Life “couldn’t have been better” for Anil Kapoor, but that hasn’t stopped the actor from working as hard and passionately as any other young star today. We speak to him about his career, his children, and more.
Is life good for you right now?
It couldn’t have been better. But, like all human beings, even I feel that life can be better. I could get better films and roles, or I can do better for my family, for society, for the country, or even do something exciting internationally.
Even after three decades in the industry, you are still as passionate about your work. What keeps you going?
People ask me this question a lot, and I don’t know (the answer). There could be so many reasons — my love for my work, the fact that life is too short. Then, of course, you have to work for your family, and sometimes, you have to back your company financially. I can’t say it’s only because I’m passionate about my work. To a certain extent, when Mr India (1987) and Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1993) didn’t do well, the failure drove me to work like a madman. So, I can’t romanticise about the whole thing.
Do you get enough time to relax?
When I am shooting, I am completely cut off from everything else. But even when I get a day or two off from work, I don’t chill or relax. There are so many meetings lined up, and so many decisions to take. Life is exciting and fun, but it is also busy and tiring.
Do you keep track of what your kids are doing?
Obviously, they are my children and I have to keep track. I have to protect them. But they all make their own decisions. All of them are strong individuals. We are a family that respects each other’s independence. We respect each other’s opinions, and, at the same time, I can also proudly say that my kids do listen to their parents as well. Woh badtameez nahi honge (they will not speak rudely to us), and won’t rebel for the sake of it.
Your son, Harshvardhan, will make his B-Town debut soon. How are you feeling about that?
I think it is better if we let his work speak, and let people decide what they feel about his movie. Sometimes, I say certain things and they get misinterpreted. I can only say that he is more hard-working than I am. You can’t take that away from him. Success is not in his hands, but hard-work is. So, I am very happy.
At this stage, how much does success or failure affect you?
In your career, you do a lot of films that work, but only certain movies make you happy. More than anything, a film should first make you happy, and then your peers, critics or contemporaries. When I did Woh 7 Din (1983), Mr India (1987) and Viraasat (1997), I had to go everywhere with these scripts to convince producers to back the film. Even with my TV show, my instincts said that I should do it. There will be bigger movies than Woh 7 Din or Viraasat, and there will be other shows that grab more attention than mine. But the satisfaction that you get from doing these projects is 10 times greater.
Do you think, even for Bollywood actors, TV is the future?
Yes, absolutely. I feel people are open to it now, and are waiting for the right offers. If someone comes up with an offer that has good content, I think everyone will be willing to take it up.
You have always believed that Sonam will create a niche for herself in the film industry, and she is doing exactly that…
Sonam is like me. We don’t know if we have made it big or not (laughs). Even if people call my show a game changer, I will still feel I am struggling. Neerja has done so well, and has received critical acclaim, but she doesn’t realise it. So, someone needs to constantly shake us up. I still feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg. She has not been exploited creatively. She has so much potential, and the faster the film-makers realise it, the better it is for them. If I was a film-maker or a director, I would make every film with her. But she doesn’t want to work with me.
Do indian actors have a mental block about working on television?
It depends from person to person. There are a lot of actors who have a mental block. There are certain people who don’t do it and are still successful, and there are some who are doing both. It is also the future for content creators. Sometimes, a superstar doesn’t need to do it. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t have to do it (act on TV) right now. But after a few years, you never know.