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“I Have To Survive In The Rat Race And Hence I Will Have To Do Similar Type Of Roles Even Though I Hate Repeating Myself”,- Anil Kapoor

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Jyothi Venkatesh

 (To mark his 64th birthday which falls on December 24 this year, we wish the actor a happy 64th birthday and also reproduce the interview of ANIL KAPOOR by JYOTHI VENKATESH which appeared 26 years ago in The Daily issue dt November 28, 1993)

After lying low through a flop phase when nothing seemed to work for him an every film in which he appeared flopped like nobody’s business-Heer Raanjha, Zindagi Ek Jua, Khwel Khel, Lamhe, Anil bounced back in a big way with the astounding success of his Beta in which eh was teamed with the same Madhuri Dixit who people dubbed was a jinx for his career. Anil is banking a lot on films like Andaaz, Mr Azad, Laadla, 1942 A Love Story etc after the debacle of Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja which almost made him a non entity.

I had to chase Anil from one end of the town top the other, literally for this interview. First I landed on the sets of his RAJKUMAR at the Famous Studios, only to find that it was even next to impossible to even steal a chat with Anil because of the action scenes which Ravi Dewan was picturising on Anil and Danny that day. I went over to Chandlivali Studios a week later because Anil had to fly off to Madras for a couple of days. I waited for Anil to be free after his pack up. After pack up, with Anil, I left for his house first and after a cup of steaming hot tea prepared by his wife Sunita, we left for his spacious office where we conducted this interview.

ON BETA

I did a Beta type of role two and a half years ago for director K. Vishwanath in Eeshwar. I hate to do such typical melodramatic roles again and again because I want to do different kind of roles. But the masses want me to do the Beta type of role again and again. I do a Lamhe type of role which is off beat but the film fails to click. Believe me right from Day One I knew that Beta was going to click in a big way. My gut instinct told me that it will succeed at the box office because the Indian audiences lap up subjects, which deal with   mother and son. Actually Talukdaars were supposed to direct Beta for producers Indra Kumar and Ashok Thakeria but Indu decided to step in. This was even before Dil was launched. It was Indu’s pet subject and hence he decided to do justice by coming forward to direct it himself.

ON HIS FLOP PHASE

I do not know why you people from the media are so obsessed with hits and flops. The business of hits and flops matter to only those who play it by numbers and rate a star as No 1 or No 2 or Zero star. You feel very nice when you go from a low phase top a high phase. You feel happy when you find that you are appreciated for the amount of work that you put in a film. I do my best in my flop phase. I do not get perturbed when my films flop. I do not take to drinks to brood over my flops. I have been born in this industry. I have seen heroes going up and down. I have seen the career graph of actors like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor and Raj Kapoor fluctuating.

I have seen their films flopping and clicking. It is not a new phenomenon to me, this business of films flopping. And whether a film is good or bad, my involvement in it will remain the same, whether it is  being made by Yash Chopra or Vinay Shukla, Not only your flop phase but everyday  life also teaches you something or the other. You improve as a person; you mature with every passing day. I am not the same Anil who made his debut as a hero with Who Saat Din. Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja has made me more determined, confident. I will now give a gap of another two and a half years and only then agree to do another Beta type role. Even though as an actor I would like to defy my image and prove my versatility. I recently turned down offers to act in Anari, the Hindi version of Chinna Thambi the Tamil hit because I thought I will be repeating myself. The role would remind the audiences of my character in Eeshwar. I have to survive in the rat race and hence I will have to do similar type of roles even though I hate repeating myself.

ON BEING DUBBED A MANIPULATOR?

This is something very strange. I do not at all manipulate. I however do not blame anybody. You refuse films in your pursuit to do good films and people will naturally have a grudge against you. They cannot say that I am bad or I did not agree to do their films or refuse to give them the dates. I think my PR is not that good in film circles. I am not diplomatic while I am refusing films and this trait of me has earned me this label of being a manipulator. If you are up there (Anil points out to the roof in his office) and you are a good target, people will certainly try to run you down.

ON BEING NO 1 HERO

I will be lying through my nose if I said that I did not want to be the No 1. I did but then let me explain the various phases an actor has to go through. First you want to do a bit role and after that you crave for a good role. After that you want to do a big film as a hero. I have been through all these phases. First I wanted to do any one film. Then I decided to do a few films. First I wanted to be a good actor and then a star. Then I craved to be a saleable star. Even though I am a part of the rat race now, I think I came out after I proved myself in a complicated role in Lamhe. Today I am no longer interested in proving myself as a star.

ON MADHURI DIXIT

Madhuri almost started her career with me. I have seen her entire growth as an actress, as a star. She is improving day by day as an actress. As a person, there is no change at all in Madhuri. The first film in which I had acted with her was Bajrangi which was being directed by Bapu. Unfortunately for us the film was shelved and Hifazat was the first film starring us in the lead. Sky is the limit for Madhuri. The best thing about her is that at all she has changed, it is for the better.

ON WHETHER HE IS IN AWE OF SRIDEVI

Why Sridevi, I was not in awe of even the great Dilip Kumar when I worked with him as a new comer in Shakti. I was not in awe of Amitabh Bachchan when I worked with him in Shakti. In front of the camera you are just the character which you are projecting. Why should you be in awe of your co-star whether he or she is a junior or a senior in the profession? Most of my solo films have proved to be bigger hits. Like Beta, Tezaab etc. Except for Ram Lakhan, it is always the solo film which has proved to be lucky for me at the box office. Besides the fact remain that it is always easier for the writer to write a solo script. It is not however true that I am turning down offers to work with other actors. Rishi Kapoor was my co-star in Gurudev which was directed by the late Vinod Mehra.

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