The new Rennault Pulse commercial made me sit up and take notice of how Anil Kapoor has been given a new lease to life. Among his contemporaries, including Govinda, Jackie Shroff and Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor is by far the most relevant today. He seems to be the only one from his era to have found the mantra to age gracefully.
Someone who in his hay days was never counted among the bests and relied mostly on rugged and earthy characters has totally revamped himself and learnt to walk all over again. I rate his resurgence on screen very high and find it very moving. He had one of the trickiest tasks in hand to break the shackles – Image makeover - at a time when very few would consider risking their existing onscreen image.
He perhaps had an idea that he would soon be worn out performing Munna and that he needed to change the course. And, gladly he did with panache and care. His experiments did not end with shaving off his mustache to appear classy; he tried over and over again to finally get to where it matters.
He was first seen in a suave character in Lamhe in 1991 and then again in Taal, after a gap of eight years, in 1999. He still hadn’t found his mojo; however, it seems that he had recognized by then that he needed to push the envelope further to announce his re-launch of sorts. He nailed it with his dapper looks and performance in Musafir in 2004. And, perhaps that was just the beginning of the second innings that his contemporaries too would have dreamt of, but could never realize those dreams to reality.
What followed was a slew of such characters in Race, Tashan, Yuvvraj and finally his launch on the global platform with Slumdog Millionaire! The success of this film did not only give him enviable fame and recognition he had been missing all along in his career, but also opened to everyone his aspirations and big dreams. His onscreen reincarnation only suggests that a man who lived in shadows for more than a decade had gathered enough fire in him to be propelled to such unparalleled, meteoric success. Personally, I had never imagined Anil Kapoor in his current avatar. For me, his career was long over before Taal.
I have always maintained that he would be among the very few good actors from his era, but to come this far and achieve all this is astonishing. I now have great respect for the man and his perseverance.