Monday January 27, 2020

Anil Kapoor: I Need To Learn How To Go Easy On Myself

Actor Anil Kapoor says that he needs to learn to go easy on himself

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Actor Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor says that he has always been his worst critic. Wikimedia Commons

After four decades in Bollywood, Anil Kapoor feels he needs to learn how to go easy on himself, and that is his biggest challenge. The actor says he has always been his worst critic.

Anil entered the industry with a small role in 1979 with Umesh Mehra’s “Hamare Tumhare”, and then went on to carve his niche by balancing his stature as a respectable actor and his popularity as a saleable star, with performances including “Woh 7 Din”, “1942: A Love Story”, “Mr. India”, “Tezaab”, “Ram Lakhan”, “Lamhe”, “Beta”, “Taal”, “Nayak: The Real Hero” and “Pukar”.

At 62, he has managed to keep himself relevant in the forever fickle world of Bollywood showbiz, and his fit and sprightly persona defies his age. Anil insists his constant struggle is to go easy on himself.

“I’ve always been hard on myself and I’m always my own worst critic. So my biggest challenge continues to learn to go easy on myself and to let go when I need to,” Anil told IANS.

He says his career goals continue to be the same as they were all those years ago, when he was starting out.

“Strangely enough, my goals haven’t changed much! I’m a simple man with a simple plan — to be better than I was yesterday. So that’s what I continue to strive towards,” said the actor.

Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor feels that Cinema is the most engaging way in which stories are told. Wikimedia Commons

If anything, he has managed to stay relevant by experimenting with his craft and subjects, as trends changed in Bollywood over the past 40 years.

There have been the international forays, too. He featured in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-wiing global blockbuster “Slumdog Millionaire”, and also worked in “24”, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Family Guy”.

His versatility is proved by the fact that he was equally at home in these international projects as he was in out-and-out Bollywood outings as “No Entry”, “Welcome”, “Race”, “Dil Dhadakne Do”, “Mubarakan”, “Fanney Khan”, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” and “Total Dhamaal”.

“I’ve always believed that change is the only constant. So, I have let life and opportunities change me along the way, in the most organic ways possible. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the passion I feel for my work,” said the actor, who recently became part of a panel discussion by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films in Kolkata to decode “what makes films powerful”, as part of a six-city tour.

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films brings stars together to talk about the power of cinema and the short film genre. The panel discussion in Kolkata was moderated by Anupama Chopra, and also included Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Vinay Pathak, Sheetal Menon, Bejoy Nambiar and Niranjan Iyengar.

“Cinema is perhaps the most engaging way in which stories are told and shared”, he said, adding: “And stories have always had the power to shape minds and lives.”

The actor points out that power comes with a sense of responsibility.

Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor along with ‘Shootout at Wadala’ cast at a promotional event. Wikimedia Commons

“Anyone in a position to influence minds and hearts has a responsibility towards the people they are reaching. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the right platform and a mouthpiece to communicate with the world, so when you do, it comes with the duty to be mindful of the message you’re sharing and affirming,” said the father of three.

Anil will be back on the big screen in Anees Bazmee’s “Pagalpanti”, with whom he has in the past worked in “No Entry”, “Welcome”, “No Problem”, “Welcome Back” and “Mubarakan”.

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“Pagalpanti” also stars John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Pulkit Samrat, Ileana D’Cruz, Kriti Kharbanda, Urvashi Rautela and Saurabh Shukla, and is slated to release on November 22.

The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar’s T-Series and Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Pathak’s Panorama Studios and co-produced by Vinod Bhanushali, Shiv Chanana, Aditya Chowksey and Sanjeev Joshi. (Bollywood Country)

Next Story

How did Comedians Disappear from Hindi Films?

The term comedian carried as much weight as the phrase hero in Hindi films.

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Comedy films
Back in the old times, no films were complete without a dose of comedy. Pixabay

BY VINOD MIRANI

The term comedian carried as much weight as the phrase hero in Hindi films. Almost no films, especially a family drama or even a romantic film, was complete without a healthy dose of comedy. Often, the comedy track had little to do with the main narrative and, if at all, a thin connection was devised to keep it relevant to the story.

Like every lead actor who enjoyed his place under the sun, had his period of glory, so did a comedian. There were leading comedians and then there were gap filler comedians. There were comedians who were superstars in their own right. There were comedians who could be loud and there were those who fitted the bill just in B or C-grade movies; loud and crass mostly. And, there were the suave type who made you laugh while not seen to be making an effort at all.

Not only Hindi, every regional language film had its own star comedian with a following of his own. There were a few female comedienne as well. But, they were given just a few minutes of footage and more than their acts, their very appearance made one laugh. The examples are Manorama or Tun Tun.

Bollywood films
Usually bollywood films were designed to cater to the family audience, the often heavy scripts needed to break away from the narrative and comedy was brought in. Pixabay

Usually, the films were designed to cater to the family audience, the often heavy scripts needed to break away from the narrative and comedy was brought in. This was called comic relief. The length of films being longer compared to the films now, this comic relief helped.

