“WE ARE CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH, THE SAME DNA” — Anil & Ar­jun Kapoor

Stardust (English) - - NEETA'S NATTER -

There is magic in the air, in fact, you can ac­tu­ally sense an amaz­ingly tan­gi­ble vibe full of vigour, pos­i­tiv­ity and ex­cite­ment. And it all seems to be emit­ting from the mag­netic dy­namo who walks into our midst. …And the man is none-other than the le­gendary Anil Kapoor. In fact, even after four decades in the in­dus­try, his pas­sion, in­ten­sity and en­thu­si­asm for any and ev­ery sub­ject un­der the sun is in­cred­i­bly in­fec­tious – be it talk­ing about the painful bur­si­tis in his left leg or the film he is cur­rently ex­tremely ex­cited about – Mubarakan. In­ci­den­tally, there is a cast­ing coup of some sorts here as both Anil and his in­cred­i­bly good­look­ing nephew Ar­jun Kapoor are co-star­ring for the first time in this film – that too, Anil as a Sar­dar and Ar­jun, in a unique dou­ble role. Star­dust too man­ages the same cast­ing coup by putting both these in­cred­i­ble ac­tors on the cover. And hence I am at Anil Kapoor’s house wait­ing for his su­per hot nephew Ar­jun Kapoor to ar­rive. Ar­jun, one of the most tal­ented and hap­pen­ing younger stars in the Bol­ly­wood cir­cuit, walks in look­ing suave, fresh, and rarin’ to go. But be­fore I can even start the in­ter­view, the chacha-bhatija duo start an an­i­mated dis­cus­sion about the many nu­ances of dub­bing their film. Wow! Such pas­sion and in­ten­sity… in­deed there is a unique en­ergy that the Kapoors bring in along with them. …And the chem­istry be­tween Anil and Ar­jun is crackling and so alive. In fact, they both sound equally vi­brant and pas­sion­ate, and with that in mind, my in­ter­view un­folds. Read on…

Anil, you look fresh and vi­brant, and so very pas­sion­ate about your work. In fact, you could give any of the younger stars a run for their money. What is the se­cret? Anil: First of all, I would like to thank you for say­ing so. There are three or four things that I be­lieve in. Firstly, noth­ing can re­place des­tiny. Kis­mat ek bahut badi cheez hoti hai. For in­stance, I’ve been very for­tu­nate that I have al­most com­pleted four decades in films. And each decade, kahi na kahi, mu­jhe aisi koi film, ya aisa koi co-star mila; or a di­rec­tor, con­tent, pro­ducer… that clicked. And I was lucky and for­tu­nate that I was a part of those films. And unki wa­jah se, mai bhi aage badh gaya. So then what hap­pens is that you keep on get­ting these kind as­sur­ances, sup­port, suc­cess, pos­i­tive feed­back and ap­pre­ci­a­tion so that gives you the en­ergy and the in­jec­tion to keep mov­ing on.

The chem­istry be­tween the two of you is won­der­ful. What kind of bond do you share - a chacha bhatija kind or is it like friends? Ar­jun: If you give it the name of chacha bhatija, it is what the world sees us like. I would say, gen­uinely, it’s more friend­ship and more ban­ter. As a rel­a­tive, I’ve grown up ad­mir­ing him, and he is pro­tec­tive of me, rish­taa utna toh hota hai… But then when you work in the same pro­fes­sion, there’s an en­tirely dif­fer­ent in­ter­ac­tion. So when I be­came an ac­tor, of course, I started in­ter­act­ing, ask­ing ques­tions, dis­cussing films more with him. But when you do a film to­gether, you ac­tu­ally be­come naked even in front of each other. Kyuki cam­era ke saamne you are not Ar­jun Kapoor, or he is not Anil Kapoor. Chacha- bhatija hat jata hai, then you be­come the char­ac­ter. That’s when you see the purest side of your rel­a­tive, which you might not have seen be­fore. It’s a new di­men­sion you get to see. Its like humne suna hai Anil chachu aise karte hai, waise karte hai. And now I see that for my­self. In front of the cam­era, I got to see the per­son that he is, the hard­work, the pas­sion… We ac­tu­ally got more com­fort­able with each other. We both got to know each other bet­ter. And even after 30 years of know­ing each other, we dis­cov­ered more facets to each other which is a very rare thing be­tween rel­a­tives, or friends or fam­ily or any­thing. So, now I know what he is say­ing, why he is say­ing... We can look at each other and get a sense of things bet­ter. That’s a rar­ity. Be­cause nor­mally, they say, don’t mix your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life. But I say, bahut ac­cha hua hum dono ek saath iss film mein the.

