MY INTERVIEW WITH MR. INDIA: ANIL KAPOOR
'Stars who repeat themselves and remain popular are more talented'
BY ADIL RASHEED / 23 February 2005
Anil Kapoor, one of the most accomplished stars of Bollywood, has never failed to surprise his fans. At a time when the youth of the subcontinent used to painstakingly dress themselves up and strut about in his style, the screen idol altered his looks and changed his mannerisms.
When the critics touted him as a superstar in the making he preferred to prove his mettle as an actor instead and did meaningful cinema at the expense of glamorous roles.
So when this maverick veteran calls himself an overrated actor one does not know what to make of the statement. Perhaps it is plain modesty or a subtle ploy to offset his critics. City Times spoke to this sharp-witted actor about his role in the forthcoming film Bewafaa and his other promising ventures.
You are probably the only star in Bollywood who does not need a tailor-made role. In fact, every role you do appears tailor-made for you after you have done it. By all accounts you have hardly ever given a poor performance. Still, it seems you have been denied the critical acclaim you deserve. Do you consider yourself an underrated actor?
Not at all. Far from being underrated, I would call myself an overrated actor. I think God has been very kind to me. I have been very fortunate in being rated among stars who are far more talented and good-looking than I am. I have been in the film industry for about 25 years now and have enjoyed the love and respect of the audience. I would say I have got more than I deserve.
Let's take the movie Karma as a case in point. In that movie you were pitted against the biggest stars like Dilip Kumar, Naseer and Anupam Kher. And these stars gave one of their best performances in the movie. Still, it was your performance, which stole the show. And this is by no means an isolated case. People love you for your roles in Meri Jung, Tezaab, Mr India, Taal etc.
You see Karma was the film, which made me a star. Getting a chance to act with such great actors worked to my advantage. I had nothing to lose. This is the benefit of working in a multi-star film. You are suddenly part of the big league.
You have never hesitated doing cameo roles. Other Bollywood stars usually make a lot of fuss about the length of their roles. But you have been a trendsetter in this regard.
Well, it works differently for different actors. Every actor is entitled to make his or her own decisions and it will be wrong to pass judgment on the way actors should select their roles. All I can say is that doing cameo performances has worked well for me. It clicked for me in films like Biwi No. 1 and Taal. To me, the length of a role in a movie is not very important. A short role can make a big impact. It is the quality of the role that matters.
You have repeatedly changed your image and style of acting. At one point in time youngsters used to copy your style and mannerisms but you changed your look, your style of acting and even your type of films. Why?
It is important for an actor to keep changing and evolving. It is good for his longevity. One should also know when to effect the change. It has to be done before your style begins to wear off and people start tolerating you.
It also requires a lot of talent. There are stars who keep repeating themselves without being able to break the cast as it were?
I think the stars who keep on repeating themselves and remain popular are more talented than those who are forced to change their style. Really! I regard them as more talented and I give full credit to them.
There has never been a controversy or an incident that has affected your reputation as a star and as a celebrity. You have had a stainless career. How did you accomplish this remarkable feat and what are the things, which contributed to your success?
I am very proud of myself in this respect. I can even say that I am very arrogant about this. My family, my friends and India mean a lot to me. One really needs the blessings of one's elders to be successful in life. Again, there is no substitute to hardwork. One also has to be at the right place at the right time. All these things are very important in making a person successful in life.
Bewafaa seems to be in line with many of your recent films, which deal with human relationships such as Armaan, Rishtey, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Om Jai Jagdish, Judaai, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, and so on. So would it be right to say that you have made a conscious effort in doing roles, which are closer to life and to the human condition?
No. There is nothing like that. There has not been any conscious effort in this regard. You have failed to mention my recent film Musafir, which is a highly stylised film. And my forthcoming movies No Entry and My Wife's Murder are totally different from the kind of films you are referring to. I have never tried to follow any trend. I did Bewafaa because the movie has been made by the accomplished filmmaker Boney Kapoor, who is my brother, and has been directed by the highly acclaimed Dharmesh Darshan. It has been an honour for me to work with these stalwarts in this film.
Bewafaa has a lot in common with Lamhe. Is it true?
Dharmesh has said that he was inspired by Lamhe to an extent. But he has given Bewafaa a totally different dimension. Even my role in the movie only has a partial semblance with my role in Lamhe.
Are you satisfied with the way the movie has been made?
I am more than satisfied. Everybody has come out trumps. Akshay has never acted better. Kareena has never looked more beautiful. The music of the movie is excellent and I think this is the best film Dharmesh has ever directed.
Do you come to Dubai often and how do you find it?
Yes! I keep coming to Dubai. I was in the city during the DSF. But I had to cut my visit short due to the release of Musafir.
I simply love Dubai. I love its restaurants, its sights, its cleanliness, its people. In fact, if I am asked to hold a dual citizenship of any place after India in the world it would be Dubai.