hirty years in the business of histrionics has not stemmed his greed for meaty roles. Anil Kapoor, confessedly, can never have enough of good cinema. 'Slumdog Millionaire' earned him global recognition and truckloads of acclaim. Now, the actor is readying to showcase his acting skills and production ventures with worthwhile movies in the pipelineHe's risen steadily from being "that new boy" in 'Shakti' who enacted Amitabh Bachchan's son and Dilip Kumar's grandson to earning the global spotlight for 'Slumdog Millionaire'. Anil Kapoor has traversed the path of cinema with dedication and finesse. Today, he's unanimously cited among the most outstanding actors of Indian cinema. In a career spanning more than three decades, the actor has amply proved his calibre, passed every litmus test and emerged victorious. The passion to excel has made Kapoor synonymous with quality, but watch him at work preparing for the most insignificant scene and he gives the impression of being a newcomer who's taking his first prudent steps in the cine industry. It is this attitude of his, of being a dedicated and devoted student that has made him an actor in his own class today.
Anil has also propogated a new way to ensure top class ventures in Hindi cinema by turning producer.
'Gandhi , My Father' produced under his own banner, Anil Kapoor Productions, had earned international acclaim for the producer and actor. On the anvil are three big flicks, of which 'No Problem' with Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Sushmita Sen and Kangana Ranaut is already on the floors. Besides, AK has also completed '24', a major TV serial in the West. Excerpts from a chat with the commendable actor…
Looking back, would you say that you were truly pleased with your role in Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire'?
I'd say, I was happy and not very happy too. I was happy because I have received the kind of international exposure which I had always wanted. The big time success of the film has given me a chance to show the world and tell them what kind of an actor I was. I was excited about the manner in which critics, the world over, had praised my performance. It was a great experience working with a director like Danny about whom I had heard so much. I'd already been introduced to his work much before I was formally introduced to him. Danny Boyle is one director who knows his job and it can be seen in every frame of the film that he makes. 'Slumdog' showed how he could extract the best work out of every artiste and technician involved with his film. I was not too happy because many of my fans in India did not react to the role in the same manner in which audiences and critics in the West reacted. I still have not found the reaction to this puzzling reaction.
But many say that you could hardly have done anything worthwhile in your limited role
All those who say that have not tried to understand the intricacies of the role. I'd say it was a difficult to play. I had to express all my feelings just through my expressions and the manner in which I spoke my lines. I found it much more difficult to play this role than any other role that I have done in the best of Hindi films. I have no regrets whatsoever about playing the role of what one English critic called "the loathsome anchor". That was what I was asked to play and if I was accepted in it, I'm happy about doing the role. I think 'Slumdog Millionaire' is a great film and I stand vindicated by the number of awards it won and the way it has still been breaking records in the U.S. and U.K. I'm fortunate to be part of a film which will always be a milestone in movie history and I have received countless calls and messages from all over, congratulating me on my work in the movie.Many Indians hated the depiction of inhuman poverty shown in the film, the fact that people abroad love to see poverty as a symbol of India. As an Indian, do you think it was right?It is a very ticklish issue for someone like me to talk about. I know it does not look good when we see the ugly side of a face. It is much more painful to see the ugly side of your own country. But a creative artiste has the right to hold a mirror to the realities of life. But according to the writer Vivek Swaroop , Danny Boyle has patterned the film exactly as per his book 'Q and A'…I know they are not very good scenes to see as an Indian, but when the maker has to portray the reality he has no other way but to go according to what reality demands. Besides, the film had the approval of the Indian government and the censors. The scenes in the film have also been shown in other films, and even in our own Indian films and documentaries. One has to learn to face realities and take criticism without any pretentions.Will you continue working in films made in the West, especially in Hollywood? I certainly will. I'm an actor and an actor is beyond all kinds of barriers and boundaries. An actor has no caste, creed or community. He belongs to everyone. I have always thought of myself as an actor who only goes by the merit of a role and how much the role challenges the actor in me. I am willing to play any role in any kind of film, made anywhere. Anil Kapoor, a true Indian actor is game to face challenges from any part of the world. I'm a mad and hungry actor, almost like a hungry tiger. I will take all the leaps and cross all the ravines and dark woods to find my prey. I will never give up. It is this spirit in me that has kept me young as an actor, after being more than thirty years in the business. I would have been nowhere if I had lost my hunger. I hope to keep this spirit alive till the very end. Anil Kapoor is a mad actor and I have accepted the truth about myselfWhat kind of offers have you received after the success of 'Slumdog I've been flooded with some very good offers. It's a great feeling to know that you are wanted as an actor and that filmmakers trust you to deliver the goods. I hope to make the best out of every role that I accept. I also hope to see my production company among the leading ones in the country.
Does the failure of a film affect you?Believe me, flops make me stronger. I'm not saying this to make an impact or to forget failure. But the fact is that every time a film flops, I realize that it is time to work harder and make up for the opportunity I've lost. I have survived so long because of this ability to turn any kind of weakness or failure into a source of inspiration to work harder, to fight harder to be a better actorDo you think that our film makers are still interested in you?It is not whether they are interested because it is going to be me who is going to make the final choice. I am in a position where I can dictate my own terms, specially when it comes to selecting my roles. I'm aware that I am no longer in the game to play the romantic hero or the full time action hero. To think of it, it is now the right time to prove myself as the actor I always wanted to be. I still receive at least two or three offers everyday and on my own terms. But I have decided to be very cautious. This is the time to select roles which will give me the scope to grow. I have played a very long innings, thank God. I now want to establish myself as an actor who will be remembered whenever great roles are remembered. How do you perceive the future of actor Anil Kapoor ?Time will tell, my talent will tell and the final decision is in the hands of God and the people.What about your production company? I have always believed in taking every step carefully. It was the same as an actor. It will be the same as a producer. Quality has always been something precious for me. That is why I had made "Gandhi My Father", under my banner Anil Kapoor Productions, and it was a great experience. I have matured as a producer with just one film. I am observing the scene and making notes about the ways of making films and the kind of films that are being made. I have some big ambitions and interesting ideasWhen do you intend to direct a film? I don't think I have the ability to be a director and I will not do anything unless I know what I am doing.Your daughter too is an actress today ….
All I can say is that she is a fine and hard working actress. I have decided not to interfere in her career, unless it is really necessary. She's a confident actress and I don't see any reason why she should not make it.How do you see 2010?It will be a great year. A year of great ideas and great performances, which will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Hindi cinema. I am not crossing my fingers, because I know it is going to happen in 2010.