You wouldn’t come across a prouder father than Anil Kapoor in showbiz. As the glowing reviews for Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga pour in, Anil is basking in the flow of glow, more for his daughter than himself.
“To see her make such brave choices at such a young age…. I too used to balance out the hardcore commercial projects with something more offbeat, something unexpected. If I did an out-and-out commercial Tezaab I also did a Parinda,” says Anil.
Parinda incidentally was produced by Anil’s dear friend Vidhu Vinod Chopra the producer of his new film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.
Chuckles Anil, “Vinod and I go back a long way.The title of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh AisaLagaa comes from Vinod’s 1942 A Love Story. That’s the last time we worked together . And now we’ve collaborated again 25 years later, can you believe it!”
Anil remembers saying no to 1942. “I actually refused the part initially. I was asked to play someone much younger than my actual age. Vinod convinced me .I then started to work out towards looking much younger. This is when I started taking my work-outs , exercises and diet very seriously. So yes, the credit for my trim-and-fit look goes to Vinod Chopra and 1942 A Love Story.”
Anil says he was flooded with memories while doing Ek Ladki Ko Dekha. “That song is iconic. I remember when we shot it , every detail comes flooding back. Now, that same song plays an important part in my new film. I also had Juhi Chawla as my co-star after so long. We did some fun films in the past. This one was fun too.And yes, I am very happy to just be part of a film where I share screen space with my daughter.”
Anil’s voice brims over with pride when he speaks of Sonam. “She’s making such brave choices. Neerja was a film that broke many myths.It gave Sonam a chance to prove herself as an actor. I am thankful to (director) Ram Madhvani for believing in Sonam. Now I feelEk Ladki Ko Dekha… gives Sonam another opportunity to prove what she’s worth. Her performance is not-overpitched. She is never over-dramatic because she relates with real people and situations through her first-hand experiences. She’s widely read and travelled. She connects to her character in Ek Ladki…. And expresses the character’s emotions with such natural grace.”
Not many actresses would be willing to play a lesbian . Anil disagrees. He says Bollywood is not devoid of brave choices. “Whether it is mainstream actors or filmmakers , they’ve always done the unexpected. Raj Kapoor Saab’s Mera Naam Joker and Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool didn’t work at the boxoffice on release. In retrospect they are regarded as master works. One has to make risky choices in life. I am so glad Sonam is doing it so early in her career.”
Anil says he thoroughly enjoyed working with Sonam. “Apart from the beautiful script she is the main reason why I did Ek Ladki Ko Dekha….We waited to do the right film together and not just share screen space as a gimmick. And I am very impressed by her dedication. If I ever direct a film it will only be so that I get to direct my daughter. Yes, my film as a director would have Sonam and no other actor, as the protagonist.”