It's amazing how age has failed to wither Anil Kapoor. Not only has he been a major star for over 25 years, but he's somehow held onto the status of action-hero and sex symbol (from Jaanbaaz to Musafir to Race), even into his almost fifties. Hardly a few actors of comparable age and fame command such pay-packets, respect and are held in such esteem by Bollywood producers. This alone would mark Anil Kapoor out as someone special because cinematically speaking, he has been there and done that. We get this exclusive interview with the actor whose hard work and 'Tashan' has still kept him winning the 'Race' and 'Welcoming' the crowds.
With last year's multi starrer debacle of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, do you think in 2008 Yash Raj Films need a bit of Tashan, meaning 'good luck'?
You are forgetting Chak De India which got a bit of Tashan with it. But you can't predict a box office result of any film. The film should entertain and people should like the film and enjoy it. It's up to the critics to give the stars but the true results will always be measured by the honest opinion given by the public after the film releases.
With scripts such as Dhoom and Dhoom 2 to his credit, Vijay Krishna Acharya has proved he can write...and write well. Do you think he will 'dhoom machale' in his debut film Tashan?
If Tashan clicks, then 'dhoom machale'. If it doesn't, then 'doom machale'. But no matter what the fate of the film is going to be, I can surely vouch for him that he is a good writer and an even better director.
We've always noticed that Yash Raj Films have remained quite secretive about their story line for many of their films. They don't like to give anything away? Would you like to give away something if not anything?
The promos are out; the posters are on the walls, the stills are out...so there is nothing secretive about the film. I feel that the strategy we used to have in the 70's and the 80's should sometimes be implemented by the producers, where nothing was seen of the film except for some few photographs. That's exactly what I and Aditya Chopra discussed. His strategy for Tashan is to let the people discover for themselves what the film is all about. As kids when we used to go to theatres, we only had exposure to couple of film posters and used to listen to songs on the radio, and that was exciting. That's the excitement Aditya Chopra is trying to project through Tashan. Let audiences enjoy every second of this film discovering it.
It's not only Akshay Kumar, but Saif, Kareena and you too are coming back to the action genre after a sabbatical. Do you think the audiences have forgotten this genre completely in the midst of romance, comedy and family entertainers?
Whenever a good script comes your way, no matter what the genre of the film is, it will always click anytime. But definitely, at the moment, people are too receptive to a little bit of everything. I think in the overseas, all the people, including the Americans and the Brits are more receptive to action entertainers like Rush Hour, etc. Likewise, we Indians love the love triangles and love sagas. But now things are changing. People are fed up and bored with romance and family melodramas. Give them a bit of Welcome, Chak De India, Race and Tashan and see the difference.
Is it right in saying that Anil Kapoor has got a midas touch. You welcomed your fans by touching Welcome and won the race by touching Race. What's going to happen with Tashan?
I hope Tashan is bigger than both Welcome and Race and I pray to God that Tashan is an even bigger box office film. But if it doesn't, I would still not regret it.
You are speaking in broken Hinglish with a bit of lingo to it. Is it a difficult thing to be putting your voice in such a mix?
Rather than me speaking about my language, I'd urge people to go and figure out for themselves what I've done in the film. But whatever you've mentioned is so right. It is something I've never done in the past because it's not purely a south Indian, not purely Punjabi and definitely not pure Hindi. I keep my fingers crossed that my fans accept me in such a role so I can get a chance to repeat it whenever an opportunity arise in the future.
What's so good about playing a bad character?
I wouldn't say it's a bad character. According to me, Bhaiyyaji is a very lovable character. And you need to know this that now-a-days bad is good. The younger generation is more attracted towards bad guys than good ones I guess (laughs).
We know that Akshay - the real Khiladi is back to his favourite action genre after many years. Do you think Saif and Kareena could cope up to his style and image?
All actors have different skills. Yes, Akshay as we all know loved every bit of action he did on the sets. He was desperate to return back to what he loves best - action. In fact, Akshay by missing out on action for a few years has mastered comedy as well. Saif Ali Khan has done something which you haven't seen him do in these many years. So that might come as a surprise and the same applies to Kareena. All my three co-stars have surpassed themselves with Tashan, and when I say surpass, I mean that they have surpassed themselves in entertaining their audiences and then by their individual performances. Tashan tailors to entertainment in its true sense.
Vishal-Shekhar's music for an action film like this sounds different. How different do you think it sounds?
It sounds great yaar. My favourite track is 'Dil Haara'. I love the way Sukhwinder has sung it. Other than that, I feel the songs will pick up more after the film's release. That's my opinion, though they are on the top charts on all radio stations.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character in the film?
The character stays in a small town in Kanpur. He rides a rickshaw and makes a living out of it. He is ambitious in his own way and if it requires him to go against the law to fulfill his ambition he would not think twice he would just go and grab it. He is called Bhaiyyaji. He wants to make it big in Mumbai, the city of dreams. He achieves that. Then he wants to make it big internationally but his problem is that he does not know how to speak fluent English because he has only studied till third standard and that's the background of his character. You have to see the film to see how he learns English and how he fulfills his dream to become the most powerful man.
How would you describe Tashan? And what is your Tashan?
In true sense, Tashan means 'goodluck'. But in the film, Tashan is style, attitude and goodluck packed together. My Tashan is my two pair of jeans which I wear 365 days a year and my pair of boots which I've kept on wearing for years and years. My jeans and boots represent my style. As of now, this is my Tashan.
What was it like working with Yash Raj Films after so many years?
I have done three films with Yash Raj, I almost started my career with them. As a matter of fact, the turning point of my career was Mashaal, where I had the opportunity to work with Yashji and Dilip Kumar. I can never ever forget that because if Yashji would not have signed me for that film, I don't think I would have been giving this interview. Then I did Lamhe. We had such a wonderful time doing it and it was such a beautiful film and till today people remember that film. I have also spent some great moments with them traveling abroad and staying together. I think the best way to describe Yash Raj Films in one word is - Tashan.
Any message for your fans who are eager to watch 2008's biggest action flick, Tashan?
I'm coming to the U.K to attend the Zee Cine Awards on the 26th April, the day after Tashan releases. I'm looking forward to interact with them personally and I want them to go and watch Tashan just like they've watched Welcome and Race. So when I come to the U.K, I'll be waiting for their feedback.
Do you believe when you say in the promos of Tashan - 'First impression...is Last impression'?
I don't believe in it....but yes, the character believes. Bhaiyyaji believes