Anil Kapoor on why Fanney Khan is an emotional film, and the travails of a struggling artiste

Abhishek Srivastava

August 02, 2018 08:30:30 IST

Most people prefer taking an off on Sundays but Anil Kapoor remains an exception. This zeal is evident as the movie star decides to grant an interview to this writer on a Sunday morning – a time reserved for lazy brunches.

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He plays the lead role in upcoming film Fanney Khan — so how does it feel to be the main protagonist even at age 61? “It's immaterial if mine is a title role or not. Till today, I go to my sets with all honesty. You can ask my directors or co-actors if they have ever realised that I am playing a title role. It all depends what’s best for the film at that point in time.”

About Fanney Khan, Anil mentions that director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra had informed him about the original Belgian film Everybody’s Famous! (on which Fanney Khan is based) five years back and had given him a DVD of the film too. He reveals that at that time he had not taken it seriously. It was during the making of Mirzya that he was requested again by the film’s financier and distributor, to do the film. “I realised what a fool I was not to have seen the original. It was a great film and then the process started, to procure the rights of the film. The journey is over now and there were several difficulties too while making it.”

Anil Kapoor belongs to the school of filmmaking that believes in imparting a social message through the medium. The actor reveals that he had learnt this trick from the original showman of the industry – Raj Kapoor. Fanney Khan throws a punch at viewers on the perils of body shaming at the backdrop of the world of music.

“I don’t think that any Bollywood film has tackled body-shaming before. Whenever I do a film, the rules for accepting it are governed by the fact that it should also have a social message. The last scene of Mr. India was suggested by Raj Kapoor and it was on his instruction that we shot the last scene, where I could be seen saying hum sabhi mein ek Mr. India hai. With Fanney Khan too, we have conveyed a social message through a very good story. I also think that people get the message when things are said in an entertaining manner," says Anil.

Is Fanney Khan going to change perceptions of body image and promote body positivity? “I think a change has already started. Sonam and others are very vocal about this and have talked openly to youngsters. Girls have now become very confident because of social media. They have become fearless now."

While Sonam has been having a dream run at the box office with films like Sanju, Padman and Veere Di Wedding, Anil’s other daughter, Rhea too has found her groove in the role of a producer. The same cannot be said about his son Harshvardhan, whose two releases have tanked at the box office. Anil takes a deep breath to explain things: “I was asked the same question about Sonam after the failure of Saawariya and Delhi 6. In the initial stage it’s important to know if you know your craft. If you have a good screen presence and know acting, then the chapter gets closed. Why did Rakeysh Mehra sign her? What interest did Sanjay Leela Bhansali have in signing Sonam? It wasn’t like SLB decided that I will make a film for Anil’s daughter and lieu of it I will cook food at his home. It does not happen like this. Are these guys mad? Such professional people will never ever do something like that. They see some sort of magic. Bigger the magic, more time will it take to fructify."

The actor’s emotional side is evident when he talks about his son. “If I were to say anything further chhota mooh badi baat ho jayegi. No one knows when the fate of a person will undergo a transformation. It does not make a difference. It’s all about being busy and working hard,” says Anil.

Menwhile Fanney Khan also has parallels to Anil’s own personal life. While he struggled to make a name during the initial phase of his career, his daughter Sonam too had to face the demon of body shaming before she started her film career. Did he relate to the film? “Yes. There are lots of scenes in the film that reminded me of my struggle days when I stayed in Chembur. I knocked the offices of every producer of that era right from Dev Anand to Sunil Dutt to Tahir Hussain, father of Aamir Khan. There was no office left that I did not knock on just to ask for work. But when a turnaround happens, it happens in a great way and that’s life,” says the actor.

Jhakaas words to live by.

Updated Date: Aug 02, 2018 08:30 AM