Did you two dis­agree or were there any un­easy mo­ments with each other in terms of your char­ac­ter or role? Or any pow­wows on the sets? Ar­jun: That’s nor­mal na, agree and dis­agree. But aisa kuch ma­jor nahi hua aaj tak. We’ve dis­agreed, had con­ver­sa­tions and then ev­ery­thing was fine.

Anil: Pro­fes­sional ke saath saath, the kind of peo­ple we are… There is a thin line be­tween be­ing to­tally pro­fes­sional and be­ing emo­tional also. We come from the same DNA. First my grand­fa­ther - Ar­jun’s great grand­fa­ther, my fa­ther, my brothers… So there is a cer­tain kind of DNA in us where we are not cut-throat pro­fes­sion­als. We are emo­tional too. We can get a lit­tle hurt, up­set, emo­tional, sulk… and it shows. Hum log us kism ke hai, hu­mari fam­ily jo hai, ki kahi na kahi hu­mara emo­tion dikh jata hai. Un­like oth­ers, we are not diplo­matic - ba­har se kuch aur hai an­dar se kuch aur hai. Seedha seedha pata lagta hai.

We can get a lit­tle hurt, up­set, emo­tional, sulk… Ar­jun may say, Chachu, I’m go­ing.’ Or I’ll say, ‘Ar­jun, this isnt right.’”

Ar­jun, in­ter­jects: Set pe dikh jaega. Aisa bhi nahi ke kamre mai jaake.

Anil: He’ll say, Chachu, I’m go­ing.’ Or I’ll say, ‘Ar­jun, this isnt right.’

Ar­jun: Woh dikh jata hai. But in a cer­tain way, I feel, that’s good. Rather than wast­ing time on pol­i­tics and peeche kya ho raha hai, humhai emo­tional. Hum seedhe bol dete hai ki yeh aisa lag raha hai.

Are you com­pet­i­tive? Like in terms of while act­ing to­gether, more so as it’s the first time you both are act­ing to­gether. Ar­jun: Com­pet­i­tive is a wrong term to use. I’ve al­ways felt that what he has achieved is at a dif­fer­ent level. What am I even try­ing to com­pete with? Look at him! Even if you want to com­pete with, com­pete with your own range na - apni aukaad mai com­pe­ti­tion hoti hai. But on hind­sight, I al­ways feel that I am more am­bi­tious than com­pet­i­tive. See, I want to do well. I want to set my own foun­da­tion. I want to do good for my­self. So I am self­ish from that point of view. I don’t check what the other per­son is do­ing. What he is do­ing, I want to do as well, I want to do bet­ter. But with him, in a very self­ish way I feel to be work­ing with him, I stand to gain more out of it. Be­cause I get to learn so it is en­rich­ing. In fact, by work­ing with him, I’ve al­ready won the bat­tle if you look at it. For me, my ex­cite­ment was that I know Anil Kapoor, the ac­tor, on­screen, Anil Kapoor, the chacha off­screen, but I’ve never seen the tran­si­tion in front of the cam­era or off cam­era. For me, I was not look­ing at it as com­pe­ti­tion. How can I com­pete with my own blood? But my greed was very dif­fer­ent. He’s al­ways told me… you should ab­sorb from every­body, learn from every­body, ab­sorb ev­ery­thing. The world around you will give you so much that you have to tap into it. And I’ve al­ways no­ticed that he’s sur­rounded

If you give it the name of chacha bhatija, it is what the world sees us like. Gen­uinely, it’s more friend­ship and more ban­ter.”

him­self with peo­ple that he can learn from. He’s al­ways paid im­mense at­ten­tion to the craft. For me, that ex­cite­ment was do­ing a film like this with him. I was wait­ing for the cor­rect film and I didn’t want to do an in­tel­lec­tual kind of film about our re­la­tion­ship. I wanted to see the core of what de­fines Anil Kapoor, the star. His en­ergy, his front-foot­ed­ness, his abil­ity to make scenes funny on his own, to hold his own self. So for me, it was like go­ing to school. So why would I be com­pet­i­tive about some­thing like that?

