Thursday, October 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India




G L I T Z  'N'  G L A M O U R


Bollywood’s most enduring hero
Arun Roy
F
or any actor in Indian cinema, 25 years is a long time to remain as hero. While pointing this out, Anil Kapoor takes pride in comparing his career with that of contemporaries like Jackie Shroff and Sanjay Dutt who are also in their forties and have already started playing supporting roles in films.

Riding on the wings of luck
Things have come on a platter for Kartika Rane, whose two currently running serials, ‘Kangan’ and ‘Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye’ have given her so much publicity and hype that she’s now being pursued by Bollywood producers, writes 
Sanjeeb Mukherjee.




 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Bollywood’s most enduring hero
Arun Roy

Anil Kapoor: The star who came to stayFor any actor in Indian cinema, 25 years is a long time to remain as hero. While pointing this out, Anil Kapoor takes pride in comparing his career with that of contemporaries like Jackie Shroff and Sanjay Dutt who are also in their forties and have already started playing supporting roles in films.

From ‘Mashaal’ and ‘Mr India’ to ‘Tezaab’, ‘Ram Lakhan’, ‘Kishan Kanhaiya’ ‘Beta’ ‘Eeshwar,’ 1942: A Love Story,’ ‘Virasat’ and ‘Pukar’ and has produced more hits than any other Bollywood hero. But still does that make him the ‘nayak’ of Hindi cinema?

If the box-office response to his latest starrer of like name is any indication, Kapoor should indeed qualify as one of the longest-surviving lead stars around. And the odd part is that even before he appeared in M.S. Sathyu’s ‘Kahan Kahan Se Guzar Gaye’, he had known he was ‘hero material’ and nothing less.

"I knew the way I looked would only get me romantic hero roles," he clarifies. "Even Shabana Azmi tells me that when she saw me first, she took me to be a filmi brat. So I deliberately made my debut in parallel or what was then called art cinema."

Apart from Sathyu, Kapoor worked with south Indian filmmakers Bapu ('Vamsavriksham’ in Telugu) and Mani Ratnam (‘Pallavi Anupallavi’ in Kannada) before Yash Chopra gave him his "real break" in mainstream Hindi cinema with ‘Mashaal’ in 1983.

"You could say that was the turning point in my career" he narrates. "For at the premiere of ‘Mashaal’, I signed ‘Meri Jung’ and ‘Jaanbaaz’, two of the biggest films of the time. The industry took note and understood that someone big had arrived."

For an actor who grew up with the idealistic films of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando, success, though hard won and well-deserved, has not brought in a swagger. For that matter, he is the least controversial of all stars with no scandal or court-case to his name. He has been married to the same woman for 17 years and is extremely fond of his three children. "Nobody at home ever lets me feel like a star," he jokes, somewhat ruefully. "I am now 42 and everyone still says that I am dominated by my wife Sunita and of course, big brother Boney."

There may be some truth in that self-deprecating remark. For the older brother has certainly been calling the shots in his capacity as producer and worse, as a self appointed manager.

Boney is supposed to tell his brother who he can be seen with, whom to avoid, what he should charge and how he should organise his dates.

But the kid brother has his own explanation of this: "Boney has got a bad name because while I just concentrate on my work, he is the one who deals with the industry. So sometimes he may seem to be a bully. For every ‘Heer Ranjha’ (a flop) he has recommended that I do, there’s a ‘Viraasat’, which was a super-hit."

"On the other hand, Sunita is the stabilising factor in my life," he continues. " Till today, I have not managed to persuade her to pose for a picture with me, lest she be recognised in public. She says that there’s only room for one star in the family. She’s so independent-minded that she flies economy-class!"

And how does he find himself sandwiched between these two strong-willed individuals?

"I have no complaints," he shrugs. "I am completely useless when it comes to day-to-day things, running a family, looking after kids... Sunita takes care of that. Boney is there to deal with fixing stuff, switching on the TV and attending to outsiders. All I like to do is act. Period." (MF)
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Riding on the wings of luck

Things have come on a platter for Kartika Rane, whose two currently running serials, ‘Kangan’ and ‘Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye’ have given her so much publicity and hype that she’s now being pursued by Bollywood producers, writes 
Sanjeeb Mukherjee.

Kartika Rane ... Small screen’s big success story.From the cool confines of her father’s seaside bungalow in Goa to the glitzy world of films, television and high-profile modelling, it’s been a life of sweet dreams for Kartika Devi Rane. Some years ago as a student of sociology at Mumbai’s Sophia College little could this demure girl have known that the world of showbiz would roll out the red carpet for her.

