MUMBAI — Like Dev Anand, Anil Kapoor seems to have imbibed the elixir of Eternal Youth. 37 years after his lead debut with an obscure film called “Rachna,” and 36 years after a breakthrough in home production “Woh 7 Din,” Anil Kapoor, now 63, simply says, “Life motivates me!”— and that’s how he keeps going!
This is Part II of our chat after writer-director Anees Bazmee takes our leave.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: What is the secret, if any, of your professional longevity?
A: It is that I am very, very blessed! In the last 36 years, there has been a super-hit, a big success, or a critically-acclaimed film at least once in every 18 months. On my part, I have kept the freshness intact—not just because I have done every kind of film and role, but also because if I have repeated something, it is after a good gap, so that the freshness is intact!
And that variety in films and roles included taking a lot of risks and sometimes failing. If you see carefully, “Eeshwar,” “Parinda,” “Badhaai Ho Badhaai” and some others were risky for their respective times. But whether they did moderate business or failed, today they are loved and remembered. However, in this list, I do not include those flops that were flops because there was something wrong with them!
So I am a professional! I assess a role, script, director, producer, the studio, co-stars, dates, money—so many things that make a film happen. And I keep challenging myself. Like I was shooting “Total Dhamaal” while also doing “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga,” which was a serious film on lesbianism and I was the heroine’s father. In the other film, I was a Gujarati guy harassed by his spitfire Maharashtrian wife. And while doing “Pagalpanti” I was also doing the intense “Malang.”
Q: You are also loved by your co-stars and teams.
A: It’s simple. I like to make people smile, and to lighten up serious situations or a dull atmosphere.
Q: One point. How come there is always a light tinge to even your most serious characters? Is that your director’s perspective of you, or your own decision?
A: I would agree with you only to about 70 percent! Maybe I always get attracted to characters who do not take themselves very seriously! Life is short, am I right or wrong? So if you put in a bit of humor and make people smile, it’s great. But there were films in which there was nothing light. In my television show “24,” I did not smile at all!
Q: How tough is comedy for an actor?
A: It’s very tough. Sometimes serious things are happening to the characters, but they make you laugh. Other comedies may be over-the-top. You have to use, in every role, your instinct, intelligence and experience, and it’s no different in a comedy. Look at the hard work Charlie Chaplin put in. So, to answer your question, for an actor, comedy is no different from a serious role, only tougher. We have to be serious at doing what makes you laugh.
Q: Do you think that these last few years are your golden phase?
A: I think I have been having a golden time since I began! I pray to God that this continues, and I get to act in films that can be watched again and again 10, 30 or 50 years down, like the best films of Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and many others. I think that films made with lots of heart and soul always connect with the audience. And be it a “Hum Aapke Hain Koun!...,” “Sholay” or my “No Entry,” such movies remain evergreen, across generations.