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January 28, 2000


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'I will direct a film soon'

Boney Kapoor Boney Kapoor was extremely tired when we met him for an interview. He had just begun the publicity for Pukar and was on his toes since morning, along with Anil Kapoor. But, he made it a point to meet each and every journalist who had come to interview him.

Boney started his career as a producer with an offbeat and simple film Hum Paanch, which was a surprise hit. Despite having the more famous Kapoors as relatives -- his father Surinder Kapoor is Prithviraj Kapoor's cousin -- he never once thought of depending on them to get his career going.

Realising the importance of being alone in the industry, Boney made another film to launch actor-brother Anil Kapoor as a hero. With Woh Saat Din, he had a winner on his hands. And then he made Mr India, a blockbuster which was originally written with Amitabh Bachchan in mind, but finally done by Anil. These three films consolidated Boney's position as a successful producer in Bollywood.

His next, Roop Ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja was one of the most expensive films ever made in India. But the film flopped. Prem, which introduced his youngest brother Sanjay, didnít do well either.

Boney bounced back with Loafer (starring Anil once again) and had hits in Judaai and Sirf Tum.

Sharmila Taliculam caught up with him even as he gets ready to release another much-awaited film Pukar (due to hit the screens on February 4). Excerpts from the conversation.

Anil Kapoor and Namrata Shirodkar in Pukar Pukar sounds like one of those patriotic films that are being made these days. What is unique about your film?

I donít think there is any other film based on this subject. This is purely an espionage drama. Yes, there is the Army element, but I donít think anything like this has been seen before. It's essentially a love story set against the Army backdrop.

There are two stories to begin with, but towards the interval, they become one. It's about how the two plots use each other to develop a conflict in the love story and how finally it is the love story which triumphs over evil. Despite being condemned, hurt and suspended by the Army, the hero bounces back. When the integrity of the country is being threatened, he leaves everything aside to fight for it.

There are many types of patriotism portrayed in our films. Pardes said 'I love my India,' Manoj Kumar made patriotic films, Veeru Devgan's Hindustan Ki Kasam was also about love for the country.

But this is absolutely different. Firstly, it is not a blatantly patriotic film. You donít have to be a show-off to be patriotic. You donít have to pat yourself or beat your chest to say you are one. It's there in your blood. Patriotism cannot be instilled inside anybody, it just happens to be there. And it can rise above any notion, any emotion. That's what the film is about.

What made you choose Namrata Shirodkar for your film?

Well, we needed a Miss India to play that character. And she is one. At that point, we needed a fresh face. Ash (Aishwarya Rai) was committed to doing too many films, and Sushmita (Sen) too, was offered other films. So the best choice we were left with was Namrata. She was new, she was fresh and she suited the role because of her talent, personality, everything.

Tell us something about Anil Kapoor as an actor...

Anil Kapoor in Pukar What can I say about Anil Kapoor? He is my brother and when I talk of him as an actor, I might sound biased. But I am not biased, I am very objective. I appreciate the fact that there are not many like him. There are not many who has his kind of totality.

He is perhaps the only actor who has done so many variety of characters. Be it the simpleton in Eeshwar, the lovable bloke in Ram Lakhan, a Casanova in Jaanbaaz, a tapori in Tezaab, a husband in Judaai, he has essayed these roles with elan. There are heroes who get typecast and their life, in general, gets simplified. But Anil had to evolve with a new character in each film. And so far he has been doing very well for himself.

Over the years he has been critically acclaimed and lovingly accepted. There were films which did not do well, but he was appreciated. Like in Lamhe. He is among the few lucky heroes who have broken the myth of getting typecasting or having an image.

Filmmakers donít have to write a script for him. If you have a good role and are looking for a good actor, Anil is there. The character in Taal was conceived as one who believes in the materialistic values of love, but how he is an emotional person inside. There are few who could have brought out this dimension to a character. Similarly in Biwi No 1, despite the presence of current rage Salman Khan, he held on to his own.

So it is quite commendable for him to withstand the onslaught of the new breed and remain firm on the ground that he has held for so long. Even in the earlier generation, there were not many like him -- really.

With age and time, the comments I hear is that he has started looking more polished and refined. There's a certain kind of poise and charm he exudes now, which is is amazing for his age. Obviously, there would be many envious of his track record. This is what makes him acceptable.

Any comments on the rumours of a split between you and Anil?

As you said, they are rumours. You saw us today, do you think it is true? Rumours are rumours.

What do you have to say about your director Rajkumar Santoshi?

He is among the finest directors today, he is always brimming with ideas. He is one person who is evolving every day. And he is also aware of the changes taking place. Itís been a pleasure working with him.

Why are you relaunching your brother Sanjay Kapoor in a negative role?

Sanjay Kapoor and Priya Gill in Sirf Tum There is no specific reason for it. We are not re-launching him, he has a negative role in it. I am launching Esha Deol in the film.

It's a good meaty part, so why not? I am sure he will do a good job. He has a success in Sirf Tum and I thought I would give him an opportunity to prove that he is a good actor.

How did you manage to sign Esha Deol?

I have been plain and simple in my approach. I have been sincere about the project that I had in hand. We narrated the script to her, not once but twice. Perhaps, it is the script and the role which made them say yes. I think it's my sincerity which came across.

Esha Deol Yes, I had to convince her parents about the role. I met Hemaji on three-four occasions, and it was she I was talking to all the time. We had to convince her about it before we could go to Esha with the script.

You are known to be a very extravagant filmmaker. In fact, your Roop Ki Rani... was one of most expensive films made, right?

It was an expensive film, I agree. It had a huge canvas and was made lavishly. The subject demanded that kind of treatment. Every scene had a new set and every set was an opulent one. It had to look ostentatious. It was a semi-fantasy. Although the plot and the music had become outdated by the time the film released, that is how we had conceived the picture when we began.

Have you ever thought of becoming a director yourself?

Boney Kapoor and Sridevi I will eventually direct a film soon. May be, I am looking for the right subject. I have taken a lot of beating with Roop Ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja and Prem and had to face certain financial difficulties. To overcome this, I had to remain just a producer at that time. I had to make sure that the problems were out of my way before I took the plunge as a director.

How do you manage when you face hard times, like the times when Roop Ki Rani... and Prem flopped?

It is perhaps my inner strength. Somewhere I have the belief that I can make it, that I am sincere, honest, and I know that my time will come.

Your career has been characterised by many ups and downs -- which were your best and worst phases?

I can pinpoint my highest high and lowest low, but on the whole, it has been a good ride. My first three films -- Hum Paanch, Woh Saat Din, Mr India -- were up, up and up. Then came the low with Roop Ki Rani... and Prem. Things started looking up with Loafer, Judaai, Sirf Tum, and now there is Pukar. I am grateful to God and attribute this to a lot of hard work.

Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in Mr India Unlike so many producers who sit in their offices and operate from there, I take pride in calling myself a creative producer. I am on the location. I am involved in every aspect of the film. I have grown substantially in the last 20 years. I feel quite gratified and happy that in this journey of ups and downs. I have been a man who has experienced it all.

The Madhuri Dixit interview
Madhuri unplugged -- In Real Audio
World premiere of Lata Mangeshkar's Pukar song

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