I think it's My Work, Which Keeps Me More Integrated, Says Super Star Anil Kapoor
"I want to do whatever possible within my abilities as an actor, because I feel an actor you has to keep on improving his craft"
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Now every Friday BW Businessworld.in streams Friday’s Live With Raj Nayak, a show in which the host brings you face to face with celebrities and exceptional men and women from different walks of life, who have inspired people around them. Raj Nayak is Founder and Managing Director, House of Cheers.
Read about this episode starring celebrated Hindi film actor Anil Kapoor, who is known as much for his four-decade-long career in the film industry, as his humility and zest for life.
Raj Nayak: He is young and dynamic and his positive attitude towards life is contagious. Anil Kapoor is someone I've known for the last few years, and he is someone who, inspires you with so much positivity, that it remains with you always. He's always full of zest, full of life, full of energy, and always wanting to reach out to help. He is humility, personified. His career is extremely inspiring. He actually needs no introduction. He is a super star, whose career has spanned over four decades and is still going strong.
He is one of the finest actors we have in this country. I keep saying, ‘Anil, your best is yet to come’. He has acted in over a hundred films, both Indian and international. Recently, he also became a producer, He is a man who keeps reinventing himself ? the evergreen hero.
Anil Kapoor: Thanks, Raj. Thank you so much. Yeah. Such a pleasure to be on your show and Facebook Live. What are you calling the show?
Raj Nayak: It's called Friday's Live with Raj Nayak. So, every Friday I plan to bring in different guests. I realised that I met so many people over the 30 years that I spent in this industry, whether it was advertising, marketing, broadcasting or media. At different touch points, I've come in contact with so many people who have inspired me. And I thought, why don't I use a platform? And I can connect back with people like you. And also, you know, a lot of people out there want to get to know your story, your struggles, your life. And I thought this is a platform where I could walk the journey with you and get people to learn from you. And at the same time, be inspired by you through your achievements.
Anil Kapoor: Thank you. Thank you so much. We have known each other for so many years ? both professionally and personally. It's wonderful to know you, Raj. You know you are a people’s person. And then, you know, when I met you, we connected instantly and we became molded professionally. We became friends and we continue to be friends. And today. I'm here more as a friend, so you can ask me whatever you want.
Raj Nayak: Because you are a friend, I'm going to ask you to tell me what is off limits?
Anil Kapoor: Don't ask me about my girlfriend's here. But I am just joking. I think it’s better that we talk about positive things.
Raj Nayak: The show is all about positivity. It's about hope. It's about compassion. So, I'm going to stick to that.
Anil Kapoor: I mean, I think I was just smart, you know, and, clever and lucky.
Raj Nayak: You know, people look at your success and think he's been a superstar for almost four decades. He has a huge Bungalow in Juhu, and probably a lot of other properties and has made it so big in life. People look at this side of it, but I mean, it hasn’t come easy. You've gone through a struggle. You had very humble beginnings and from there, you’ve grown into whatever you have become today. So, what would you like to share about your life, where you began and when did you decided to become an actor?
Anil Kapoor: I think, you know, I was one of the fortunate ones. When I came into my senses, I just wanted be an actor. So, I was lucky. You know a few of my friends, including my siblings, there were certain times when they were confused about what they wanted to do and what they didn't want to do. And most youngsters are not very sure about what they want and there's nothing wrong with that. And then they find their bearings and know what they want to do in life.
But for me, I was very fortunate from the beginning. The blinkers on, (and I know) I just want to be an actor. I think in the sixth or seventh standard, there was a friend of mine in my class and his father was the supplier. You know, he used to supply junior actors to films, and he asked me if I would want to act in a film and I auditioned for that film. That was my first audition. That was my first shot for a film going to Dubai. And from there, my journey started as an actor.
