Mashaal and Shakti

While discussing about Mashaal and Shakti, I remember one of my friends mention an article on Anil Kapoor in Maharashtra Times. The charge d’affaires, Dinkar Gangal who had a photographic memory took care of the entertainment supplement and new writers alike with his undiminished gusto may remember it, till date. The title was something like – “Anil Kapoor’s Tortoise Run.”

The writer had confidence in Anil Kapoor’s career. And unless Dinkar Gangal believed to a minimum proportion of the standards set, he wouldn’t have published it, certainly.

With Indian spectators, cheap gimmickry always sells and whatever sells is assumed to be great and successful. That’s how the mindset here is. Not many ever care for quality.

Then, Anil Kapoor was struggling and Amitabh Bachchan danced in an as far as possible slipshod manner to the tunes of “Khaike Paan Banaraswala” or “Hamare Anganemein Tumhara Kya Kaam Hai” or like that. The chronological order does not matter here.

Around that time, both Anil and Amitabh had a chance to act opposite Dilip Kumar, undoubtedly the best actor India has ever had.

Anil Kapoor faced Dilip Kumar in Mashal (based on Vasant Kanetkar’s Ashroonchi Zhali Phule) while Amitabh Bachchan tried standing tall next to Dilip Sahab in Shakti, yet appeared like a small opposite the stalwart.

Mashal was a humble tale of Guru-Shishya tradition, and Anil Kapoor obeyed precisely off the sets too. He followed all the gestures of the thespian standing opposite him. Fathoms deep in his eyes I saw a feeling of appreciation for Anil, perchance. That was the best way of facing the thespian, undoubtedly.

Amitabh Bachchan too imitated entertainment supplement of the thespian but tried to score over him through his voice, keeping his inflexibility intact forgetting the lucidity of the mellifluous dialogue and expressions, minus. There was an unwilling battle by him to win over what was impossible. I couldn’t see the disdain for such things in the thespian’s eyes, even fathoms deep.

During the climax scene, the ultimate moment of conflict between the fatherhood and a police officer’s duty Dilip Kumar shoots AB, his son denying to get arrested, defying his father. Despite loosening of the face muscles at that age, the emotions emitted by Dilip Kumar are still a lesson to every aspiring actor.

Amitabh Bachchan has gained material success by grabbing whatever came across his hand including politics. He went on snaffling whatever ads were offered to him without thinking whether he has to beg before a kid for a chocolate or behave like an oil soaked buffoon or chant irritating mantras for a skin cream or endorse a mobile phone brand that I am sure even residents of Dharavi won’t fall for.

Anil Kapoor kept his unwavering slow pace as he was attuned to (the tortoise). Anil never accepted a commercial ad as a principle like Dilip Kumar, say his guru for a single movie.

Anil Kapoor’s pairing with Madhuri Dixit kept cherishing the hearts of the movie goers forever arousing nearness unlike creating a sailor’s feeling visiting harbour after harbour.

Bachchan may be popular but as he keeps on harping (the Bachchans are over obsessed with themselves, they only talk, giggle, laugh, smile about themselves; you mention someone else and everything on their face turns artificial – watch interviews and most popular Koffee with Karan), not a single role from Hollywood has come his way. Hollywood always has had shrewd market evaluators after all.

Anil Kapoor is slated before Tom Cruise in his forthcoming movie Mission Impossible 4 as a villain, not the henchman of a villain. I needn’t tell you about the popularity charts of Tom Cruise. Ironically, the role came to Anil after he was seen playing Amitabh Bachchan’s KBC host role in Slumdog Millionaire.  Amitabh Bachchan, the Indian original host (The show is an imitation of an American show), however was not offered that role.

Earlier he writhed a lot as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in attempting to imitate Al Pachino. They didn’t offer him anything though.

In Bhau Padhye’s Marathi novel, Jail Birds (1982), Anil Kapoor, then a budding actor with a perfect tapori look, was to be cast as a road-side small time gangster in eighties.

Amol Palekar and Satish Rajmachikar need not get worried. It’s a story long before they did know the potential in the Jail Birds and declared to have been holding the permission letter for a movie script from the writer. The matter evaporated soon as the earlier producer-financer backed out.

The novel never saw the screen, as had Bhau Padhye predicted. However, in moviedom nobody keeps on crying about the past.

Till date I’ve a feeling that it could have been a land mark role for Anil Kapoor.

After Anil Kapoor the next best choice would have been Pawan Malhotra, an intrinsically intense actor and who had an unparalleled role in Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro. Pawan too subsequently acted in a British movie, Brothers in Trouble.  

However, AB yet waits for an offer from the west.

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