Amidst a long day of promoting his latest film, ‘Fanney Khan’,we settle down with Anil Kapoor for a conversation over coffee. He’s been excited for this one, just as he always his, for every film considering the passion for the craft. Here we discuss how he got the look right for his latest release amidst much more…

I remember you’d told me during ‘Race 3’ as to how you made sure the look was different from ‘Fanney Khan’ and ‘EkLadkiTohDekhaTohAisaLagaa’ and it’s evident….

One of the reasons I was skeptical about ‘Race 3’ was that, I was shooting for ‘Fanney Khan’ so I had to manage my dates. ‘Fanney Khan’ is something I have never done. I didn’t want a look which was not like ‘DilDhadakne Do’, because even there we had worked on my hair. It took me 3-4 days to get the look. This character is just 50 years old, he didn’t have to do that, but I thought this character has gone through so much of hardships, been a failure, struggled so much, so there’s this saying right, ‘keumarkekaaranbaalsafednahihuye, yehdhoopmeinpakehai, mehnat se pakkehai’. I wanted that feel, so even for my clothes, I told Geeta Lakhani who was the stylist for the film that I don’t want clothes that are new. I want clothes which look worn, and old. These middle class people, one shirt they wear for years. We got these shirts from chor bazaar. Then I thought, the external bit is sorted, so what do we do about internally feeling like the character? I started researching on Mohammad Rafi Saab, his songs, interviews. He is Shammi Kapoor’s fan also. My father used to work with Shammi Kapoor so that wasn’t very difficult. And then, you always work on a back story. I had to make my back story about this character, as to why he must have failed, how he must have met Raj’s character, where would he have come from. So, I discovered, he would have come from Hyderabad, so he would have a bit of that accent. While staying in Mumbai, that Hyderabadi accent dilutes, so I got the mixture of Hyderabadi and Bambaiyaa. That was my prep for the film. Then in this, I was clean shaven, in ‘Race’ I had a beard. I couldn’t jump from one film to another, so it was quite a journey!

You’ve never shied away from being the underdog or less heroic characters in your films, even in your earlier days… ‘Fanney Khan’ again being this common man!

It’s always about liking the story; and then you don’t know exactly what is right and wrong. You discover yourself along the way. For me, ‘Fanney Khan’ was a beautiful story and I had to do it. It was a lovely film. It talks about body-shamming in a nice way. Today, people want films which are real, which say something. Everyone cannot be beautiful and pretty, but it’s your inner personality, charm, talent and inner beauty that counts, so one should be given the chance to show what’s there inside, rather than someone just judging from how you look outside.

You’ve been asking a lot of people and posting videos on Instagram about their ‘Fanney Khan’ moment, so, which film has been a turning point in your life that way?

‘Who 7 Din’, ‘Mashaal’, ‘Karma’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘Tezaab’, ‘Ram Lakhan’, ‘Lamhe’, ‘1942’, ‘Parinda’, ‘Eeshwar’. These films not only were a turning point, but they did something to me, they affected me. Then ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘24’, ‘DilDhadakne Do’, ‘My Wife’s Murder’. It was not a successful film but it did something to me. I played a common man again.

The initial, slightly off -beat films you did with Bapu Saab, or Mani Ratnam didn’t do well, but when later you had a ‘Woh 7 Din’ or ‘Mashaal’ and films like ‘Eeshwar’ – did you start having more faith on your instincts?

Once ‘Woh 7 Din’ clicked, I went on to make my choices.

How satisfying was ‘Fanney Khan’ in that sense?

‘Fanney Khan’ was with a new director and that itself is tough, for a person who has done so many films and worked with the best. So, it’s also very scary and made me nervous. So, I spent a lot of time with him. After the whole film, I’ve learnt a lot. It’s good to sometimes work with a new director. It makes you a lot more alert, keeps you on your toes. They are so hardworking, committed and they come out with something new. Sometimes you work with experienced directors and that’s very good, you are comfortable working with them but this also was a great experience. I’m happy I got to work with a first time director.

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