Saturday, June 27, 2015

Actor Anil Kapoor On The Unpredictable World Of Showbiz, Why He's Willing To Take Risks At This Age Of Life?

By M H Ahssan
Group Editor in Chief
WEEKEND EXCLUSIVE: He has worked for over three decades in Bollywood but the only constant about him has been his ability to change. INNLIVE finds out what Anil Kapoor's key to survival is and how he strikes a balance between the jhakaas and the suave.

Suave as a personality trait does not naturally complement the street lingo “Jhakaas”. Peculiarly for over three decades in Bollywood now, the two unlikely notions have defined Anil Kapoor. You see him always impeccably turned out, not a stitch less than what may qualify as fashionably sophisticated. 

Yet Kapoor will not miss half a chance to wantonly engage in his trademark “Jhakaas” war cry at public functions and media meets, or break into a tapori dance as fans egg him on. 

Perhaps it has to do with his lack of starry image that lets him be the Jhakaas Gentleman he is.
In the three decades since he first shot into popular imagination as the harmonium playing Prem Partap Patialewaale Music Director in Woh 7 Din, the only constant about Anil Kapoor has been his ability to change. Right from his salad days, he has been able to morph from one role to another without carrying the baggage of image. 

Kapoor simplifies any mulling over his career graph by saying it has to do with his willingness to take risks. 

“I have taken risks in my career. Risk is a part and parcel of life. One must always be ready to fail,” he says, as we catch up for a chat at the recent IIFA Awards in Kuala Lumpur. 

Risk, in fact, is the reason he points at while explaining what prompted him to sign Dil Dhadakne Do. “I believe the film could have easily gone wrong,” says Kapoor, about Zoya Akhtar’s latest film that cast him as a super-rich, boorish Punjabi father who wants to control the lives of his grown-up children. Contrary to aging Bollywood heroes, Kapoor played his age. What’s more, his character Kamal Mehra was not a nice man to know. 

If Kapoor emerged as what many felt was the best bit of Zoya’s feel-good entertainer, he thanks characterisation and writing for as much. “The role is exactly opposite to what I am. The material given to me made the difference. I would say Dil Dhadakne Do was my best ever experience working in a Hindi film. It is definitely the best Hindi film I have seen in the past few years. Sometimes, everything just falls in place.” 

The film had a gala screening during the recent IIFA weekend where Anupam Kher, explaining how he was loathe to be addressed as thespian or great, said he “would rather stay a newcomer like Anil Kapoor forever”. 

Kher’s line, like Kapoor’s look, may defy all of his 58 years, but the actor himself underplays such notions. He pins his survival mantra on the art of listening. 

“My key to survival is I listen. I am a good listener. I especially listen to my children because they have the pulse of the world. I have realised one thing in all these years. Most people lose touch with what the audience wants as the years pass. If you are out to give people what they want, you have to be willing to experiment. And if you want to experiment, you have to listen.”  

If speculation is the only constant in the unpredictable world of showbiz, Kapoor would tell you planning does not always work. “Life is not about your plans. It is not necessary all of which you plan has to happen just because you want it that way. Sometimes, something can just come up and changes the course of your life and career. The longer you keep that in mind, the longer the world loves you,” he says. 

He cites the example of two films to explain his point. Gandhi My Father, which he meticulously produced with the self-confessed ambition to cross over into the international domain as a cinematic brand name; and Slumdog Millionaire, which came his way by chance. 

“The intention of producing Gandhi My Father was to cross over into the world arena. I had made a film that I wanted to take to international viewers. No one can fault Gandhi My Father in terms of quality. Yet, the film simply did not work. On the other hand, I went into Slumdog Millionaire with hardly any expectation. The reaction I got globally was 100 per cent. The film opened doors for me in Hollywood,” he points out. 

 His upcoming release is Welcome Back, sequel to the 2007 blockbuster Welcome. The film brings him back as the ditsy goon Majnu Bhai, this time embroiled in a new adventure. While Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, lead pair of the first film, do not figure in the sequel, director Anees Bazmee has reunited the original’s balance cast of Kapoor, Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal and added John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia alongwith Shiney Ahuja. 

“I am excited about playing Majnu Bhai all over again. The character is a total departure from Kamal Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do. The sequel is also bigger than Welcome,” he assures. 

You note the excitement of a newcomer as he talks of his future project and realise perhaps that is what sustains Anil Kapoor. He is clearly enjoying every moment of it because, he tells you, everything is always meant to have a happy conclusion. 

“I have realised one thing over the years. Not everything that turns out badly will have a negative ending. You can always draw a positive inference from whatever has happened and use it for something far better. For me at least, everything negative has had a bright side to it,” he sums up.

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