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Masterclass with Mr India

With the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India now behind us, one of the concluding masterclasses held on the second-last day of the festival was a class act by the evergreen Mr India, Anil Kapoor, who was interviewed by his daughter, entrepreneur and producer Rhea Kapoor. The actor shared stories of his experience working on films and gave some good advice to those who are pursuing careers in the film industry.

At a very early age, Anil Kapoor was sure that he wanted to be an actor and wasted no time to achieve his dream. “I was a horse with my blinkers on. From the moment I came to my senses I wanted to be an actor. I was very fortunate to get a break in the form of a young Shashi Kapoor’s role. Since then I have not wasted, constantly dreamt, worked on my craft and worked on being a people’s person. But I am still a work in progress.”

Despite not following in the footsteps of her father like her two siblings, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Harshvardhan Kapoor, Rhea decided to work as a producer and is grateful she had influential people in her life to help guide her and make this decision, unlike her father who didn’t. Addressing the issue of nepotism head on, she said, “I am aware of the whole nepotism debate, I know of the privileges of being Anil Kapoor’s father. But I have had only one father. I cannot help it.” The fashionista then added, “I have been interested in subjects like interior designing, fashion, visual arts and a multitude of other things. But for now I have my focus on producing films.”

As someone who admits to still honing his craft, Anil believes that when it comes to acting, instinct is a must but training also helps as it becomes easier for directors and writers to mould and shape you into the character. “I never chose the film, the film chose me. I was just very happy to work in front of the camera,” said Anil, while speaking about how enthusiastic he was to work. He added that he would constantly feel that he is “not good enough” and it was this “insecurity” that pushed him to work harder. Even when some of his films failed, Anil never let it stop him and just kept pushing forward. “Everybody felt I’m an actor but I don’t have the looks. There were Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Sunny Deol, Dharmendra, Mithun Chakraborty, all great looking guys.” Speaking about his preparedness to fail, he advised both his daughters that despite their film ‘Aisha’ doing badly, they must not let it stop them because their failures are what makes them stronger.

Anil has always been known to be a positive man, who always finds the silver lining. “It’s important to surround yourself with the right people, who’ll tell you exactly what is right and wrong,” he said.

Anil advised upcoming actors that it’s important to keep learning and growing no matter how much you’ve already done; there is always room for more improvement. “There’s a shelf-life in sports and in films but you should try your best to increase it as much as you can. That you can do by keeping yourself fit – mentally, physically and spiritually,”said, adding that in today’s day and age, the looks of an actor are being given more importance than the need to better their craft and while it is important to look good, focusing too much on it might result in stagnation. “There are so many things that can help you become a better actor; it’s an ongoing process that you can keep at till your dying day,” he said.

The actor, who’s a few days shy of 62, stated that after a certain age, actors must re-evaluate themselves and try to find roles that suit them:”I can’t play a 20-year-old guy. You have to be sensible enough to do roles that will suit you. Life goes on. You have to reinvent and rethink yourself. And there are still so many other roles that I can still do.”

As an actor, he strives for longevity in films and never wanted to become an instant star.“Work is the most important thing. If you’re depressed, you work; if you’re sick, you work;you’ll forget about anything you’re going through if you just work,” he said.

When asked about how women are still not allowed to pursue their dreams, Anil said the times are changing.”I believe girls are superior to boys. I have said that all my life. That’s the kind of atmosphere we have in my household. Girls dominate and rule the home. Once you start believing they are special, superior, you automatically let them be.

“They are multi-talented; they can multi-task. They are so wonderful and beautiful. I can’t imagine a world without them. The more the women in the world, the better it is,” he added.

On the work front, Anil Kapoor will be voicing the character of Baloo for the Hindi version of

English movie ‘Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle’. [H]

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