The film got stuck and was never made unfortunately, or fortunately. And then my second stint came as an actor when in 1977 I did a film called Humare Tumahre. Then I did Ek Baar Kaho for Aashique Productions and then I did Shakti, and then I did Kaha Kaha se Guzar Gaya for M. S. Sathyu as a lead. And then I did a Telegu film and then of course, from both sides in 1982, I started shooting with them. The film got released. And from 1983 to now 2020, I've been an actor who's accessible, tradable and people still want to see me.
| “So, we had to take photographs and show the pictures and if they liked the pictures, they would take a test or you would perform in front of them and have to impress them. So, Raj Saab saw the pictures and he liked them very much, and he had good things to say about me. And then of course, ultimately, he loved my work and I remember sitting at the dining table at the famous cottage and him speaking very, very positively, and predicting a good future for me.”|
Raj Nayak: You mentioned that you first acted when you were in the 6th and 7th standard. I don't know how far this is true, but I was told ? and you can verify it on the show ? that you shot for a few days for the role of junior Shashi Kapoor and I believe on the last day of the shoot, you went to school with all the makeup on after the shoot, because you wanted to tell all your friends that you had become an actor.
Anil Kapoor: Yeah. Yeah. That's, true. Yeah. I just wanted everybody to know. Every actor has some quirks and some craziness and that was one of them.
Raj Nayak: So people have asked me. ‘Woh khata kya hain?’ (What does he eat?) Where does this motivation come from? Where does this energy come from?
Anil Kapoor: You know, I'm from a Punjabi family and the food made by my mom is like folklore in the industry. I don’t think there's a single filmmaker or actor or anybody connected with the film industry who doesn’t know about the food which is cooked in my mom's home where we used to stay at Tilaknagar, before shifting to Cyan, Kudiwala and then we came back to Juhu Maitri Park. And, my mom lives in Versova. I live in Juhu, which is just a stone’s throw away. And, there was nobody to, match her talent as a as a chef or whatever you may call her ? ma ke haath ka ? you know. So, I've always been exposed to all kinds of healthy food ? as well as non- healthy food, and I've never dieted as such in my mind.
Every decade things kept on changing. Earlier I was not aware of what to eat and what not to eat. So, I would eat everything when I was struggling. I would even eat Usal Pav and Batata Wada and Vada Pav and Samosa, sandwich and Missel and you know, go to all those exotic restaurants. Karri Biscuit and toast were my favourites, when I was struggling. And then, when I went to my acting school, then there were these two restaurants and one was called Rajasthan. So, I used to go to those restaurants and have the Biryani and the lamb chops and the mutton and the vegetarian food. And so, I was always having all kinds of food.
And then of course, I got married and Sunita is a Sindhi. And so, there was a mixture of Punjabi and Sindhi food and then of course, Continental food. Her condition was “I'm not going to cook ever”. So, I had to become a successful man to afford to get married to her. So (we got married) once I could afford to have a cook in my house to feed her. And we've been fortunate to have the best people. You know, nice human beings, who have been part of the family and who have made great food. So, I have always eaten everything.
Coming to the point, sub kuch khaya hain, abhi bhi khata hu (have eaten everything and still do) But uske hisab se (to that extent) I work out also. So, it is always input and output. So, initially in the first 10 to 20 years of my career, we were not that physically conscious. Jackie Shroff and I would go to the movie releases and premiere rows. We were always at the buffet, khana kha rahe thein (eating the food). Neither of us were aware of it.
Then after every decade, I kept raising the bar on my physicality. I knew that I had to be fit. I have to look better and I have been maintaining my weight and I have to go and face the camera. I love my work. I love my profession. I love what I do. So, I feel the least I can do is when I give a close up, it should not be a close-up where the audience feels ‘yaar ye khaya peeya ghar ka hai (he’s well-fed) or you know, he has not slept well. I want to give my best. I kept on looking after myself. I want to be honest to my profession. So that's what I practice.
So every decade I kept on raising the bar. I got more educated about the food habits and about my health habits, fitness levels. But you've been conscious of my fitness.
Raj Nayak: You mentioned Sunita. So, tell me, when did you meet Sunita?
Anil Kapoor: Sunita? She was friendly with Nishi's sister and we all used to study in the same school once again. So, it was Rima's birthday, they were very close family friends. So, we used to keep on visiting at events and parties and dinners. So, I was there for a party and that's the first time I saw her.
Raj Nayak: So who proposed to whom?
Anil Kapoor: We were friends earlier, you know, for a few years, we were just platonic friends and then organically, I think we just fell in love. So, it's been almost 46 years.
Raj Nayak: So how do you manage to keep your discipline when it comes to fitness? I have two questions for you from a lady in Singapore, Avni. She wants to know for how many decades have you been in the film industry. Everyone has six packs. It's another matter that you can give competition to any of the new stars when it comes to fitness. What is the driver? How do you manage that discipline?