Anil: Now Ar­jun has told you what he felt, now I will an­swer this. For me, my greed was what I can ab­sorb from a young­ster. At times what hap­pens is that when you are sur­rounded by peo­ple only of your gen­er­a­tion, there is a stag­nancy. So when I work with the younger lot, they come with a cer­tain kind of en­ergy, fresh­ness and you take their en­ergy. See, there is no way that I can com­pete with his phys­i­cal­ity or any­thing. Na­ture doesn’t al­low me. I am not su­per­man. I might be look­ing fit or en­er­getic but I have to ac­cept that I will never have this kind of a phys­i­cal­ity of a 30-yearold. And I lis­ten to his ideas, ke aisa karte hai, waisa karte hai, that en­ergy... I see he is work­ing and in­ter­pret­ing things. So the new, fresh­ness is what I gain from him. And with ev­ery gen­er­a­tion, there is al­ways some­thing new that one can learn. This is what I have al­ways learned. So, if you see when I did Dil Dhadakne Do, I have gained a lot from the peo­ple around me like Ran­veer, Anushka and Farhan Akhtar. They are much younger to me. So I got that en­ergy from them. So, when you see the pic­ture, mu­jhe unse kaafi seekhne ko mila. Like­wise, in this film too, I have learnt from Ar­jun, the young writer who’s writ­ten the film, the pro­duc­ers are young, Sony team is young - this is the first pro­duc­tion of Sony, you know, ma­jor pro­duc­tion. So I learnt so much from them.

A bit about your film Mubarakan? It has an in­ter­est­ing buzz…. Anil: So Aneez Bazmi (the di­rec­tor) and I have worked to­gether.

I be­lieve, 10 films? Anil: Yes. But this is not the kind of Anil Kapoor-Aneez Bazmee film that you’ve seen in the past. It isn’t an easy gen­rere at all. It is a very Sooraj Bar­jatiyaiya type of film di­rected by Aneezeez Bazmee. And you’ll be sur­prised, there is a strong mes­sage also.

Ar­jun: It’s like My Big Fat Greek Wed­ding. It’s No En­try meets Sooraj Bar­ja­tia. It’s a fam­ily ver­sion of NoEn­try. As it has emo­tions.

Anil: There is a mix of youth in this film. Toh usme yeh alag touch hai. But naya­pan bhi hai isme. And that’s what I have al­ways done in my ca­reer… done some­thing new. What I am try­ing to say is that if Ar­jun had a self­ish way of look­ing at things, so did I! I look to learn the way he is ap­proach­ing his work be­cause he is from this gen­er­a­tion.

Ar­jun, adds: We are ac­tu­ally cut from the same cloth. The way I am ap­proach­ing Mubarakan, he’s ap­proach­ing it in the same way,

What I am try­ing to say is that if Ar­jun had a self­ish way of look­ing at things, so did I!”

re­gard­less of how many years apart our ca­reers span. Anil: I think to my­self, yaar, yeh kaise ap­proach kar­ta­hai, isne dou­ble role kaise kia hai? When I see the the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween (Ar­jun’s char­ac­ters) Cha­ran and Karan, I’ve done four dou­ble role films, Bu­landi, Kishen Kan­haiya, Yudh and I’m miss­ing out on one film. But these kind of shots, I’ve never had in all these films. Tech­ni­cally, this film has got much bet­ter fi­nesse than all the dou­ble roles that I have done. And my greed is that… Mu­jheusse fayda ho gaya ki yaar, I am part of a film where I am sur­rounded by young, fresh, new peo­ple. In this film, I worked with Remo for the first time. Toh mu­jhe laga, Remo works with Tiger Shroff. And I’ve worked with Saroj Khan amd Ka­mal dance mas­ter. Even I want to work with these young chore­og­ra­phers. And I did! So for me, I gained so much. So, it’s a mix of en­er­gies. The con­tent, the tech­nique, the vi­su­als, ev­ery­thing...

