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Anil Kapoor says he never chased stardom in his 35-year-long journey in cinema and rather saw it as the by-product of being a versatile performer. The 61-year-old actor, whose first lead role was in the 1983 film Woh Saat Din, says he never succumbed to the idea of a conventional "hero", as his aim was to be recognised as a performer.
"Since the time I started till now, I have never surrendered to the idea of being a hero. I just wanted to be an actor. I was lucky that those characters came to me and the films became successful. I just went for the characters, directors and stories. And I became a star," Kapoor told PTI in an interview.
The actor says even after giving back-to-back hits in the '90s, he never put on any air and that's the case even now. "I don't shy away from doing odd jobs on the sets. I am low maintenance. I can adapt to any kind of situation because I have always had that inherent confidence. More than anything else work is important for me. I believe that's what has kept me relevant and from that comes confidence."
"My family, my wife, my producers they keep saying...'Why are you doing such things? You are a star' I keep forgetting it. But that's how I am. I can't be fake or pretend. I can't be illusioned. I can't be in my own world or aura. I make sure to reach out to people for work."
The veteran actor, who is known for sharing a strong bond with young stars like Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Rajkummar Rao among others, says interacting with new talent gives him a fresh perspective about his life and career.
"World belongs to the younger generation. So, it is important for us to listen to them and take from them. Every generation comes out with something new and fresh, so I learn from them. I surrender to them. Rather than giving them gyan (lecture), I ask them to give me gyan. That's what my way is."
Kapoor is currently looking forward to the release of "Fanney Khan", in which he plays a father who wishes to fulfill his daughter's dream of becoming a star performer, as she battles fat shaming. The Atul Manjrekar-directed film is produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
The actor says he was not sure about working with Atul, as he came from an advertising background, but he could not say no after he narrated the script. "Rakeysh got in touch with me for 'Fanney Khan' five years ago. He told me it was a remake of Oscar-nominated Belgium film "Everybody's Famous" and at that time I had not seen the movie."
"One day, I got a call from Rakeysh again and he asked me to meet this new director Atul. I was not sure of working with a new director. I became even more nervous. But when Atul narrated me the story, I immediately said yes. It is a great story and I love the way it has turned out to be. I believe I was destined to do this film."
The movie also features debutante Pihu Sand, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao and Divya Dutta. The film has been produced by T-Series, Anil Kapoor Films & Communications Network and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures. It will be released on August 3.
Next on the actor's plate is Total Dhamaal with Madhuri Dixit and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga with daughter Sonam, Juhi Chawla and Rao.