Anil Kapoor talked about Slumdog Millionaire and what it means to him and India before the film swept the Golden Globe Awards
Yes, I am giving away millions in Slumdog Millionaire.
So how does it feel when you are asked to part with such a huge sum of money by the organizers of the show?
Well, any person wont feel good giving away the millions. And thats my role in the film. I dont like giving away my millions and in spite of being a professional in the film, its a wrong thing to do but thats what the story of the film is all about.
Ok, tell us a bit about your role in Slumdog Millionaire?
Well a lot has been said about the film and about my role in the film. What I can say is that the film is releasing very soon in India. The world has given its verdict and now lets see how India reacts to this film. I have met lots of Indians who have travelled all over the world and have seen the film in America, UK, Europe, Australia and other countries and they have all loved the film. And over here also, I am sure that people will love the film. In India this film will be released in two versions, the Indian version is called Slumdog Crorepati and the international version is titled as Slumdog Millionaire. In the film I play a game show host and its a very interesting character with lots of gray shades to it. Its a double-faced character, very oily, very narcissistic, very patronizing and very condescending, what more do I add to it. There are certain times when you do a role and it challenges you. When you work with a director like Danny Boyle it makes it even more challenging because you have to live up to the expectation of a director who is respected all over the world. Obviously he is going to be demanding when compared to other directors. I am very happy that the whole world has accepted the performance of everybody in the film be it Irrfan Khan, Saurabh, Mahesh, then there is Dev Patel in the film who has done a fantastic job in the film, then there is Freida Pinto. I am very happy and proud to be associated with this film.
So actually it took someone like Danny Boyle to bring out the narcissistic side of Anil Kapoor.
Well its always the script and sometimes what happens is that when you have such a kind of script written by Simon, who was also nominated for an Oscar award for his work in The Full Monty and is a respected writer. Well-written scripts and well-written roles make the job of an actor very easier. The writer himself does half the work. And to top it all you have a director of the rank of Danny Boyle and then you have A. R. Rahman Sahab composing the music of the film. Also the way Chris has edited the film, every technician, the producer, everything has fallen at the right time. The film was made at the right time and the actors have come together at the right place and have made this a magnificent masterpiece.
A. R. Rahman has also been nominated for his work for the Golden Globes awards, your reactions?
I just wish him all the best. I feel that just being nominated for such a prestigious award is an honour. More than anything else, awards are always welcome but the film has been accepted by all and has been loved by everyone universally. It has been loved by a teenager to a grandfather to grandmother, just about people from every generation. The whole world has embraced the film and has loved the film. Its much bigger than any of these awards. These awards are definitely kind of flavour of the season but its ultimately the film, which will remain etched in the memory of people. This is a kind of film, which even after 20 or 30 years will be considered as one of the most important films ever made which is called as Slumdog Millionaire.
Slumdog Millionaire is an Indian film with western perspective; do you think this film in anyway will dilute the existing notions about the country?
No it wont, on the contrary it will elevate it because whenever I visit London, USA or any other foreign country, I look at things completely. We had an international DOP who photographed Gandhi, My Father. His name was David McDonald and he looked at India in a completely different fashion. Sometimes they make us see things, which we fail to see despite living in this country for so many years. Its not that they are doing something extraordinary, which we cant do. We would do the same thing once we go and shoot at their places. We will do it with all sincerity and honesty, the way they do it, with all kind of research, hard work and dedication.
Which was that one aspect of Indiathat you figured after you saw the film?
When you see a film basically you are totally sucked into it. You dont see Mumbai or Agra in a film. You see everything in the form of a character in the film. Mumbai, VT station, Dharavi they all become characters of the film. There are these skyscrapers which have come up mushrooming so its slums as well as the millions. This is the first time that an amalgamation of such a kind has happened. There have been international films who have been shot here before but they concentrated only on the slum part. But Slumdog Millionaire looks at things completely differently. In the international movies, usually they cast maharaja or someone who is very poor - the clichd of the films you know, but this film is very real. Yes, there are gray characters in the film but everyone has negative and positive side to them, but its ultimately a feel good kind of film. Once you see the film then you will realize that its a fairy tale kind of a story. Its the story of an underdog who ultimately wins in the end, something like Rocky.
Launch of SDM
So now can we say this that Slumdog Millionaire is a crossover cinema for you?
Well I would say that its a kind of platform which every actor dreams of. It might be an actor or a technician. You are known the world over and everybody recognizes your work. People will know you anywhere in the world and it could be Europe, Australia, Italy or Lebanon. This film will give that kind of exposure and thats what everybody wants - as much exposure as possible. In terms of exposure, its a global exposure for me and the whole team associated with the film.
Finally, where do you foresee your career after Slumdog Millionaire?
Well, at the moment I am in India but after few days I will fly to London and from there to LA and then again I come back to India and then again to LA. In other words I am traveling a lot and there is a lot of promotional happening, lots of marketing, and lots of awards happening too. So in all lots of things are happening, which are exciting, and I am enjoying the whole journey. I am very happy and God has been very kind to me. I could not ask for anything more than this.
Thanks a lot.