By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) 'Mr. India' Anil Kapoor, at 50, is possibly the only actor who has film offers pouring in almost every day after 67-year-old mega star Amitabh Bachchan. He sees no competition from younger stars, and feels it is an injustice to compare him with Big B.
"Don't compare me with Amitabh Bachchan, please. He is a once in a lifetime legend that Bollywood has got and it would be an injustice to put me on the same pedestal. I am really not trying to be modest. But it's just the love for my work that keeps me going," Anil told IANS in an interview.
Most of Anil's contemporaries like Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Govinda and Sunny Deol are of course seen on the big screen. But Anil's consistency in his over-three-decade career has remained unmatched and the others have not managed to step into the Hollywood space like him.
"I love acting. Money has never excited me to a certain extent. I have been lucky. The gods have been smiling on me. It's not just hardwork, dedication or box office success... it's a combination of all these that has contributed to my success. I'm fortunate that I'm still around," he said.
The actor-producer, who has became popular across the shores after Danny Boyle's Oscar winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" where he played a game show host and the American TV series "24", says he is lucky he has never been out of work since his debut in 1979 with a bit role in "Hamare Tumhare".
"Over the last 30 years there never has been a single year when I didn't have job opportunities. I have always decided what I want to do. The choice of films has always been mine. I pray to god that this remains all my life... that I work so hard that only I decide when to hang my boots, rather than people telling me 'We have had enough of you'," said Anil.
And why not? Except for a bit of his receding hairline, the actor looks as young and dashing as ever. Dressed in a shirt and grey-coloured waistcoat and a spiked hairdo, he looks extremely fit.
He is awaiting the release of his home production "Aisha", the production hassles of which have been taken care of by his younger daughter Rhea, while elder daughter Sonam plays a title role in it.
"The film is really by the young, for the young. I am very happy the way it has shaped up. All credit to the young team," said Anil while chatting with this IANS correspondent over a breakfast of omelette and toast at a five star hotel here.
He was here to promote "Aisha" at the Pearl's Infrastructure Delhi Couture Week.
Anil's earlier production ventures - "Badhai Ho Badhai", "My Wife's Murder", "Gandhi, My Father" and "Shortkut-The Con Is On" - didn't manage much success at the box office, but he is quite confident that Rhea's efforts will pay off when "Aisha" releases Aug 6.
He is planning to let Rhea take over the mantle of producing films under his banner, Anil Kapoor Film Company.
"Now I feel I can seriously think of producing films regularly because I have a great support system (in the form of Rhea). I am geared to do one or two films a year as a producer," he said.
Handing over production tensions to Rhea would also mean more time for him to act. So what's in the pipeline now?
"If I had my way, I won't do films at all. But whenever I feel my bank balance is dwindling a bit, I do one film. If I want to help someone or I need money to bail out someone... my wife says do one film," he said in a jocular tone.
His hands are full with sequels right now.
"I am doing 'No Problem', it is a fun film with Anees Bazmee. Then I am doing 'Race 2', 'No Entry 2' and probably 'Mr. India 2' - all sequels!"
And international projects?
"I'm in talks with Sophia Loren's son and hopefully there are things working out with Ben Stiller also, and Fox Television. But these are all in the pipeline. Once they are completely materialised , then I would love to talk about it. But really... my whole life has changed after 'Slumdog Millionaire'."
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)