Anil Kapoor turned 51 on December 24. The star, who has been shooting in Vancouver with Tom Cruise for Mission Impossible 4 —Ghost Protocol, was to air-dash to India to bring in his birthday with family in Goa.
Even though No Problem didn’t live up to its hype, it’s been an incredible year for Kapoor with his TV series, 24, making him popular in Middle-American homes and other countries, and even back home with the young crowd.
“These youngsters are the ones who follow the series. The channel, AXN, registered a discernible jump in TRPs once it started airing 24. Omar Hassan, the President of the fictitious Republic of Kamistan, is a huge hit with critics and viewers alike. Wherever I go, people want to talk about him or the bad man in MI,” Kapoor says, adding, “I will never be in 24 again, so it feels great to be part of a brand franchise with a fan base, like 24 and MI. It’s destiny or may be the sincerity I put in all these years that I’m getting to reap the fruit today.”
However, AK is quick to point out that this is just the beginning. He asserts, “I’ve just taken baby steps in the international arena, and it all started with Slumdog Millionaire two years ago.”
There’s been talk of Danny Boyle and him collaborating again on a thriller, set in Mumbai. “I haven’t heard anything,” Kapoor shrugs. “Danny has been busy with 127 Hours that releases in India soon. It’s had a great run abroad, but I know that if there’s a role for me, Danny will approach me. Who knows, if I manage to get a great script, he could even direct the film for my production house.”
For now, Kapoor is busy with MI 4 and Tezz. Next year, he should flag off two sequels, Race 2 and No Entry 2. Mr India 2 will also definitely happen, he promises. Rajkumar Santoshi’s Power is temporarily on hold with Ajay Devgn having opted out, but if Santoshi can rope in another star, the project could start rolling. Kapoor is also planning two more home productions in 2011 that will be helmed by producer-daughter Riya, who debuted with Aisha. Buzz is that one of them will be along the lines of the Hollywood hit, Freaky Friday. It is expected to go on the floors in May, and will be directed by Shashank Ghosh of Quick Gun Murugan fame and will star his daughter Sonam in the lead. What makes him, as Sameera Reddy his Tezz co-star puts it, a cool dude at 51? The actor laughs, “Am I one? But I’m definitely feeling fit, healthy and on top of the world. I had an ankle problem and couldn’t work out for about two-and-a-half years. But I’ve recovered now and am ready to work 24X 7, make four films a year.”
Prod him on his fitness mantra and he attributes it to a healthy diet and a never-say-die spirit. The healthy diet will be on show in Race 2. “The script is locked, it’s fantastic!” he enthuses. “Another great role for Saif (Saif Ali Khan) and me too. Yeah, you’ll see me chomping on fruit again, but not bananas and apples… different fruits.” And is he planning to do a Mogambo in Power and go bald? “Nobody can do a Mogambo, Mogambo died with Amrish Puri. If anyone tries to imitate his khush hua act, he will fall flat,” insists Kapoor, but admits that they have been contemplating a bald look for the bad man of Power. “But it was just one of the options we’re considering. We haven’t decided on anything yet.”