Anees Bazmee On His 35-Year Old Association With The Ever-Young Actor
Anees Bazmi first got to know Anil Kapoor when Anees served as an assistant on Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog.
Recalls Anees fondly, “Anil was as enthusiastic exuberant and endearing back then as he is now.He was a regular visitor on Raj Saab’s sets—they were rishtedaars—and I think we hit it off from then only. Subsequently I got to work with Anil in 9-10 films, first as a writer and then as a director. I wrote Anil starrers like Laadla and Deewana Mastana.”
The first time that Anees got to direct Anil is another story.
“It was a film(Mr Azaad) where the director was unable to shoot for some time. I was asked to help out, and I gladly did. This is when I got to work with Anil for the first time as a director. I think he enjoyed the experience. He made me promise we’d work together whenever I turned a full-fledged director.”
The moment came with No Entry in 2005.
Says Anees, “Since we already knew each other well, working in No Entry was a party. Anil helped me a lot in getting familiar with all the actors in the film who were all his friends. We decided we’d work together as frequently as possible. And we did just that, in Welcome, No Problem, Welcome Back and now Mubarakan.In fact it was Anilwho got me into Mubarakan .When he heard the idea for the plot he said only Anees can direct something so zany.”
Anees confesses Mubarakan was the optimum fun to make. He tells an interesting story on how Anil’s character became a Sardarji in Mubarakan. “We knew Anil was going to play a guy from Chandigarh who is settled in London. So my writers and I decided, why not make Anil a Sardarji? And it was the right decision.Anil makes an amazing Sardarji. He is innocent and charming, dil ka bahot saaf hai, just like Akshay Kumar’s Sardar character in my Singh Is Kiing.”
Anees deliberately brings up his 2008 hit Singh Is Kiing whose sequel couldn’t be made due to Anees’ differences with producer Vipul Shah.
“In many ways Anil’s Sardar character in Mubarkan is a manifestation of my unfulfilled wish to do a sequel to Singh Is Kiing. Though Akshay played a Sardarji from a village in Punjab and Anil plays a Sardarji in London, they are both very innocent and guileless. Anil’s character carries that bit of Punjab in his heart even when he is an NRI,” says Anees fondly.
As for Anil’s bonding with his nephew Arjun Kapoor, Anees smiles, “They were were like two boys on the sets competing for the laughs. We couldn’t tell who was younger. I can tell you this about Anil. In Mubarakan he has finally come out of his teens and crossed into his youth.”