Anil Kapoor: I think it's my work which keeps me more integrated. It's my work, it's my profession, because I love it. I want to do whatever possible within my abilities as an actor, because I feel as an actor you have to, keep on improving your craft. How do you use your craft? The only instrument you have is your body and your mind. So if you keep your body and mind fit, then you can keep on improving your craft. So, to improve your craft as an actor, you have to have a healthy mind and a healthy body. And that's one of the reasons I keep raising the bar, so that I can improve myself as an actor.
Raj Nayak: So your journey hasn't been all roses, right? So, can you tell me when you faced rejection in life?
Anil Kapoor: Let me see. I think anyone, in any profession, has to go through ups and downs. So even I have gone through all the ups and downs and I would not call them rejections. But, you know, I would call them hurdles, hiccups, you know, and speed breakers, which came into my life.
Raj Nayak: I heard that. What was this movie ? Ballika Badhu or Ehsaas?
Anil Kapoor: You have done quite a bit of research.
Raj Nayak: You shaved your chest and head for the thing. And then you were disappointed that you didn't get it. And then the same thing happened again with Balika Badhu. You auditioned and you didn't get it. So, what did you learn from it? I wouldn't call these rejections, but setbacks. What were your learnings from these things?
Anil Kapoor: I always say, ‘accha ho gaya yaar” (good, it has happened). And there's something better coming. So, in a way, it, the disappointment was for a few hours or for a day or two, and next year, it was, ‘Thank God, nahi leeya (thank God, I didn’t take it). I think something better is coming. So that's always been something bigger, something better is coming. And it always, fortunately for me, has happened in the last 40 years. Something slips out of my hand, something doesn't happen and something better comes.
Raj Nayak: Has it ever happened that you said ‘no’ to something and then you regretted it. It's gone to become a big hit or something like that.
No, I have not regretted it, but, you know, sometimes what has happened is that filmmakers have come and told me to my face ? you know, directors or writers have come and said, ‘yaar aapne nahi ki, dekho picture itni badi hit ho gayi’. (You refused the role, but the film became a big hit). I don't want to argue with them. But most of the time, I feel I'm not the best choice if someone else has done it. And when someone else is always a better choice, there must be a reason why I said ‘no’ to it instinctively at that time. The film slipped out of my mind, because I think that filmmaker deserved someone better. I was not destined to do that film. So I take it very positively.
And so the only time I feel disappointed is when they come in and throw it at my face. Yaar, mughe toh kabhi yaad bhi nahi rehta hai ki ye aaya tha mere pass (I don’t usually even remember when the film was offered to me). So, then I tell them, ‘yaar good na I did not do the film. You've got someone better and you've got someone who will really suit much more than me’. And then there are some who will say, ‘aap hote toh better hota’ (you could have done the role better). I say that he was the right choice. And, let me carry on.
But, till now I have not really regretted any of the decisions I've taken. I have to correct them. I’ve moved on and that's what I believe. I move on and I want to always strive to be on my next film, next year or in the next project. And for me, no film, no filmmaker, is big or small. When I commit something to someone, I not only commit to it completely till the shooting, but also when I have to market the film and even after the film is released, I meet my commitment to the film.
|“I think it's my work, which keeps me more integrated. It's my work, it's my profession, because I love it. I want to do whatever possible within my abilities as an actor, because I feel an actor you has to keep on improving his craft. How do you use your craft? The only instrument you have is your body and your mind. So, if you keep your body and mind fit, then you can keep on improving your craft. So, to improve your craft as an actor, you have to have a healthy mind and a healthy body. And that's one of the reasons that I keep raising the bar so that I can improve myself as an actor.”|
Raj Nayak: I've seen that you go out of your way to make things happen. And more importantly, your passionate commitment is something that's probably unparalleled. I've seen it at first hand and so I can vouch for it. I also know that you were selected by Raj Kapoor when he had come to Roshan Taneja's acting classes where you used to act, is that right?
Anil Kapoor: Your information about Ehsaas is correct and your information about Balika Badhu is right. Your research is really terrific.