Ar­jun: I think in­her­ently, hum dono same in­saan hai. We are cut from the same cloth, the same DNA, the greed of do­ing great work… and this is not about com­pet­ing but ab­sorb­ing. And ac­tors need to be self­ish about learn­ing all the time. He still is, at this point of his ca­reer. And I be­ing a new Kapoor also look at things in the same way. That ide­ol­ogy in the fam­ily is to work with good peo­ple and to keep work­ing... Har set pe jaake to learn some­thing more.

Who’s a bet­ter dancer? Anil: See, I’ve ac­cepted that I play the char­ac­ter bet­ter than I dance.When I first learned dance, it was with Shammi Kapoor’s first wife, Geeta Bali. I was from a very small sub­urb of Mum­bai, Chem­bur. And my fa­ther used to work with Shammi Kapoor. So for sum­mer hol­i­days, we used to go there. So, two sub­jects were there in my act­ing school - one was play­back and the other was dance. So, I am good in play­back - that is how you con­vey songs be­cause Hindi films is all about mu­sic. But I am not a dancer but I used to get top marks in play­back. Usme agar thoda bahut dance hai, toh woh mai apne hisaab se, apne char­ac­ter ke hisaab se karunga. So what­ever dance you’ve seen of mine is the char­ac­ter. But I was never a dancer.. That’s why I have never done a danc­ing film as I am not a dancer. I’ve, in fact, had ma­jor show­downs with chore­og­ra­phers on the sets. In my head, I see this char­ac­ter can’t dance this way. Yeh gaon se aya hai, yeh kaise aisa dance kar sakta. So I will do what my char­ac­ter de­mands.

Ar­jun: But he’s got his own style which is iconic. In my case, I en­joy danc­ing but I don’t try to be the best dancer. I en­joy danc­ing for the sit­u­a­tion of the film. Even as a kid, I en­joyed danc­ing. But be­ing an ac­tor, you get to learn so much more along with act­ing. Like in Chokra Jawaan for ex­am­ple, Habib sir chore­ographed the song keep­ing in mind ke mera char­ac­ter aise nachega. See, some steps look good on you, some steps don’t. Some steps you can do bet­ter than oth­ers and some oth­ers can do bet­ter than you. You have to be hon­est to what your tal­ent is and make sure ev­ery song con­trib­utes to the film and it’s not about show­cas­ing your tal­ent all the time.

But you, Ar­jun, are con­sid­ered to be a very good dancer. Anil: Def­i­nitely, he is a bet­ter dancer. I ac­cept it! Anil, was it dif­fi­cult evolv­ing ev­ery decade? Anil: …That you have to, to keep on go­ing. For­tu­nately for me, I have gained a lot from be­ing around Sonam, Ar­jun, Harsh, Rhea, all of them and their friends. So our home is now filled with all kinds of peo­ple com­ing in. There was a time when there was only one set of peo­ple com­ing in, my con­nec­tions. Ab, I am in­ter­act­ing with every­body.

Anil, you’ve paved the way to Hol­ly­wood… Anil: It has helped me tremen­dously. It broad­ened my hori­zon as we are in a very iso­lated place. The world is a much big­ger place which even in ev­ery busi­ness in In­dia, peo­ple are now real­iz­ing. Every­body has to think larger.

What about you Ar­jun? Are you plan­ning a tryst with Hol­ly­wood? Ar­jun: I don’t think peo­ple plan Hol­ly­wood. It hap­pens or­gan­i­cally with your body of work which al­lows you to get the cor­rect film. It is sup­posed to come from there. Di­rec­tor Danny Boyle had seen his body of work and knew that he could do that. Maine abhi toh shu­ru­aat ki, paanch saal hue hai. So, I want to cre­ate my foun­da­tion here. I love the kind of work hap­pen­ing here. I think the ma­te­rial and the film­mak­ers in­volved in In­dia at this point is amaz­ing. Let me do good work here. Let me build on the foun­da­tion with the au­di­ence who have liked me for the past five years. Aap pehle Hin­dus­taan ke logo ke dilo mai samaoge, tab jaake aap pure duniya ke bare mai so­choge. Your am­bi­tion can­not be to touch the top floor first. You have to climb the first, sec­ond, third floor, fir­jake you can reach the top. But you have to keep build­ing your foun­da­tion.

I’ve ac­cepted that I play the char­ac­ter bet­ter than danc­ing.” — Anil Kapoor

Anil: Like Dev Pa­tel suited the role in Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire. Uska face cor­rect tha, he was the right per­son for the role. What is that, des­tiny na? Fir­wohkaamkar­taraha. And then he got Lion. If he had not taken care of him­self or not worked hard, he wouldn’t have got it.

