Actor Anil Kapoor says he realised early on his career that looks will never be the criteria for his casting in films, like his contemporaries, and hence decided to work hard on his craft.
Kapoor, who started out in the 80s, says today people talk about his looks and fitness but back in the day, that wasn't the case. "In the initial phase of my career, people used to tell me 'You don't have to work so much.' But I enjoyed it so I didn't care what people used to say. Somewhere I used to think, God hasn't given me a great personality, body or face. So maybe I'll get work purely on my hardwork," Kapoor told PTI in an interview here.
"I was never delusional, I knew where I stood. I felt I should work harder and I did work harder than other actors because God had gifted them with a better personality, presence, so somewhere I feel I compensated that with hardwork," he adds.
Kapoor's career is marked with the actor changing gears with times. While in 80's he gave hits like "Tezaab" and "Mr. India", the 90s featured him in blockbusters "Beta", "Judai", "1942: A Love Story", "Virasat" and "Taal".
In the 2000s, he made versatile choices in "Nayak, "Welcome", "Race", "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Dil Dhadakne Do" among others.
Kapoor says for one to have a longevity in the industry, it all comes down to choices.
"The choices you make keeps you relevant. Your instinct which makes you choose. The people who you work with, the collaboration which happens. Of course, the love for my craft has kept me going too. The passion to sink my teeth in different characters, my craving to do something new.
"At every stage I kept meeting people who motivated me, kept opening new doors for me. All of that has contributed in keeping me relevant," he adds.
The 63-year-old actor says even after 40 years in Bollywood, he feels fortunate to have the same competitive spirit which he had as a newcomer.
"When I started out, I was like every newcomer. Hungry, angry, in search of one opportunity. I'm still hungry for good work. I am very fortunate that directors are pitching me scripts which are so original, it makes you tense and wonder 'how will I be able to pull this off?'
"Because there are youngsters and I don't want to be left behind in my passion, in my work, looks, or fitness. I still have that competitive spirit."
In his next, "Malang", Kapoor features alongside Aditya Roy Kapur, Disha Patani and Kunal Kemmu.
The Mohit Suri-directed thriller features him as a cop, seven years after "Shootout At Wadala".
"It's a good enough gap to play a cop otherwise people will say it's repetitive. I took it up because it was a fascinating role. But it isn't that I walk into a set and I know every beat of how to perform. That comes when you prep at home and sometimes when you're on set, you realise it isn't working.
"So the director tells you, the writer guides you and even your co-actors. Some roles are such which require you to completely understand the tone, the nuances and come prepared on sets, like '24', or most scenes in 'Malang'. A lot of discussion went into it," he adds.
"Malang" is scheduled to release on February 7.
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