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Anil Kapoor: An actor who has been aging like a fine wine

An overview into how Anil Kapoor can become the next Amitabh Bachchan

By

Prabhatha Rigobertha

Anil Kapoor made his Hindi film debut with a small part in the 1979 film Hamare Tumhare. He appeared as the leading man in the 1980 Telugu film Vamsa Vruksham directed by late Bapu. Anil Kapoor’s first lead role in Hindi was Woh Saat Din also directed by late Bapu. However it was the 1984 Mashaal that gave the actor his first big recognition. In this Yash Chopra directorial Anil Kapoor played a tapori who undergoes a transformation under the influence of Dilip Kumar’s character.  In spite of sharing screen space with legendary Dilip Kumar the actor more than stood his own. He rightfully won Filmfare’s best supporting actor that year.

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One of Anil Kapoor’s most memorable films as leading man came in Mr. India directed by ace filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. The film released in 1987 and went on to become one of the major grosser of that year. It mixed science fiction with a relatable underdog story. In the titular role Anil Kapoor delivered a stupendous act. He was in equal measure charming and also vulnerable.

Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff in Ram Lakhan

Some of his other notable works as a leading man include Ram Lakhan, Tezaab, 1942: A Love Story among others.

But the genius of Anil Kapoor lies in how he has constantly reinvented himself particularly after he stopped playing the commercial hero. In his second innings the actor has played a variety of roles that ranged from comic, intense and even grey to outright negative characters.

A good example of this range is the Zoya Akhtar directorial Dil Dhadakne Do. This 2015 film saw Anil Kapoor playing a self- made millionaire who never tires of repeating his rags to riches story. But beneath this arrogance his character Kamal is also vulnerable and keeps swallowing anxiety pills. The reason for that is his company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

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Anil Kapoor delivered a rousing performance. He effortlessly portrayed the grey shades of Kamal. Some of the best moments in the film belonged to him.

Anil Kapoor in AK Vs AK

Anil Kapoor has also been part of films specially designed for OTT. A case in point is the 2020 film AK VS AK directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. This unique movie saw Anil Kapoor and filmmaker turned actor Anurag Kashyap playing a fictionalized version of themselves. The film begins with a panel discussion where both of them are participating. A small argument blows up into something severe. Anurag splashes water on Anil Kapoor’s face and leaves the place in a huff. Later he returns and tells him that he has kidnapped his daughter Sonam Kapoor. He also threatens Anil that he has only 10 hours to find Sonam and he cannot go to the cops. He further adds that Anil’s search will be recorded. What follows is an emotional thriller with a twist that viewers don’t see coming. As a tense father Anil Kapoor did a fabulous job. The best part about his performance is his absolute lack of vanity.

Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur in Night Manager, Part 2.

If we take some of his outright negative characters the best example is the recently released web-show The Night Manager Season 1 and 2. In this web series Anil Kapoor played a businessman called Shelly. Shelly is supposed to be a philanthropist for the outside world but in real life he is an illegal arms dealer. The monstrous side of Shelly was kept to a minimum in the first season. But in the second season the evilness comes out more. Anil Kapoor delivered a rocking performance both as the suave businessman and also as the merciless monster. One of the scenes in the second season that stays in the viewers mind for a long time is when he talks about bombs in a poetic way while chewing a cigar.

Anil Kapoor in a humour role in Welcome Back

When it comes to comic roles the two Welcome movies are a good example of how the actor left the audiences in splits. In both these films Anil Kapoor is not the main lead. Still he stole the show as one of the main goons along with Nana Patekar. The chemistry between Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar was great. Even in Mubarakan the actor brought so much energy to the table. His nephew Arjun Kapoor had a double role in the film but the audiences came out of the theaters remembering Anil Chacha more.

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After he stopped playing the commercial hero the variety of roles he played increased as we have seen in the above mentioned web shows and films. Here’s hoping that the actor continues to surprise the audiences with many more characters in his upcoming films. Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal, Siddarth Anand’s Fighter etc. are his next big releases. Who knows…he may be the next Amitabh Bachchan!

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Prabhatha Rigobertha
Prabhatha Rigobertha
Rigobertha Prabhatha has been writing on movies, web series, books, etc. on social media platforms like Facebook for a few years. He has a YouTube channel "prabhathalovesmovies" in which he posts video reviews. "I have only two windows to my world - movies and books" reads it's tagline. He is a student of English literature and currently working as Content Writer at Pudami Publications based in Hyderabad.

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