I passed out from Taneja's, who was my teacher and my guru in acting, I learned acting from him. When I passed out, I started meeting all the filmmakers and directors and actors who could give me work. So, I went from office to office and from studio to studio. And one of the studios I went to was R.K. studios. And I met Raj Saab. and I said, ‘how do I impress him?’ I had heard that Marlon Brando and a lot of other actors have got roles without petitioning for a film. The offer is there, and then you audition. But this I did this without being offered the film. And I said, ‘how can I inspire them and motivate them?’
So, I went to Kharagvasla and I did a photo shoot. I showed my pictures, but those days there was no video and I could not show anything in the way it is done today. You know, the digital media was not there. Technology was not there. So, we had to take photographs and show the pictures and if they liked the pictures, they would take a test or you would perform in front of them and have to impress them. So, Raj Saab saw the pictures and he liked them very much, and he had good things to say about me. And then of course, ultimately, he loved my work and I remember sitting at the dining table at the famous cottage and him speaking very, very positively, and predicting a good future for me.
Raj Nayak: So there's a question from a gentleman called Kush Mehra and he says, what is your greatest fear and how do you deal with it?
Anil Kapoor: I think the fear is all around. ‘Jo dar gaya woh bachh gaya’ (those who took to fright, were saved). So, obviously you don't want to lose your near and dear ones. That's the only fear. You don't want to lose them. Obviously, ultimately a day is going to come when all of us have to go and nobody is indispensable in life. ‘Jo aata hai usko jaana hi hai’ (those who have to go, have to go). So, you're aware of it, but still fearful about it. So, that's the only fear I've had.
Otherwise, you know, and kabhi kabhi yeh hota hai ke kaaam karne se pehle yeh dar rehta hai ki acting bhul toh nahi jaaunga main, sets pe jaake dialogues bhull toh nahi jaaunga main, stage pe jaake aisa toh nahi hoga ki (sometimes I do get these jitters before I start work, worrying that I will forget to act on the set or forget my dialogues on the stage or what if) I just freeze and won’t be to do my character in the role. You know, I hope I can fulfill the expectations of the director or the filmmaker or expectations the audience has about me when they go and watch me, or when I'm on the set, I worry, will I be able to deliver? So that fear is always there always ? always.
|“My friend has always been my wife. She’s always been my best friend, to be honest with you. We started as friends and then we fell in love and then we married and we will always remain friends. And of course, we are you know, partners.”|
Raj Nayak: Has that ever happened to you, that you have frozen?
Anil Kapoor: Yes, it has happened to me once while I was in a debate competition in my school. And from there on, there has been a kind of stage fright, which I have had. I did an Elocution competition and you know, I won the trophy for it. After winning that, I began to feel a little more confident. So, I said, let me go into the inter-school debate competition. So, I remember participating in the debate competition, and I went on stage and I, after a few lines, my mind went blank and I froze. I came down the stage completely humiliated that I was unable to complete in the debate competition and I just completely froze. You know, that fear is always there.
Raj Nayak: Your whole family by default is today in the film industry, whether its Sonam or Rhea? Was it planned, Kapoor Sons and Daughters, or did it just happen by default?
Anil Kapoor: You know Sunita being a banker's daughter, never in the 45 years of my knowing her, has she ever spoken to the media. So, obviously there was a certain kind of discipline in the house when they were growing up. She tried her best to ensure that when I come back home, we have a normal kind of a home where, there are not too many trade magazines or discussions of films or, you know, business and all those kinds of things. There were no film magazines. Basically mostly, they were not exposed to these kinds of things. And hardly ever ? I think once or twice on very rare occasions ? were they on the set.
They would come on the set only before and after the shooting. Very rarely were they on the sets. And sometimes when I found someone on the set, we'd all be surprised. I’d say, ‘how come they were on this set?’ Not that I didn't ask them not to come. It was a decision which Sunita took so that they get focused on their studies. So we never really encouraged them. Nobody was really groomed from childhood to become an actor in my family. You know, it was more, because my attitude was, ‘let them decide themselves what they want to do’. So, we never really thrusted it on them.
And it's very surprising, because you know, all three of them have studied abroad. My son has studied in Los Angeles. Rhea studied in New York and Sonam in Singapore, but ultimately, they came into films. It was very strange. I think something about the DNA, what would you call it? I want to understand this, how this happens.
