Interview

Annu Kapoor getting ready to direct his second film


The radio anchor and actor spoke to Cinestaan.com about his ambitious plans for the rest of the year.

Sonal Pandya

Annu Kapoor is keeping himself busy in 2017 as he turns 61 on 20 February. His latest film, Jolly LLB 2, has done well at the box office and has been accepted by audiences. ‘Suhaana Safar with Annu Kapoor’, a daily radio show he hosts on 92.7 BIG FM, has been running successfully for close to four years.

Additionally, Kapoor tells Cinestaan.com that he wants to return to his roots with direction. He said, “I’m currently working towards my own film. My first National Award was for directing, the second was for acting. I will definitely direct; I have already selected the story.” He hopes to have it out this year itself.

Annu Kapoor has directed several plays and his feature film directorial debut in 1994 with Abhay (The Fearless) won the National Award for best children’s film. Annu Kapoor also won the V Shantaram award for Best Director for his direction.

Annu Kapoor brought in his birthday early on 17 February at the BIG FM office and he couldn’t resist weaving in an anecdotal story about the song ‘Tum Jiyo Hazaaron Saal’ from Bimal Roy’s Sujata (1960) as he cut his birthday cake. “Actually, it is a Ghalib sher [verse]. It was not a song. Years ago, it was Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday and [filmmaker] Sohrab Modi had gone to meet him. They recited Ghalib’s sher for him. Nehru complimented the verse and asked Modi, why don’t you make a film on him? Modi went to make the legendary film, Mirza Ghalib (1954) with Suraiya, the songs of which are just as popular today. And later Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the song ‘Tum Jiyo Hazaaron Saal’ which was sung by Asha Bhosle,” he revealed to those gathered for the occasion.

On top of that, Annu Kapoor has three books that he would like to publish soon. One book will be on the iconic villains of Hindi cinema and the other will be on his radio show. Eventually, he might get around to penning an autobiography as well. Annu Kapoor landed in Mumbai on 19 June 1982, arriving at Borivali station. He believes he hasn’t changed much since then. “I’m still the same, you’ve only begun to recognise me late. Those who recognised me, I’m very grateful to them,” he said.

He also said working on Suhaana Safar and the stories he unearths stimulates him constantly. “Many years back, when cinema was in its primary period, a handsome young man came to the city of Mumbai. There were very few studios and he started knocking on their doors. Finally one day, he reached a studio [Imperial Film Company] which was owned by none other than Ardeshir Irani. He met him and said, ‘Main kuch kaam karna chahta hoon [I would like to work]’ The seth (Irani) said, ‘You didn’t see the board. It’s No Vacancy there. Get out’. He said, ‘I have wandered a lot, give me any work.’ The seth looked at him, from top to bottom, an attractive, handsome man and said, ‘I will give you the job of a junior artiste, an extra, with no pay.’ And he started working. Observing his dedication and commitment to the work, Ardeshir Irani was very impressed. One fine day, there were auditions going on, he called the handsome man and said, ‘We want to screen test you’. They looked at the result and Irani told him he had been watching him and he was going to the hero of launch film. After all that struggle, the rest is history. That man’s name was Prithviraj Kapoor,” he said of the actor who was present in India’s first talkie by Irani, Alam Ara (1931).

Annu Kapoor’s next film role will be one he completed nearly ten years ago. The Fakir of Venice, directed by Anand Surapur, is actually Farhan Akhtar’s debut film. He shared, “There are two characters and it is based on real-life. Farhan plays Homi Adajania, the famous director and I play Abdul Sattar Sheikh. The film was shot in Venice and I’m playing the title role. Homi was asked to find someone who would bury themselves in the sand. He took a junior artiste who became a painter and how he took him to Venice and everyone assumed that he is a sadhu maharaj. This is his story.”

Annu Kapoor is currently enjoying the success of Jolly LLB 2, directed by Subhash Kapoor, in which he played the crafty lawyer Mathur, alongside Akshay Kumar as Jolly.