If he played rummy.. or if he had endorsed hair tonic, he could have earned himself cool crores. But he has stayed away from ads, concert shows (largely) and TV shows. For him, film is the most tantalising four-letter word in the world.
And now, he’s being garlanded on the global circuit for his portrayal of a KBC-like TV host in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Anil Kapoor interviewed by Khalid Mohamed who’s still trying to say Jhakaaaas stylishly but in vain
Glowing reviews.. London film festival screening.. BAFTA screening.. next flight to Los Angeles. AK, you must be flying.
Yeah saala, I’m restless, I’m anxious before every screening. It’s like starting all over again. I feel I’m coming out of the Woh Saat Din premiere. I’m discovering the international scene, it’s my first experience.
Feeling like a nayee dulhan?
Dulhan? Yeah, naya dulha actually..tu kuch bhi bolta hai.
Tell me more about the reaction at the London festival.
The movie has the feel of a fantasy.. yet it’s plausible..believable. The response has been two thumbs up, by all the major critics.
Tell me, were you ever asked to host any TV quiz show?
Kaun Banega Crorepati, never. But Dus ka Dum, yes.. the one which Salman (Khan) did eventually. But I wasn’t 100 per cent convinced that I should be on TV.
Since you played the host of a KBC-like show, did you keep Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan in mind?
Come on, with due respects, you kill yourself when you try to be someone else. I don’t want to commit suicide, even if you’d like me to saala. Amitabh Bachchan on KBC was perfect in his own way.. and Shah Rukh Khan was appealing too, especially for the young generation.
I was sent plenty of literature on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?. I watched a few tapes of the British anchorperson. Siddharth Basu was helpful, he sent me video tapes of the rehearsals with Mr Bachchan. And we had workshops with Siddharth and his entire quizzing team.
You’re so predictable saala. Always doubting. No yaar, I couldn’t possibly be Mr Bachchan, Jay Leno or a male Oprah Winfrey. I had to be Prem Kumar, I’m myself therefore I am. Every detail.. from the way I sit to the way I throw questions.. has to be me. Agree?
Yes. Okay.. did you pay Siddharth Basu for the workshops?
He should pay me!
Would you do KBC 5 or 6 or 7?
I’ll do KBC 10. I’m not interested in game shows, I think they have been done to death.
I heard you want Danny Boyle to direct a film for your production company.
You should stuff cotton in your ears (laughs)..you hear too much. Yeah, I’ve been in talks with Danny.. so let’s see.
Were you Danny Boyle’s first choice for the role of Prem Kumar?
I don’t think so. Shah Rukh was the first choice. Danny went to meet him. When he did Shah Rukh apne ghar mein gardening kar raha tha.
He was watering the plants.
Why are you telling me this? Okay, tell me which films of Danny Boyle did you see?
Trainspotting and The Beach.. they’re my son’s kind of movies.. your kind of movies.. tera mental level is like my son’s. And he saw my Virasat and Taal.
Your son saw Virasat and Taal.
Shut up. Very funny.
Aren’t you glad that Danny Boyle didn’t see Tashan?
Oof, kidhar ka kidhar interview le jaata hai! Answer chahiye to sun..I thought Tashan was okay, cool thriller.. but my introduction shot went on for too long.. and the climax was a mess.
In Yuvvraaj, why do you have chapta hair?
Achha, if I flatten my hair, I’m asked why. And if Brad Pitt does, it’s sexy. He styled his hair like that at the Cannes film festival.. and everyone said, “Wow!”
How come you’ve become so fashion conscious.. you even walked the ramp lately.
See, Sonam is the one who knows all about fashion. She asked me to walk the ramp for Kunal Rawal and I did.. whatever makes Sonam happy.
You don’t want to find a groom for her?
Why should I? I’m a cool dad.. it’ll be her decision.
What happens when you read that she’s in love with this one and then that one.
Thank god, thank god, thank god, bahut dino se kuchh aaya nahin hai. Tell Honey.. and that Vaziran.. Mottu..jo bhi hai to stop.
Now tell me AK, won’t the global meltdown affect the filmmaking scene drastically in India as well?
I’m no analyst but I can say it is the best thing which could have happened to me at least. I hadn’t signed on any films of late.. I hadn’t gone in for any multi-crore deals. So, I don’t have to reduce my price.. which I wouldn’t have if they asked me to because of the recession.
Of late, you’ve been politically incorrect and frank.. like you were on the Sajid Khan TV show. You okay?
That’s for fun. On TV what you say can sound rude and negative because of the way you say it. On print, what I said would sound boring. Agree?
Agree. Whom do you love in the film industry?
That’s a tough one.
Thanks. I repeat.. whom do you love in the film industry?
Listen, have you turned 50 years old yet?
What’s that to you? No I’ve turned 60, 70, 80..khaali peeli, you always ask me about my age in every interview. See, I’m surrounded by youngsters. I can’t let any of them take my position. I’m constantly threatened! But seriously, my son Harsh keeps me in touch with everything from music to gizmos, you name it.
Whatever happened to your old friend Jackie Shroff?
What happened to him? If he knocks off 10 kilos, he’ll look fantastic.
How would you like to be born again?
Hmmm… then as a newcomer.. wearing his first suit for the Woh Saat Din premiere.
You’re quite a sentimental guy.. though you don’t show it AK.
I dare not.. because whenever I have, it’s not appreciated. I interact with people warmly, as a friend. I want to be loved. Give an actor that and he won’t care about whether he’s earning Rs 100 or one million in a year. Aur kuchh?
Okay say Jhakaas.
Tu theek hai na..shall I send an ambulance over?
You heard me.
Okay baba okay. Jhakaaaaaaaas!