Anil Kapoor, who has got rave reviews in the American press for his stint on the just-premiered drama series 24, was so self-effacing that he couldn't ask the producers to let him show the first four episodes to his family back home. When Anil left for Los Angeles last week, he had promised his family in Mumbai that he would bring back four episodes of 24 which premiered in New York. But he came back to Mumbai empty-handed.
"I had promised them. And I'm sure Fox would've given the episodes to me. In fact, they gave the first four episodes to every journalist beforehand with a secrecy clause. So I could've easily asked because my daughters Sonam and Rhea and my brother Sanjay were all keen to see my television debut. But I just couldn't ask. I was too shy. Can you believe it?"
And now the only way Sonam and the rest of the family gets to see Anil's debut on 24 is if they download the episodes. "I believe the episodes can be downloaded. Also 24 is telecast on our channel AXN. But a few months late. I think episodes featuring me would be telecast much sooner," Anil said.
The actor, in fact, is making efforts to bring the series to Indian viewers simultaneously with the rest of the world. Anil is very happy with the way his television debut was received.
"It was overwhelming. I had made sure that the Indian media was also invited on the red carpet. The impact of my appearance on 24 is yet to be gauged. But I guess the show will add Asian eyeballs to the already-popular series.
"See, you've to understand television in the US is not the same thing as television in India. There're big stars on American television who actually refuse to do movies," he said. He was invited on the prestigious Today Show as well.
"You see, 24 is a series by Fox. And the Today Show is on a rival channel NBC. No actor from a Fox show is ever invited on the Today Show. I guess I was an exception because after Slumdog Millionaire I'm seen to represent the Indian diaspora in the West. It's a humbling place to be in," he said. The American press is going ga-ga over Anil.
"The most promising this season is Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), president of the Islamic Republic of Kamistan, who is negotiating a peace treaty with US president Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones). He's regal and decent," wrote the Los Angeles Times.
Entertainment Weekly said: "The dapper Hassan ...played by the wonderful Anil Kapoor, who really should go by the name of Fantastic Sam because of his incredible head of hair..." Back home, Anil is now committed to doing films here.
"I've a commitment with Ashtavinayak for two films. Indra Kumar and Apoorva Lakhia are working on two ideas which I really like. I may do one or both depending on how the projects scripts shape up. But before that I've two films No Problem and Aisha to release as a producer. I need to concentrate on that."
When asked how he manages to remain so thin at his age, Anil said: "A-ha! I was always lean and thin, much before it became fashionable. The secret formula is healthy living, positive thinking, no late nights and plenty of work."