‘I have a certain responsibility towards my fans’: Anil Kapoor
The new film—Jugjugg Jeeyo—directed by Raj Mehta, scrambles awkwardly for big revelations about divorce and interdependence
The new film—Jugjugg Jeeyo—directed by Raj Mehta, scrambles awkwardly for big revelations about divorce and interdependence. Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, and Neetu Kapoor share the dramatic load. That leaves Anil Kapoor—rehashing WhatsApp jokes with convincing relish or thawing at the sight of Tisca Chopra—to play silly and loose.
A day after the film’s release, we spoke to Anil about his influences and relationship with comedy over the years.
I was cracking up every time you said, “Japani sushi pudine ke chutney ke saath…”
I am so happy you noticed that line. I did it like a throwaway act. It was obviously there in the script but it all comes down to how you say it. I was always worrying, ‘Will it land? Will it land?’ I am so happy that it did.
The rooftop scene between you and Varun is being spoken about.
You know, the night before the shoot, we went to the terrace and rehearsed it. There were quite a few readings. We had to get the mood and feel of the scene. Both of us were really thrilled to shoot it. I like how it captures the bond between the father and the son. I love that part where I ask him, “Tera body fat kitna hai (how much is your body fat)?” I say 14 per cent and he replies eight.
You’d done a bunch of comedies with Varun’s father, director David Dhawan...
Deewana Mastana (1997) is our favourite film—mine and Varun’s—from that era (I also did Gharwali Baharwali, Andaz, Loafer, Biwi No.1 with David). We shot portions of Deewana Mastana in Switzerland. As a kid, Varun was always around on set. So were Sonam and Rhea.
Besides David, which other directors helped you hone your comic skills?
Bapu saab (Sattiraju Lakshminarayana), my director on Vamsa Vruksham (1980), Woh Saat Din (1983) and Mohabbat (1985), really helped me grow as an actor. He made me aware of a lot of things I wasn’t aware of. So I will give full credit to him. Javed Akhtar was a writer on some of my comedies. Also directors Shekhar Kapur and Subhash Ghai. If you see the comic scenes in Karma and Ram Lakhan, they are absolutely hilarious. People still remember those scenes. Later on, of course, there was Anees (Bazmee) on Welcome and No Entry.
Do you ever get judgemental about your characters? Bheem—like some of your past roles—isn’t an ideal husband.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons. As an actor, I have a certain responsibility towards my fans, my family, and the diverse country we live in. There is also a responsibility towards (my own image) as an actor and a star. So, these things do matter to me before picking a role.
Who are your comedy heroes from around the world?
I like Kishore Kumar, Mehmood. There is Dilip Kumar, of course. I just watched the famous mirror scene from Kohinoor (1960) and sent it to Kapil Sharma. I told him he must watch this scene. The same scene was done by Amitabh Bachchan in Mard (1985). I also love the comic timing of Kamal Haasan, Naseeruddin Shah, the late Om Puri, Nana Patekar, and Govinda. Internationally, I love Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Steve Martin, Jim Carrey. Even Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982) and Robert De Niro in Analyze This (1999) and Meet The Fockers (2004).
What has been your family’s reaction to Jugjugg Jeeyo?
Sunita, my wife, has loved the film. The others I think are still to see it.