Anil Kapoor on Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar chances and daughter Sonam’s ‘capital’ act.. in conversation with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
How are you feeling with the Academy Awards just two days away?
We’re in the last leg of the journey.. Telluride, Toronto, London Film Festival, AFI, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA and now the Oscars that is like the Olympics or the Nobel Prize of cinema. The biggest party in the world.. and I’ll be there. How many get the chance? Let me enjoy the last few moments of this dream till it is time to wake up and move on.
Will you do another impromptu jig?
(Smiles) That jig.. in the movie and at the Golden Globe.. just happened. These things are never planned. Today it’s the visual one associates with Slumdog Millionaire.
You’ll be wearing Armani again?
On my first few trips abroad, I spent time window-shopping outside Armani stores. As time went by, I could afford a tie.. then a cotton shirt. Today, the company is dressing me up for the Oscars. (Smiles) It seems like another dream.
The competition is intense..
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
.. but with 10 nominations your little big movie stands a good chance of being voted Best Picture.
.. is a frontrunner but the Oscars can’t be predicted. I think (AR) Rahman will win though. Six months ago, I had told Javed saab (lyricist Javed Akhtar) that Rahman would be up for an Oscar.
He’s scored far better songs than
. Those who get this kind of phenomenal success have been performing consistently over the years. Rahman has several memorable scores to his credit. Danny (director Danny Boyle) has always thought out-of-the-box. He took a huge risk coming to India with a team of 10 to make a film that did not have Indian mythology, Kung Fu kicks or snakes.
The gamble has paid off. Today,
.. is being compared to
which bagged 11 Oscar nominations and won eight awards.
Sir Richard Attenborough did a great service to Mahatma Gandhi, his legacy and our country by making Gandhi. But the kind of frenzy
has evoked in the U S is far bigger. It’s like a tidal wave.. a movement.. almost historic.
What would you attribute the frenzy to?
The world is going through tough times. In a bid to counter the crisis, we’re looking for change. America has its hopes pinned on Barrack Obama. Everyone loves an underdog and a love story. Danny’s fairytale romance has struck a chord.
Except back home where it has found many detractors?
What I love about my country is that everyone has an opinion here. But why wait till now to voice it after the world has lauded the film? Frankly, I had expected more criticism.
The fact that our politicians, the media and the majority have accepted
.. proves that India has matured. We hardly got 15 days to dub and release it. Yet, it’s done a business of Rs 30 crore and netted in $ 200 million worldwide. It’s one of the biggest hits ever and the best film of the century.
Didn’t Amitabh Bachchan’s blog entry running down
create some friction in your interaction with the Bachchans, particularly Abhishek, your daughter Sonam’s co-star in Delhi-6?
I look up to Mr Bachchan and when he calls me to say that he was not putting across his opinion but the opinions of a certain section, I believe him. He even sent me a mail and spoke to Danny about being misinterpreted.
I’m looking forward to
. I’ve made three trips to Los Angeles recently. It’s a long flight. Initially, I had planned to catch the New York premiere but later felt I should be at the Delhi one. It’s important to be with the family.
How would you rate Sonam in her second film?
I see a marked improvement from
, may be because in Delhi-6 she worked with an ensemble cast of talented actors like Waheedaji (Rehman), Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni and Supriya Pathak.
Sonam has your smile..
Really? Rhea, my younger daughter, says her smile is like her mother’s.
Is Rhea getting into the movies too?
Yeah, as a producer.
And your son Harshvardhan?
He’ll be a writer, director and actor.
One day you’ll make a movie together?
Hopefully they will want me.
Aren’t you planning a desi Emma?
That’s pure speculation for now.
At least you don’t have to worry about Sharon Stone chasing Harsh. She made a play for Dev Patel at BAFTA?
I’ve met Sharon.. Stone. People abroad are effusive in their praise for Slumdog.. Dev’s a good kid and he is handling his success well.
How did people react to your performance?
Many thought I was really a talk show host playing myself. Danny had to tell them I was an actor playing a role.
Buzz is that you’ll be hosting KBC on Sony?
I’ve heard that one too but no one really knows. I wouldn’t mind hosting a show though. After
.. I’m very confident.
Has Shah Rukh Khan expressed his regret over losing the opportunity of a lifetime?
He did mention casually that he had turned down
.. because he had certain issues. But he had kind words to say about me. We had a special relationship which might have translated into friendship had we not lost touch.
I was fond of him during
. I even recommended him to Rakesh Roshan and Vinod Chopra. We were to set up a portal together 15 years ago. I sent him my pictures and press cuttings. Had it happened, it would have been the biggest site.
Why do you think
Taare Zameen Par, our entry for the Foreign Language Oscar, fail to make it to the top five?
Ask me in two years and I may be able to answer that. Right now I’m still learning. I thought
Gandhi, My Father
would be sent to the Oscars but it wasn’t even considered.
So now you’re producing an out-and-out entertainer,
Even as an actor, I never stuck to one genre. Eeshwar came with
was to release on Januray 23 but it would have been difficult promoting
together. So we pushed it back to April 3.
That’s the IPL season?
IPL begins on April 10. And Shortkut is a small film with a big heart.
Which team will you be rooting for?
Mumbai Indians since I live here and
.. was made here.
You had two duds last year,
(Cuts in) And also a superhit
. I’ve had one biggie every year.. in 2004 it was
Will you be in the
Yes, I met Ramesh Taurani and Saif (Khan) recently. The script is locked. (Smiles) Kareena (Kapoor) says Saif wants to start filming by July.
I don’t know about
but Shekhar (Kapur), Boney (Kapoor), Manmohan Shetty and I are working on a Mr India sequel too.
Will it feature Sonam and you?
I’ll be there but I don’t think there’ll be a role for Sonam.
There’s also a thriller with Danny Boyle?
That’s what he’s been saying all over the world.
Have you got yourself a Hollywood agent?
Why would I need one? If anyone has a role, they can always find me in Mumbai. I’m not going anywhere.