Ar­jun: Gen­uinely, I am sit­ting in a po­si­tion which is en­vi­able and peo­ple would cut their right arm to be in the sit­u­a­tion, when they are get­ting films like Half Girl­friend, Mubarakan, Gun­day, 2 States. You are do­ing PAN In­dia films. You are con­nect­ing and it res­onates to the en­tire coun­try. 99.9% would want to be in this po­si­tion. My en­deav­our is to make sure not to let that down first. The jour­ney has been amaz­ing! If you had asked me in 2012 be­fore Ishaqza­ade re­leased, I would’ve said, I just want to do the film. That was the ex­tent of my am­bi­tion.

And now? Ar­jun: Now the am­bi­tion is to keep up the work that I’ve been do­ing and the qual­ity of work. And the amount of love I’ve got is in­sane. In my life I didn’t think that I would travel across the coun­try and meet peo­ple who would take pho­tos with me or would want to meet me. In Lon­don, we were shoot­ing - I’ve been to Lon­don five to seven times be­fore but I’ve been a reg­u­lar guy and walked around the streets and all. This time when we were shoot­ing - it was the first time after be­com­ing an ac­tor - there were peo­ple com­ing to me and say­ing, ‘ Arey, we loved you in this film’. And these peo­ple don’t know me. It’s the most amaz­ing feel­ing in the world.

But you are con­sid­ered as one of the most tal­ented ac­tors… Ar­jun: Ex­actly! But that comes from purely the love of the au­di­ence. When I did Ishaqza­ade,

Like Dev Pa­tel suited the role in Slum­dogMil­lion­aire. Uskaface cor­rect tha, he was the right per­son for the role.”

Aditya Cho­pra toldold me, ‘ Kaam ac­cha karo. Looks ke baareaare mai mat so­cho. Tu ac­cha kaam kar. Agar tu yeh pic­ture mai ac­cha kaam kare­gaega na toh baaki sab theek ho­jaega.’ And hee was bang on! Be­cause the film was not a de­signed new­comer film. It was ac­tu­allyally the anti-the­sis - It was ac­tu­ally on the linesines of Mashaal. Again after that, when I did Ki & Ka, so many women cameme up to me and said ‘thank you’ for do­ing thee film. You never know how your work af­fects and con­nects with peo­ple. They li­kee you in TheKapilSharma show or Kof­fee With Karan… there is so much hap­pen­ingg that peo­ple like and en­joy. When they con­nec­tect and say, this guy is en­ter­tain­ing, whathat more do you want?That’s one of the rea­son­sns why I did Mubarakan.

Anil, you have so many ac­tors in your Kapoor fam­i­lymily – you, Sridevi, Ar­jun, Sonam, Harsh­vard­han… Boney ji is a pro­ducer.oducer. Would you ever do a film with every­body in the fam­ily? Anil: It all de­pend­snds on the ma­te­rial of the story.

Do you have anyy mes­sage for our read­ers? Ar­jun: Thank youu for the love and hav­ing us back on Star­dust­dust again. I couldn’t have been hap­pier.ier. I’ve grown up read­ing Star­dust and seeinge­ing him (Anil) on Star­dust. Its quite cool. It is an achieve­ment as an ac­tor that you getet to share the plat­form with some­one which you have grown up see­ing. The ex­cite­ment­te­ment for Mubarakan is amaz­ing. We haveve made a fam­ily film, for fam­ily, with fam­ily.ily. Take your fam­i­lies and go watch our fam­i­lymily film!

Anil: I feel Star­dust­dust has been an en­ter­tainer through­out the years. It isn’t in­tel­lec­tual. And, like Mag­naa Pub­lish­ing has an ar­ray of mag­a­zine like Star­dust,tar­dust, SAVVY, So­ci­ety that bring all kinds off dif­fer­ent gen­res which are en­ter­tain­ing.. We have also tried to give dif­fer­ent things in the film. So saarediye hai!. So our film has ev­ery­thing, emo­tion, drama and ac­tion.n.

I am sit­tin­git­ting in a po­si­tion which is en­vi­able andd peo­ple would cut their right arm to be inn the sit­u­a­tion”

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