You know, they came into films, but what I liked about it is that they, all three of them, are very strong, idealistic, very strong individuals. In my house nobody is anybody's fan. You know, everybody is an independently thinking individual. So, they have chosen their careers in films. But all of us have different tastes, especially all three of them. Sonam has a different taste about the kind of work she wants to do, kind of life she wants to lead, what makes her happy and what makes Harsh happy and what makes Rhea happy and what makes me and Sunita happy. All five of us like different things. And we are all following the path professionally and personally. Nobody is trying to thrust anything on anyone that ‘you do this, do that’. Everybody is allowed to do whatever they want to and if we find anyone, making any mistakes we are there to back up. And we are always there to advise them, but most of the time I'm taking advice from them.
Raj Nayak: So that's what I wanted to know, whether they come to you, for advice?
Anil Kapoor: Mostly I think, I take advice.
Raj Nayak: So, tell me, you stopped smoking after Sonam got married?
Anil Kapoor: No, I've never been a smoker, Raj in my life. I've always been on and off. You know, I am one of those guys who would bum a cigarette from someone. If I have a director who smokes and then I would see his packet. I would see a leading man from my fraternity I like and see him smoking and looking fit and nice and healthy and much stronger than me. So, I've not been a regular smoker, but of course, I bumed it and I always take cigarettes for fun. So, I never had a single brand as such. I enjoy it and I have it, I'm being very honest about it, but then, I’ve never been a smoker.
I've never been a regular drinker either. I just have one or two drinks sometimes and I drink only when I'm happy. When I'm exhausted, I have one drink. It’s a feel-good factor sometimes.
|“One hour in the morning, I do, cardios and in the evening, I do weights. So, that's been my routine during the lockdown. So much time to myself. I have so much time. So, why not? At the moment, it's not about body-building. It's not about that. You know, it's about community building and the community being fit and healthy to fight this. It is about motivating myself to build my immunity, because I'm 60 plus. So, I have to be more careful.”|
Raj Nayak: So, tell me about your friends.
Anil Kapoor: My friend has always been my wife. She’s always been my best friend, to be honest with you. We started as friends and then we fell in love and then we married and we will always remain friends. And of course, we are you know, partners.
Raj Nayak: I remember you telling me a story of that trip to the UK, where you went by Euro rail.
Anil Kapoor: Yeah, yeah, yeah. As we were traveling, we went all over Europe. Yeah, I remember. So otherwise of course, I have a lot of friends personally, you know, from school and then college. And then, when I started working, in the film industry, part of the industry. So, a lot of friends. I think I've kept in touch with all my filmmakers, all my friends. So, I am in touch on and off with all of them. So, there are some friends who have stayed in touch and me and my fans, since the time I started my career, giving me all the love.
Raj Nayak: I've dealt with a lot of celebrities from the film industry. You are one person I've seen, who's loved by everybody normally, and I haven't seen you speaking ill about anybody, so that's a unique trait that I've come across. So, I'm going back a little. We were speaking about Sonam. Your son-in-law Anand has a fetish for shoes and so do you, right?
Anil Kapoor: Hmm. I don't know. I don’t have a fetish for shoes, of that I am pretty sure.
Raj Nayak: And I'm don't know if Jalal also has fetish for shoes.
Anil Kapoor: Yeah. All of them except me. Because you see mine and Harsh's and my dad's size, are the same. So, I've worn my dad's shoes. I can wear Jalal’s shoes also. I have worn Jalal’s sneakers in the film and ultimately obviously the next day, the producers had to buy me new ones. So, now he's got that too. So, he has two pairs of shoes now. I wear Harsh’s shoes too. So, I'm sometimes prodded by my wife. She says, ‘You better buy a formal shoe or something. You keep on wearing the same pair of shoes again and again.” So, whenever you see me in a good pair of sneakers, it's not mine. It's either been gifted by Anand or it’s a pair of Harsh's shoes.
Raj Nayak: Okay. Now you can tell me if I'm right or wrong again. And if I'm wrong, then that's why as I keep saying, you shouldn't necessarily believe everything that comes on the internet, but if I'm right, then I'll be happy. Is it true that you're a trained classical singer,
Anil Kapoor: Not a classical singer, but I did train for two to three years as a semi- classical singer in nazams, ghazals and geet. And my guruji’s name was Chote Iqbal. He was a music director and had composed music for a few films. And after a year- and- a- half, I played the tabla. So I would sing. So, I didn't really learn semi-classical to go and become a singer, but I figured it helped me in my professionalism.
Raj Nayak: So can you sing?