The comedy created its own superstars. But, going back to 1950s and ’60s, of course, there were other comedians but the one who ruled the roost was Johnny Walker. He became so popular that roles were written for him especially while giving him all the liberty to improvise as he thought fit. But, as best of filmstars fade out, so did Johnny Walker.

The other comedian actor was on the horizon: the era of Mehmood was here. While Johnny Walker had a typical style of his own with a shrill voice, Mehmood was more versatile. His career spanned to almost two decades and a film without Mehmood, was unthinkable.

Then there was Kishore Kumar. Again, a multifaceted actor who also produced and directed films, he also went on to become the most sought-after playback singer in the 1970s. Kishore Kumar may now be remembered more for his songs but he, along with his brothers Ashok Kumar and Anup Kumar, are always remembered for their evergreen comedy film, “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi”.

Mehmood did not stick to comedy alone. He loved to indulge in emotional content. His aspirations to make films the way he wanted them, made him start making his own films, some independently and some in joint ventures with other established production houses. Among his most memorable films are “Padosan” and “Bombay To Goa”, which have proved to be evergreen. Mehmood is also remembered for his triple role of father, son and grandfather in “Humjoli”. His three roles are a take on the Kapoors: Prithviraj, Raj and Randhir. Not to forget his character in “Padosan”, which is etched in the memory even today.

Mehmood became so popular that some of his co-stars, the lead actors, felt insecure and thought Mehmood was hogging the limelight in their films and became reluctant to work with him, forgetting that often it was Mehmood who made their films popular and successful.

Writing scenes for comic situation was a job not many could justify. In the case of Johnny Walker and Mehmood, the written script was just an indicator, it was these comedians who made them clapworthy.

Then came a time when writers came at a premium and the filmmakers who believed that a major star was enough to make and market a film, never thought much about a writer who could give him a solid, tight script. The quality of writing was deteriorating. The scripts were poor, forget writing a track for comic relief.

The actor who did comic roles and stood a class apart at that time was Deven Verma. His expressions were always deadpan and yet he could evoke the laughter among the audience from all, the frontbenchers as well as the balconies. While, Verma was a universal choice for all makers, he remained very popular with filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and others who preferred subtle comedy the over loud kind that the others delivered.

Deven Verma’s mantle was taken over by Paresh Rawal. Again, a deadpan face and the way he delivered his lines, did the job for him. Irrfan Khan, Boman Irani and Anu Kapoor are such actors in the presentday Hindi film industry. Their films are always looked forward to.

Johnny Lever can safely be called the last comedian who enjoyed, one may say, a connect with the audience.

In earlier films, buffoonery was not part of the routine. The exception was comedian Rajendranath. He usually played the hero’s sidekick and he would be paired with the heroine’s ‘saheli’. He resorted a lot to buffoonery. Vulgarity and double meaning dialogue had yet to invade the filmmaking.

The 1980s saw a flood of South remakes in Hindi. The remakes followed the original where a pack of villains also served as comedians. They were sinister in intent but comic at the same time. These films would have six to seven comic players at the same time, with Kader Khan leading the pack.

Kader Khan, originally a writer who wrote satire skits, specialised in oneliners and repartees, and usually kept the best lines for himself. He was so busy acting in films that he wrote his scripts/dialogue while shooting. He dictated the dialogue on a Dictaphone and had an assistant transcribe them.

Kader Khan films
Kader Khan was so busy acting in films that he wrote his scripts/dialogue while shooting. Wikimedia Commons

The Kader Khan Gang included lesser comic stars like Asrani, Ranjeet, Jankidas and CS Dubey, while Shakti Kapoor and Amjad Khan, Prem Chopra, Jagdeep, and Tej Sapru alternated between villainy and comedy.

There were those limited-footage comedians like Mohan Choti, Paintal, and Jugnu but the one who drew maximum laughter among them was a teetotaller, Keshto Mukherjee, who specialised in playing a drunkard. People lapped up his act. And there was Bhagwan Dada, who was added to a dance number in many films only to repeat the dance steps he did in his own film “Albela” (1951). It so happened that “Albela” was re-released in late 1970s or early ’80s and proved to be a huge success. Still, Bhagwan Dada was financially not secure and some makers added him so that he got work.

Then, there were Satish Shah, Rakesh Bedi, Satish Kaushik, Tiku Talsania, Deven Bhojani, Dilip Joshi, Krushna Abhishek, and Kapil Sharma who went on to do better on the television.

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But soon, this breed of comic stars became extinct. What drew them away? There were no slots for them and, to start with there were no writers who could create side-tracks for them.

Most of all, the lead actors, from top down, had resorted to doing comic roles even while playing the lead. From Amitabh Bachchan to Govinda, and from Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar to Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor, the present lot is more into comedy or comic movies.

They leave no special category for comedians. (IANS)