He turns 60 on December 24, but even now, Anil Kapoor’s energy levels can surely give a number of youngsters a run for their money. Ask the actor-producer if he feels 60 or 16, and he says, “I am not delusional (laughs). Of course, I am not 16, but I am healthy, fit and wise.”
The Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) actor admits that life has been good. “Things have gone beyond my expectations. I never really imagined all of it. I started from scratch. My dad (the late Surinder Kapoor) was an assistant director to K Asif saab and then he became Shammi Kapoor’s secretary. He also made some films, which didn’t do well. But my parents always looked after us very well. And I think it’s due to their blessings and genes that I also look the way I do (laughs),” says Kapoor.
At 60, Anil Kapoor says that he has got more than what he “ever imagined and expected”. “That’s why I have no complaints. God has been kind; there are no regrets. We used to live in a suburb, in Chembur. From those days to now, it has been a phenomenal journey; not just professionally, but also emotionally, and with a great family, wife, children, friends and industry. There’s always room for improvement, though, so the hunger will always be there. But everything has been wonderful,” he says.
Ask Kapoor what keeps him inspired, and he says, “It’s got to do with consistency. I made certain sacrifices — like my film choices and not running after money — in the past that are paying off. I have always tried to reinvent, experiment and take risks.”
The Welcome (2007) actor reminisces about how he “broke the rules” by marrying at a young age despite being asked not to do so. “People said, ‘Anil has had child marriage (laughs).’ Also, when others did mainstream films, I worked with MS Sathyu and Mani Ratnam. My first film had me playing a villager when others were riding bikes,” he says, adding he was “asked not to change” his look and hairstyles, as “stars don’t do that”.
“But I still did Eeshwar (1989), Virasat (1997), Lamhe (1991), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), which had me play a father to Ranveer (Singh) and Priyanka (Chopra); a TV show, 24, and now, an online show. So, it has been my constant endeavour to do different things. And luck always favours the brave,” he says.
Kapoor, who has spent over 35 years in Bollywood, points out how his “energetic and positive” avatar doesn’t happen “overnight or on its own”. “A lot of work goes behind that, and you can’t fake it. I am energetic, because I am fit, happy and positive.
I also have some great films coming up, my last few films have been hugely successful, my children are doing well, and I have a great wife (laughs). Plus, I feel I have fantastic things to look forward to, and that I live in a youthful country that is on the threshold of becoming a superpower,” he says.
Watch 24 Season 2: First look
But unlike some of his contemporaries, Kapoor has kept himself relevant. “For me, it’s about the fact that I want to keep working. But I don’t take myself too seriously. Some people take their stardom seriously, and imagine things that are not true. But they are being delusional. You should do things for your fans, but few things for yourself too,” he says.
Kapoor, however, insists that “every day won’t be a cakewalk” and that one has to work hard, because there will be ups and downs. The actor admits that they are one of the reasons why he is always positive and energetic. “But you have to work towards your relationship with your family. You have to make time for them and make your family the priority. You might be a lucky person, but hard work has to be done,” he says.
This year, the actor has gone to an undisclosed location to celebrate his birthday with his family. “I go someplace every year for the Christmas and New Year holidays, so we will celebrate my birthday as well. I am not a birthday person as such. I would always have Christmas parties, as my birthday is on the 24th, so I wouldn’t call it my birthday bash,” says Kapoor, adding that he used to have “quite a few parties” at Dimple’s (Kapadia) house.
In the past few days, Kapoor’s new look has been making news but he maintains that it’s “tough to maintain this look.” You have to be fit and slim to carry it off. That’s the downside. You have to work out for an extra half-hour. Maintaining such a look isn’t easy. I have been told that a lot of actors who develop six-pack abs go back to eating well once they’ve shown off their fit bodies (laughs).
Now that my new look’s picture is already out in the media, like other actors, I will also hoodwink everyone and eat properly (laughs). Some actors have, in fact, told me, ‘Anil, create an image once; after that do whatever you want, because people will always have your fit image or six-pack image in mind whenever they see you in films and otherwise (laughs).’,” says Kapoor.
The senior actor adds that 2016 is special, as Sonam (Kapoor; daughter) and Harshvardhan (Kapoor; son) won awards and received good reactions for Neerja and Mirzya. “It’s no longer just about me. I have so much more to be happy about,” he says.
Among other things, Kapoor also looks forward to his next home production, Veere Di Wedding, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and his daughter, Sonam Kapoor. “Rhea (Kapoor; daughter-producer) told me that when she met Kareena (after the baby’s delivery), Bebo was really charged about working on the film.
Kareena told Rhea, ‘See, I have already lost six kilos while sitting in the bed, because I have delivered the baby (laughs). I am going to kill it for Veere Di Wedding’. Even on that day, Kareena was so alert and energetic. So, the ball has started rolling. Sonam, Rhea and Kareena are very excited about it,” Kapoor says.