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Anil Kapoor: “I Will Only Direct A Film With Sonam In The Lead….Glad Sonam Is Making Brave Choices, Just Like Me”

Subhash K . Jha

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 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.”

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