Anil Kapoor stars as Kamal Mehra in Dil Dhadakne Do, playing dad to actors Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. The 58-year-old Bollywood veteran, known for his comic timing and evergreen looks, talks about his role in the comedy and why an ensemble cast makes for a great film.
Tell us a bit about this film and your role in it.
This is a story about a Punjabi family with a whole load of problems. I play Kamal Mehra, the patriarch, who is very rich, who is going through a financial crisis. Kamal is a self-made man and does not want to lose the empire that he has built so painstakingly and will do anything to save it. He is basically a businessman who has no qualms about manipulating people – even his own family members – to achieve his goal.
Are there any similarities between Kamal Mehra and Anil Kapoor?
I think playing Kamal Mehra was very exciting because he is completely the opposite of Anil Kapoor. In real life, I am very democratic with my family, not like Kamal at all, who is very controlling and manipulative. In the film, I am a patriarch first, who runs a company and is dedicated to it. Next, I am a father and a husband. In real life, it is completely different. For me, family comes first.
What was it about this project that made you say yes?
Zoya [the director] was my first attraction. Then the script, and then my role. And, of course, the rest of the cast – Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah … all big stars and wonderful actors. So the whole project became a very exciting prospect for me.
You seem to have a penchant for ensemble projects.
It is always wonderful to work in multi-starrers. I have done so many in my career, like Karma, Race 2, No Entry, Welcome. When the sparring is good, it makes a good film. I have been very fortunate that all of my multi-starrers have been huge successes. They have been very lucky for me, so I do look forward to them.
Do the Mehras reflect today’s families and their complicated relationships?
Yes. I do believe there is a certain amount of dysfunctionality in everyone, because human beings are complex. We are not always all on the same wavelength. The way society shapes up, each person has their own tangent and there is bound to be a certain amount of dysfunctionality. But there are families that counter that by communicating well. That is what it boils down to: how well you communicate.
How was the camaraderie between the cast on the sets?
With Ranveer [Singh] around, obviously it has to be a lot of fun. We all had a great time. I think this was one of the best journeys of my entire career and I am sure the rest of the cast will agree with me on this – that it’s the same for them as well. We all had a lot of fun. Of course, we all worked very, very hard once we started shooting, but otherwise, we had great fun, too. We had a blast. Every day was absolutely fantastic. Every moment of this film has been phenomenal and memorable and I am going to remember it all my life.
This film was shot in different locations. Which was your favourite?
We shot in Italy, France, Africa, Turkey … in one film where do you get the opportunity to shoot in so many places? That was the best part, actually. What’s more, no mainstream Hindi film has ever been shot on a cruise ship. In this film, the audience will not only see a good story, but they will get to see all of these beautiful locations and breathtaking locales. Rome was so beautiful. Then there was Tunisia. In Spain, we shot in Barcelona. Then Istanbul and Cappadocia in Turkey. Then Portovenere in Italy, which was so beautiful. Every country had something great to offer.