When Mr India visited Australia!


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By Neeru Saluja

He’s been ruling the film world for four decades and still going strong. He’s famous in Bollywood and Hollywood but considers himself a drop in the ocean of world cinema. Even at the age of 58, he’s unstoppable. An actor, a producer, a father, our very own Mr India ”“ Anil Kapoor!


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Actor Anil Kapoor was in Melbourne as a chief guest for the fourth Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM). Accompanied by his daughter and actress Sonam Kapoor, the actor was presented with a special IFFM award for excellence in world cinema. He was also the first Bollywood star to hoist the flag at the iconic Federation Square on Independence Day.

During his visit, the quizmaster of Slumdog Millionaire charmed us as he was quizzed by journalists and fans. Be it his interview at the ABC Breakfast show, the live conversation with Jon Faine at 774 ABC Melbourne, the press conference or the opening night, Anil Kapoor’s enthusiasm was tireless.

So what makes him go strong even after 37 years?

“I made the right choices, worked with good filmmakers and my co-actors always supported me. My family has supported me a lot, my wife is a big support. Without your family, you are nothing. It’s a very tough profession. If you ask me, besides the hard work and the right choices I have made, you need the right kind of support to stay in this industry,” the star said.

Anil Kapoor is not only one of the busiest actors in Bollywood, but is  India’s most recognisable actors globally after starring in  Slumdog Millionaire, Mission: Impossible ”“ Ghost Protocol  and the eighth season of  24. He not only took Bollywood to Hollywood, but also to the Oscars.

So how did Slumdog happen to him?

“I’ve come across many filmmakers, but the filmmaker that I didn’t take seriously was Danny Boyle. I casually mentioned to my son that I have been approached by him and he said ”˜Danny Boyle!! I remembered the film Beach not because of Danny Boyle but because it was the second film Leonardo Di Caprio did after Titanic. So I got back to him and he sent me the script. My son asked me if I’m doing the film. He said he’s fed up of me running after the girls, dancing around the trees, and advised it’s high time I did something dark. I took an autograph of the script. I didn’t know what the movie was about! That’s how Slumdog happened,” tells Anil.

After Kapoor made his foray into Hollywood, his entire way of choosing films changed.

“After being in the business for more than 30 years, I now look for good character roles. I want to do roles that make me nervous, are out of the box, films that are directed by young filmmakers, have global statistics and can be seen all over the world. I want to do films that challenge me,” says the veteran actor.

And that’s the reason why Anil Kapoor went for the role of a father and businessman in his latest film  Dil Dhadakne Do.

“I was quite sceptical about this film. But Zoya Akhtar pursued me, she didn’t take a no or give me a choice. I want to work with such passionate filmmakers who challenge me,” tells Anil.

And if you are thinking Anil Kapoor is the strict father like he is in the film, you are wrong. Anil Kapoor always shares a laugh and supports his daughter Sonam Kapoor at every step possible.

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“Sonam wasn’t lucky because she’s my daughter; she started as an assistant director and has worked her way up. Actually she was the one who was invited for this festival and I asked her if I could come along!” says the humble actor.

We will see Anil Kapoor next in the sequel to  Welcome  but all of his fans are eagerly waiting for a sequel to Mr India. When asked the question, Anil showed the best of his comic side.

“Do you know why Mr India was so iconic and popular? Because I was invisible in it. Seriously! I feel these kind of films are difficult to make, especially if you want to make a sequel. You need the same kind of commitment, same honesty and same great team. But I’m still very positive that a sequel will be made.

And will he set the stage on fire once again with diva Madhuri Dixit?

“I would love to work with Madhuri again. Who doesn’t want to work with Madhuri?  Dil dhak dhak karne laga,” smiles the evergreen actor!


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