Anil Kapoor: There's no riwaz (practice) Raj. I'm doing this film. So, I have sung after a long time. I'm singing or rapping now. I met this boy Denny. He said just as you have body gymming, you have voice gymming. You know, a gym in your voice. Then, I learnt a lot of breath control, but the lockdown happened. But I'm going to continue with it. And I think, singing makes me better than all the other seniors, not the professionals, I guess, but definitely the actors.
Raj Nayak: So someone wants to know, how do you exercise every day? What's your routine? What's a day in the life of Anil Kapoor like?
Anil Kapoor: Oh, I think I just have a one off. I’ll be exercising six days a week and then one day I rest, but not during the lockdown. One hour in the morning, I do cardios and in the evening, I do weights. So, that's been my routine during the lockdown. So much time to myself. I have so much time. So, why not? At the moment, it's not about bodybuilding. It's not about that. You know, it's about community building and the community being fit and healthy to fight this. It is about motivating myself to build my immunity, because I'm 60 plus. So, I have to be more careful.
Raj Nayak: So, Mr Annurag Batra is asking, who are your real-life heroes?
Anil Kapoor: My real-life heroes keep changing, Raj. When I was young, when I was in school, obviously there were all these great leaders, actors, like Charlie Chaplin, who was my hero. When I was young, there was Dilip Kumar saab and Raj Kapoor saab. I used to love John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States. And then of course, there's Gandhiji, Nelson Mandela, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee sahab. You know, I've been a great admirer of all these great leaders. They were my heroes. And then of course, there are so many actors and leaders today and philanthropists and people who sacrifice their lives by living for others.
Raj Nayak: Another girl says, give us some insights into your experience with Slumdog Millionaire. The same question has come from three people because you acted in the 24 series and Slumdog Millionaire. They want to know, what's the difference between acting in international movies or series vis-a-vis acting in Hindi films?
Anil Kapoor: There's no difference. I've always said that there's no difference. It's the same. Obviously, the scale is much bigger, their audiences is much bigger, the language of the film is English, which is not understood and spoken as much as the national language, which is Hindi. And that's why the audience is bigger, so they can afford to make bigger films. They are the people who really started films. So, obviously the art is really deep-rooted in them. And of course, we are also no less now. So, it's almost the same. I think (going by) what is happening now in India in the last few years, it's the same. There's no difference as such. I didn't find any difference in it in our case, besides the scale and the breadth.
Raj Nayak: So we did 24 together. And I think, that was probably much before Netflix and Amazon came to India. It was a show of that scale and size that nobody had seen in this country. So, would you like to share some experience of what you learned from the environment while you were doing Season Three, Four and Five?
Anil Kapoor: You are the best person to answer that. Why couldn't we do the three? Why did we do three seasons? The two, as you found, were too expensive and today everyone is making shows that I think, are three or four times more expensive than 24. Correct me if I'm wrong, but our scale and our technical (excellence) was as good or better than that of any of the shows that you have seen. And, the money spent was much, much less, compared to the kind they're spending now. And, I'm quite surprised by the fact, because I’ve always wondered at Season one. I had not got that kind of positive feedback from the broadcasters. They always wanted to cut down the scale of all the shows.
I said, now this is a show, you know. There are certain films, there are certain shows. If you try to compromise on the scale and the technicality of the shows, the shows completely fall flat. That's one of reasons why we never compromised on both the shows. We swept awards and got a great, positive feedback, both critically as well as from the people.
Raj Nayak: No, I'm surprised. I thought that you'd be the first port of call for anybody who wants to do a big show in India. So, I'm surprised that you haven't done and even 24 had a lot of lags, especially Season Two. I mean, we are talking about the widest Season Two of any form.
And that stamina we spoke about. The basic team was the widest. The biggest storyline. You know, everyone felt it's going above everybody's head and nobody would understand. And nobody really understood what the virus was. Okay. There is a possibility that there can be a virus and the bite is one of the most dangerous weapons. Uh, and it's the biggest enemy for anybody or the nation. And of course, the world and it just moved it. And that was the basic theme of the film. The virus is a bigger enemy than, you know, any of the ammunition or guns or arms. It is. It just, is a much bigger enemy because it's faceless and it is contagious and it travels. That is what the theme of Season Two was. But unfortunately, at that time, nobody really took it seriously. And that's what has happened to the other show, which now have been screened on Netflix, which, you know, everybody's watching and they're thinking, how could you know? They are all films? And this was one of the shows.
