introspection. It helps me to think what I am doing is right or wrong. The problem with me is that I feel very bored of running around trees so I always look for films that could provide me with some creative satisfaction. I would rather like to be called an actor than a superstar. I don't like too many people surrounding me, taking autographs and so on," opens up Anil .

For that "creative satisfaction," he signed My Wife's Murder, a brand new film from Ramgopal Varma's Factory, which his young assistant Jijy Philip as its director. The film, released this Friday, is about Ravi Patwardhan, a middle-aged father of two children who accidentally kills his nagging wife played by Suchitra Krishnamoorthy (remember Aana of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa?).

"Usually, film scripts are quite boring. So either I read parts of them or just throw them away without reading. But when I read the script of this film, I couldn't put it down. Moreover, Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma) came to me and before broaching the theme of the film, he said, `I have come thinking of you as an actor and not a star.' And Jijy then narrated the script to me so interestingly that I thought, ye ladka jaise script suna raha hai, uska 50 per cent bhi kaam kar jaye to bahot hai. But as the shooting started, I was amazed at his hold on each detail. I must say, the film so far is the best from Ramu's Factory and one of my best performances," asserts Anil whose powerful performance in Virrudh and Ishwar still keeps him so well enthrenced in our minds.

And this latest film, explains Anil, is actually a journey into the psyche of the protagonist who is on the run and is chased by a hard cop - played by Boman Irani. It is a result of a survey in Mumbai in which Ramu tried to engage the audience to make a choice between the protagonist killing his nagging wife `by accident' or `by intent.' The audience accepted killing `by accident' with a pinch of salt but the idea of killing `by intent' "raised a hue and cry especially among NGOs and women's organisations".

"They thought we were up to a gimmick. It was such an unpleasant experience that we decided to resort to killing by accident," recalls Ram Gopal Varma sitting next to Anil.

For Anil, this survey came as a sort of an eye-opener, something that made him realise how difficult it could be for a man to handle a killing by accident because "if you kill by intent, you at least don't have guilt conscience." And hence for him, playing such a killer was more of a mental exercise than a physical labour.

"Getting into the skin of such a character is not so easy. There are moments of stress that dawn upon you completely. But it is always followed by a catharsis. When we cry, repent, moan or open up to any other person in the film, it releases tension, the poetic justice seems to be done and it feels really therapeutic. More importantly, it is here that an actor's creative urges are answered," says Anil.

To work in this film hence, he went "out of the way" to portray this middle class, workaholic protagonist. To look tired and worn out, he travelled on bicycle to reach the sets with his Lancer following him. He wouldn't have his breakfast at home like a busy professional, and have the feel of a man always on the ball.

"Sometimes Ramu's sets used to be up to 20 kilometres away, tab mujhe gussa bhi aata tha ki cycle chalata ja raha hoon aur location hi nahin aa raha but the journey on road helped me meet common people, observe their gestures and mannerisms. This is the life which I haven't led for the past 25 years ," admits Anil. And for a busy man's demeanour, Ramu asked him to go back to that `Munna' look of Tezaab with unshaven beard and scattered hair. Though he too tried to "give ideas" but all his ideas "fell flat," laughs the actor.

For Suchitra's acting skill, Anil has just this to say, "She has taken me by surprise."

Let's see if the film surprises the audience too!

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