He started off his career in the late ’70s with Hamare Tumhare (1979). Since then, Anil Kapoor has been working non-stop — be it Bollywood, Hollywood or television. As the actor strikes a balance between his work and family, HT Café catches up with him to find out what keeps him going.
What keeps you going at this age?
I think it’s my love for work. That’s the only answer. I enjoy my work a lot and want to give it my best — physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. My work has given me so much. I owe everything to my job. It has provided me with everything.
You still seem as passionate about your work...
I started off from scratch with small roles. When you start your career with small roles and receive appreciation, you enjoy whatever you get even more. However, you cannot keep holding on to something. I cannot hold on to roles that I did in the ’80s or ’90s.
But you have made a seamless transition to more varied roles now...
You have to be sensible enough to make a transition and keep doing things that help you stay relevant, excited and passionate. I went with the same excitement into Slumdog Millionaire (2008), 24, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) and now Mubarakan.
I’m looking forward to the project, as I play a Sardar from London. Toh yeh alag Sardar character hai toh isko differently kaise karunga? (So, if this Sardar character is different, is there any way I could play him uniquely?). So abhi main soch raha hoon (Now, I’m thinking), how do I give it my best.
After all these years, what excites you about a film?
Today, besides an exciting role, the producer also has to be perfect, the studio has to be on board, because, ultimately, you need money to make a film, and it has to be marketed and distributed correctly. Everything has to fall in place.
Haven’t things changed completely from how you would work earlier?
Earlier, we used to make films even if everything was not completely planned out. Lagta tha, ‘arrey, ho jayega’ (We used to think ‘it’ll get done’). But now, ‘ho jayega’ (that attitude) is out of window. Now, everything has to be perfect on paper before starting a new film.
You can’t leave anything for later. I am in talks for a lot of films, and a lot of film-makers and scripts have come my way, but everything has to come together. Once things fall into place, I will start and finish a project.
Does this kind of clarity help you creatively as well?
Yes. Creatively, everything has to fall in place. If you’re a good team, everything works out, as you also help each other. It’s important for me, because I juggle a lot of things. I cannot do everything myself. I need good people around me.
As your son Harshvardhan coaxed you to act in Slumdog Millionaire (2008), how much credit do you give him?
Sometimes I may make good choices for Harsh, and sometimes he makes good decisions for me. He is a sensible guy. Ultimately, luck also plays a major role. Naseeb bhi hona chahiye, aapki khud ki mehnat hai (luck should be on your side as you have worked hard).
So, of course I give full credit to him. He pushed me to take up Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) as well. Par ab se main zyada credit nai dunga usko, main khud lunga credit (But I won’t give him credit from now on. I will take it myself, he says in jest). But he really pushed me to do both the films. He is sharp, hard-working and extremely sincere.