After Anil Kapoor’s 24 knocked unleashed an entirely new level of entertainment in Indian Television, I was eager to know more about the anti-terror protagonist of the show and also the man himself. Then the opportunity to meet him in person arrived, courtesy Indiblogger, Tata Motors or Tata Safari; the brands that sent me an invite to join in a meet & greet event with none other than Jai Rathod of 24 along with a special Lunch at their Pune Guest House (Lake-house).
Out us, the bloggers were ready to bombard him with questions and there he came upon on the stage as energetic, vibrant and full of enthusiasm as a teenager. Even at 57, that’s the same age of my mother, he looked one among us, gaining all our attention. While, I have always been astonished how certain actors/actress looked weird and ugly off screen, I was really surprised to see Mr. Anil Kapoor as fit and healthy as seen on screen, in fact he was a live replica of Jai Singh Rathod of the television sets.
Growing up in the 80’s and watching him as Mr. India and sharing the space with him on the stage was an amazing feeling but more remarkable thing about the person is his down to earth behavior. He was asked how was his feeling after touring the Tata plant and interacting with the workers. All he said was, he was reminded of his struggling days and was more than happy to share little space with the workers. Modest enough, the feeling was not promotional but genuine and that’s what the audience including me liked about him.
Anil Kapoor’s assortment of performance rolls irreconcilably from the wink-wink-nudge-nudge allusion of movies like Welcome and Race 2 on the big screen to the full-grown leopard like agility of a family guy handling a national catastrophe in 24 on the small screen. He was asked how he felt switching from the 70 mm screen to small screen and acting as the protagonist of an Indian remake of the American series to which he replied that the opportunity came as a dream role and it was more promising to make it a TV series than a film. Next, he was asked how different the Indian 24 is from the American 24 and he said everything was the same in terms of the production line except that it was tight on the budget, making jugaad the Indian style.
The last but most prominent question that we all were eager to hear the answer to was,
“How do you manage to look so young even at an age of 57 while the younger actors are now showing a tad of wrinkles and going through numerous surgeries?”
I was expecting him to share his routine or his fitness tips but he credited everything to genetics. Yes, he answered that he is fit because it is in his genes and thanked his grandfather with whom he sent most of his mornings, taking walks in the Chembur area where he spent his early days. The way he walked around the entire plant of Tata Motors, showed his fitness and I just wish, even we could manage the same agility and fitness once we reach our forties and fifties.
Earlier I had seen actors and actress in events or in restaurants but here I was meeting a star of the tinsel world in person and all I could sense a feeling of sensibility, good emotional response and a behavior so down to earth unlike the common misconception.
By Deepti Verma
Image Courtesy: Personal photos of Deepti Verma