In Thar, Anil Kapoor re-invents himself as wounded police officer, proving his versatility over time -Opinion News, Firstpost

Netflix’s Thar brings Anil Kapoor back to relevance, a man who has mastered re-invention in the fluid world of acting.

This year, Anil Kapoor completes 39 years as leading man of Hindi cinema. 65 and a case study of aging prevention, he has delivered a winning performance as a police inspector Sureka in Over, a Netflix movie. While one might debate the strength of it’s story and plot, Over stands out for stunning visual treatment reminiscent of classic Hollywood Westerns. And it brings Anil Kapoor back to relevance, a man who has mastered re-invention in the fluid world of acting.

Kapoor made an unusual debut in Woh Saat Din in 1983, having worked in smaller parts in Telugu and Hindi movies before that. Ever since he has been consistent and stayed popular. Kapoor has grown as Hindi film hero on sheer talent and chutzpah.

But the actor in him, the one that could deliver on well-written characters, evolved later, proving the ability to adapt that few can boast of.

It is also essential to understand the relationship that this veteran star shares with his son, Harshvarrdhan Kapoor. Harsh Varrdhan has preferred the work of talking and has not sought the limelight on a habitual basis. He had influenced his father’s decision to sign up for Slumdog Millionaire, the Oscar winning Danny Boyle movie where Kapoor plays the ego centric game show host and TV star. Harsh was thrilled when his father, not very familiar with Boyle’s work like Trainspotting, was offered this part. Kapoor took to the part which has gray shades like a fish to water, and found immediate acceptance in international cinema and TV. Bollywood of social media dominated ‘Hollywood’ forays, this mainstream actor has already found good work in international content. Be it 24 or Mission Impossible Ghost Protocolhe made his mark among recognizable Hollywood actors.

Anil Kapoor, Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor in a still from Thar

Over, a concept film of sorts, first took life with Harsh Varrdhan. Chaudhary says, “Vikramaditya Motwane introduced me to Harsh Varrdhan when he was shooting for Bhavesh Joshi, and I felt that he was apt to play Siddharth. He liked the script and he came on board. After that, Harsh and I, when we were trying to put this film together, we realized that there was no better than Anil Kapoor to play Surekha. He is a fantastic actor, brings huge star value; and it is almost like this character was written for him. Anil Kapoor liked the script but since I was a new director, he was a little hesitant initially… ”

While he takes his son’s suggestions seriously, Kapoor ensures that he is working with genuine talent behind the camera. He is careful but not condescending. Raj Singh Chaudhary, the co-writer and director of Over, recalls that he was almost auditioned as a director by the veteran star before he signed up for the movie. “He made us (Harshvarrdhan and Raj) shoot three scenes, which we did, like a movie, in Mumbai, Andheri. We shot it, edited it, did all the DI and background score. We showed him in a theater preview and that he really liked those 3 scenes and he came on board. Once he came on board, he took it upon himself to see that this movie gets made. He approached Netflix and the came on board too. ”

In Thar Anil Kapoor reinvents himself as a wounded police officer proving his versatility over time

As a producer, Kapoor has taken slow steps. In 1993 his brother Boney Kapoor faced abysmal losses after the mega production Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja flopped. Featuring Kapoor and the late Sridevi as the star pair, this expensive movie hurt their family financially. Boney Kapoor remarried Sridevi. But Kapoor bounced back. He used to reminisce over the fair-weather friendships of some folk film during his media interactions, honest and forthright about the instability of cinema. 1994 onwards, he appeared in entertaining and well-made films like Virasat, 1942 and Love Story; and popular films like Biwi No 1 and Taal. In 2000, he won his National Film Award for Best Actor for Pukar. Kapoor had survived when most contemporary actors were relegated to forgettable parts.

He brought the super-popular TV series 24 to India, co-producing it and mounting it like a slick movie for TV. While the Indian version of 24 won t recommend it did not find many takers on TV, for the medium had begun to mass produce that veered towards the lowest common denominator. 24 was content that would work like a charm on OTT today. Perhaps that is why Over has found a steady audience on Netflix since its release. Of his film producer, he has found success intermittently, but his production Gandhi, My Father won a National Film Award Special Jury Mention for delving into a space that few have ventured so far.

In Thar Anil Kapoor reinvents himself as a wounded police officer proving his versatility over time

Anil Kapoor and Harshvardhan Kapoor in AK vs AK

Kapoor surprised with the unusual AK vs AK, a dark comedy that uses the film within a narrative way, bringing out the natural born actor in him. He loads up his charm and restraint with Over, in sync with the underwhelming tone of police dramas that have become global cults. As Raj Chaudhary says, “he has this amazing ability to adapt to all sorts of sensibilities. It can adapt to all kinds of scripts and characters, and can deliver all kinds of tones in a character…. Another great thing about him is, no matter how young you are as a director, he will sit down with you and discuss his character. He will ask you so many questions, that while answering them, you will find that there are things you have thought about. That helps the movie. ”

Over Anil Kapoor’s acting prowess for young audiences is evidently a father-son creative collaboration. Hopefully, there’s more cinema and characters that will make it OTT from this versatile star who has always managed to surprise us with reinvented performances.

Archita Kashyap is an experienced journalist and writer on film, music, and pop culture. She has handled entertainment content for news and digital platforms over 15 years.

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