Raj Nayak: There is a person called Prasanna, who wants to know is there anybody that you have identified among the young directors today, all of whom are brilliant and do quality work, whom you would like to work with?
Anil Kapoor: I am working with youngsters and I'm always open to work with anybody and anyone who has a good script and if he has a little bit of experience and if he has done any documentary or any kind of work, it makes it much easier for me to recognise and see his work. It becomes easier. I've done a film for a first-time director, if they have done an earlier film or some documentary. You know, when I did Mission Impossible, I said, ‘how come Tom cruise has agreed to do the film with Brad Bird?’ But he had done animation, which was usually successful.
So, sometimes a document is an animation. Sometimes it's a short film. If you have done television or worked on any platform and then you have a great script, I would love to (work with you). I've always been open with first time directors or directors who have done their second films. I really enjoyed working with them and I'm open to anybody.
Raj Nayak : There’s a gentleman called Mandar Kulkarni who wants to know, had you not become an actor, what profession would you like to see yourself in?
Anil Kapoor: I have never really thought about this, but I don't understand what I would've done. But I would have been in cinema, I would be in films. You know, I wouldn't be producing films or not directing, but do something connected with films. But no other business.
Raj Nayak: You know, you are one of the actors who didn't do any brand endorsements. Was there any reason for it?
Anil Kapoor: Yeah, the reason was because I think the people who I used to admire and hero worship, had never done ads internationally and nationally, like the Kumars, Raj Kumar, Dev Anand and earlier even Amitabh Bachchan saab. So, I said, that's the way. Though, you know, pehle, jo nahi dikhta hai, wo bikta hai aur aaj jo dikhta hai woh bik jata hai (you know earlier, what was not visible, sold, now what is visible, gets sold). So, things change. And earlier it was, the more exclusive you are, the better it is.
And I always believed that I want to keep myself fresh for my filmmakers.
Whenever I come on a trailer on the screen, that should be my first exposure to the audience, rather than completely burning myself out doing all kinds of endorsements and you know, these kinds of things. And, I felt, people look up to you when they are not be able to touch you or feel like they should. There should be some mystery about a star or an actor. And that's what I really believed in. Then things changed. And so, when things changed and I had to change too and I also started doing my thing. I've started doing it in the last five, six years.
Raj Nayak : From Delhi Adarsh Gupta, has sent me an anecdote and that's the kind of impression you have on people. Apparently, he met you at the Grand Hyatt with his 10-year-old daughter she dropped the glass of orange juice and it broke and they were very embarrassed. And you ordered another glass and you said, ‘it's a good omen.’ I mean, breaking the glass. So, that's the impression that you have. Now. I want to ask you, suddenly now you're everywhere and almost in every ad.
Anil Kapoor: No, no. I have not been in every ad. I wish I was.
Raj Nayak : So, you haven't found any new ads that you would love to do?
Anil Kapoor: No, no, no. Hey, I mean, I do like to do ads. I really enjoyed doing a sort of Spotify and a little bit of other ads. If there's a good director and it is written well and there's something for me to perform. I like it. I enjoy it. I just enjoy if it is innovative and it's something unusual and something new to the storytelling because you have to stay at 30, 40 seconds or sometimes 60 seconds.
Raj Nayak: I need you tell me of five movies in your career that you would rank as something that you'd always remember and has left some kind of an impression on you.
Anil Kapoor: You know, I've been very fortunate, so I can't name five. I believe, there are quite a few films that I’ve done that are my favorite ? Mashaal, Mr. India, Ishwar, Ram Lakhan, Teezab, Slumdog, 1942 - A Love Story, Beta, Nayak. I'm really fortunate there are films which, thanks to the social media, people still remember with a lot of warmth and nostalgia.
Be it the music, your performance, your co-star, or your filmmaker, there were some pretty good films that I've been associated with and collaborated with real good filmmakers, actors, actresses. It’s been a great collaboration, a great journey. And, you know, I sort of only mentioned the films that came to my mind and I must have missed out a few of them.
Raj Nayak: If I remember correctly, it was around 1990, 1988, or when you were at the peak of your career ? in the sense you probably were the new model star at that time. And I think during the Moscow Film Festival, there was a special thing only for all Anil Kapoor movies. And I believe you went there with a few people from the industry. Anything you would like to share?
