In a candid chat, Anil Kapoor talks about his daughter and Tom Cruise; also brings up his link-up with Madhuri Dixit
Between numerous hi-fives and hearty laughs, 52-year-old Anil Kapoor, exuding childlike energy, candidly chats about all that is closest to his heart, including bringing Tom Cruise to India...
When you signed Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, you were promoted as one of the main villains. Later on you said it's a small role. Was that a strategy?
I made it very clear that it's the smallest role of my career but I am not apologetic about it. I wanted to build relationship and that's what I have done. Internationally, there is no small or big, it's a respect for the actors.
Shabana (Azmi) told me 'you have done the most intelligent thing. A lot of actors have lost out because they were waiting for bigger roles'. It will happen gradually but you have to become part of the system first.
How important is MI4's success?
I feel for me it's already a success. Now whatever happens will be a bonus. Tom coming here and going to Taj Mahal (at Agra), speaking to all my friends and the media, interacting with fans... He came to India on my request. What more can I ask for?
What did you learn from observing him?
So much...He was nice to everyone and treated the entire media well. His patience with his fans is amazing. When he went back to his room he kept saying 'I hope I have met all your friends.' I was tired of introducing him to everyone because they all wanted pictures with him. I am glad that so many of my friends came not only because of Tom but because they love me. In fact, Aamir (Khan) turned up 15 minutes in advance.
You seem to have become an important link between Hollywood and Bollywood. How do you plan to use it?
I am thinking beyond just myself. Of course, I want to do good work but I want good people to go to Hollywood. When my Hollywood friends inquire about Bollywood, I tell them about the directors and actors they should look at. I am looking at Taj in a different way now. It's been there for so long that sometimes you tend become blas © about it. Mukesh (Ambani) told me 'it's your responsibility to get Tom for a holiday over here. You don't know how much it will help our country.'
Are you using your Hollywood contacts to help Sonam?
Sonam has mesmerised everyone who has met her. Ben Stiller offered her a role and she also got a role offered in a Julia Roberts film but she refused. She wants to gain more experience and then go there.
Are you happy with Sonam's choice of films?
Absolutely! She is working with the best people in the industry like Rakeysh Mehra, Pankaj Kapur, Sanjay Bhansali, Karan Johar, and not for money. She has refused so many films that the so-called bigger actresses have done.
She has emerged as a fashion icon...
She loves wearing good clothes and people make a dig at that too. Sometimes when she feels low I tell her not to worry and see the positive side. Those very girls who give statements about being very simple are now imitating her fashion style. So that means the girls are jealous of her.
Have you been a victim of envy too?
Yes yes. Some Bollywood friends tell me, 'you work in Hollywood; we are not interested. We are happy here. We are. And those same people secretly approach Hollywood studios. I come to know this because my Hollywood friends inquire about them from me.
What about doing a film with Sonam?
I want to play her father but she doesn't want it. You have to convince her. She is the young big star.
We heard Sanjay Dutt was trying to convince you not to do Shootout At Wadala. True?
Never. It's a rumour. I am in talks for Shootout At Wadala.
What's up with Mr India and No Entry sequel?
They are happening. It all depends on Salman. He is the big star. Whenever he approves the script, the film will roll. If they want me I will do it otherwise Salman can do it alone. (Smiles)
You have led a very non-controversial life. No link-ups barring a few (read Madhuri Dixit)...
(Laughs) Woh to maine khud dale the. I spread those rumours myself to bring some spice in my otherwise boring life.