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‘I want to take risks’

Anil Kapoor talks about bringing American TV series 24 to India and working with young talent.

WHILE his colleagues struggle to look younger,Anil Kapoor,it seems,is instead ageing backwards. His new,lean look can evoke envy in actors much younger. A pair of twiggy sunglasses in animal print lends a quirky contrast to his all-black ensemble of trousers and a tee. Kapoor,however,is reluctant to take credit,“My face gives away my age,” he says. The actor attributes the choice of the stylish accessory to his daughters Rhea and Sonam and explains that the lean look is for his upcoming movie,Shootout at Wadala.

“The film is set in the ’70s and based on a true incident,the encounter of Mumbai gangster Manya Surve. I essay the role of the cop who handled the squad and for a particular sequence,I had to mix with college students,” says Kapoor,who lost eight kilos to look like one of them.

He had been playing supporting roles with leading men Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar in films such as Yuvvraaj and Welcome. After the recognition that Danny Boyle’s Academy Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire brought him,there’s a renewed interest in the actor and he was even signed up to play a political leader from the Middle East in the eighth season of the popular American tele-series 24. And although his role in Mission Impossible’s fourth installment was much-publicised,his blink-and-you-miss role as an Indian businessman was criticised.

The actor admits that Slumdog Millionaire’s success made him take stock of his career. “I now want to work with new people and young blood. This is the reason I take my role as a consultant to Mahindra Sundance seriously as I get to read some great scripts and meet people whom I may like to work with in the future,” says the actor,who has assigned Rhea to head his production house,Anil Kapoor Film Company.

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Currently,Kapoor is focusing on the launch of 24’s Hindi adaptation on Colors channel,under his banner,where he plays the Indian counterpart of the series’ lead character,Jack Bauer. While most Bollywood stars are working on television in the reality genre,keeping their distance from fiction,Kapoor is diving right in. “I am in a safe place today,with an active,successful career of over three decades behind me. Everyone talks of the change that Indian television needs to undergo,but no one wants to work towards it. I am at least willing to try,” he asserts.

Risks,he adds,are what kept him going even in the early days of his career.“The industry has always been star-driven and overlooks the importance of interesting characters — what is Mr India without Mogambo and Parinda without Anna?”

The 53-year-old’s next film will see him again as part of an ensemble cast,alongside John Abraham and Manoj Bajpai among others. Kapoor explains that he signed up for Shootout at Wadala because it is the second time he will get to play a cop after his popular act as Lakhan in Ram Lakhan (1988). “My latest character is honest,unlike Lakhan” he says.

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For the film,he also spent time with retired ACP Isaque Bhagwan. In the process,he picked up nuances about the body language of a cop. “In the movie,I carry my pistol in a pouch hanging from my wrist,just the way Isaque did. I learned that carrying it in the pocket makes it unwieldy and arouses suspicion when a policeman is undercover.”

First published on: 12-04-2013 at 02:48:28 am
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