I think Umesh Nehra, who sent me some pictures, and I were quite surprised to see those pictures. I went to Moscow and at that point, even the country and the city had a certain kind of a feel, which is something completely different from all the other countries. Even when I went to Beijing, you know, I had the same kind of feeling. I've been going to these two countries, always, you know. There is a certain kind of a mystery about them. Kuch hai un logo mein (there is something about them). I don't know how to explain this to you, par kuch hai unme (there is something about them). Something cool about them.
What I mean is there's something which is very different about these two countries, especially Russia. I got a lot of warmth from the people of Russia. Mr. India also was one of the films, which was a huge success in China. Mr. India was a blockbuster in China and even in Russia. A lot of other films of mine also have been big, big successes. And when I went there, Mithunda (Mithun Chakraborty) was a big star. And of course, Raj Kapoor was the biggest, and is still the most respected and loved actor in Russia. And then of course, there's Bachchan saab who, you know, became very, very big in these countries.
Raj Nayak : A lady in the audience says she loved you in Nayak for the fast action. Will you ever consider joining politics?
Anil Kapoor: I don't think so. I don't like politics. I just want to be maybe straightforward. Apna kaam karo and nikal jao (do your own thing and get on with it). Get a smile on their face. Be nice and help people as much as you can in your own way. I don't think I can join politics yet.
Raj Nayak : Despite having so much success, how do you still remain so grounded? What is it that you do to stay grounded? Not everybody is like you. Ek picture karte hai (they make just one movie) and people start flying high. You've done some of the biggest hits this country has seen and still you are humility personified. How do you manage to keep sane?
Anil Kapoor: I don't manage. I just be myself. You know, it's very tiring being fake. You know, it's very tiring being not yourself. It's very exhausting to put on an act. Because I conserve the energy for my family and my work and so, I don't waste energy, trying to be what I'm not. So, I just be myself and that's the way I am. And if they feel that I am grounded and accessible in the field, I'm modest ? I don't know (why they do). This is the way I am. But I can sometimes be on a set and all or when I'm working, you can see the other side of me also. At times when people are not committed to the work and they lie or are dishonest, when there's no integrity and loyalty ? that upsets me and makes me angry. Then you can see those kinds of spurts in me. Then I do get upset. But otherwise, I just live and let live.
Raj Nayak : There is a question from Nishant in Bangalore and he asks, have you done any Kannada movies and if so, what has been your experience?
Anil Kapoor: Yeah, I did one Kannada movie, Pallavi and Pallavi, a Telegu film and I did a guest appearance in a Malayalam film. I've done a Marathi film. So, these are the three job opportunities I got. I have not done a Bengali film and I have not done a Gujarati film.
Raj Nayak : Anything you would like to tell your audience, all your fans all across the world? That’s always a question.
Anil Kapoor: I want to say, stay home and stay safe and, and just follow all the directives and instructions which are given by the central government and the state governments and stay fit, stay positive. I think you will come out of it much better and the world is going to be much better for sure.
Raj Nayak: My last question to you, and it's a wrap up question. There is a deeper question from Bangalore. What are the three things that make you happy and what is your definition of happiness?
Anil Kapoor: To be honest with you, I really do find some things which makes me happy. So, I can't name three things. A cup of good coffee, a good workout. My wife is nice to me. That makes me very happy. I said she's so nice to me. She says some good things. I have a good name, makes me happy. I meet some good people, makes me happy. Someone says, I'm a good listener. That makes me happy. I'm giving this interview to you and speaking to you and I'm, you know, fortunate that this is one of your first interviews and it makes me happy that you know, that I'm part of your journey, starting this Friday’s Live with Raj Nayak.
So, friends of yours who have come on the show make me happy. Seeing you makes me happy and when I see you happy, it makes me happy. When I see people happy, it makes me happy every day. I find something which makes me happy. I have a good cup of tea, that makes me happy.So there are so many things that make me happy.
Raj Nayak: Because you make others happy and you radiate positiveness and you'll be blessed. And thank you so much this evening.
Anil Kapoor: Thank you! All the best. And it was a pleasure. It’s been a long time since we were meeting every day. So, it's wonderful to speak to you. And next time we'll meet with a drink and thank you so much.