"I’ve simply been very lucky," says Kartika whose two currently running serials, ‘Kangan’ and ‘Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye’ are top of the popularity charts. However, her foray into films wasn’t as successful with her first film, ‘Yash’ failing to make the cash registers jingle.

But after the success of ‘Kangan’ and ‘Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye’, Kartika was sure Bollywood would come calling. Today she’s being vigorously pursued by Bollywood producers though she says she’s still deciding whether to jump in or not.

There’s a reason behind her reluctance. Rumours have it that she was finalised for Mukesh Bhatt’s ‘Tumko Meri Kasam’ opposite Anil Kapoor but was dropped at the last moment in favour of Rani Mukherjee.

She just shrugs her shoulders neither confirming nor denying the rumour. All she says is that she will wait for the right role. "I won’t sign any film that comes my way but only those which have some substance and offer me meaty roles. Till that happens I am happy doing TV serials."

In ‘Kangan’ on Star Plus she plays a princess — a role, which comes naturally to her considering that she has blue blood in her veins and her uncle, Pratapsinh Rane was the former chief minister of Goa.

Things have come easy for the young lady who never had to make rounds of studios or advertising agencies for work. Today she is one of the most sought-after leading ladies of the small screen with almost a dozen top serials behind her and lot many in the pipeline.

Even as her cute-girl looks have found many takers on the small screen, modelling assignments too have been coming in plenty. No, she says, she never hankered after them either. "Things just fell in place."

In fact, things started falling in place from the time she was in the first year of college. A friend who was into modelling asked her to give it a try. Since then, there’s been no looking back for Kartika who has appeared in number of commercials for leading advertising agencies like McCann Erickson, O&M, ICI, Lintas, HTA, Chaitra Leo Burnett. The products she has advertised include Forhans, Dulux, Fair & Lovely, Rin and Vim.

It was in one such assignment that she had a chance meeting with the late film director, Mukul Anand. He was so taken in by her looks that he signed her for his new comic countdown show, ‘Ek Se Badkar Ek’ for DD-I.

But Mukul died halfway through the show, which was then taken over by B.R. Films, one of the top banners of Bollywood. Ravi Chopra directed the comedy serial which become an instant hit.

As it happens in all dream debuts, Kartika Rane was noticed at once and offers started pouring in. "If the serial sounded good and my role was meaty, I signed it. After all, since I had decided to work on television, I didn’t want any good opportunities to pass me by," says she.

Luckily for her most of the serials she did went on to become moderate-to-big hits. From ‘Captain Vyom’ to ‘Tere Mere Sapne’, from ‘Gubare’ to ‘Nayay’ and from ‘Janam’ to ‘Hum Pardesi Ho Gaye’ and ‘Kangan’, Kartika Rane has acted with established directors. Considering the fact that she was a complete novice in showbiz, it’s been great going by any standards.

Interestingly, after doing so many serials she says she has still not come to terms with the profession and confesses that everything she’s got has been by sheer good luck and not by any great effort on her part.

"I never took acting as a career, but as a hobby that’s why I enjoyed doing whatever came my way on TV. I never chased serial-makers nor hankered after roles," says, Kartika Rane whose forthcoming serials include ‘Mom Ke Par’ to be aired on Sahara and ‘Khwaab’ for Star Plus which deals with middle-class life of Mumbai.

Though she may not have been very selective initially, over a period of time she has become choosy about the kind of work she’d like to do. Now she doesn’t sign on just any role that comes her way. "Unless I am comfortable and confident about the part I am playing, I say no. A role must give me professional satisfaction."

She says she also takes into account other details like the storyline, the director and the banner before committing herself to any project. And her choice of roles speaks eloquently of her judgmental abilities.

"After the success of ‘Ek Se Badkar Ek’, I did get many offers for comedies, but I preferred doing a variety of roles as I didn’t want to get typecast," says the actress.

Her latest serial ‘Kangan’ is her first with actress-turned-director Asha Parekh. Here she plays a young Chandni who is blissfully unaware that her parents have found a match for her. She rejects him but the man vows to make her his wife."I really loved the story. Besides, being a top actress herself, Asha Parekh extracted the best from me," says Kartika.

But now, with so many first-grade serials and ad campaigns behind her, it won’t be long before a good Bollywood assignment falls into her lap. Kartika Rane’s eyes light up and she crosses her fingers, "Let’s hope that happens soon." And knowing her run of good luck on TV, it should not be long before that happens! (NF)
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