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Effortlessly stealing the thunder from his young co-stars in the trailers of Zoya Akhtar’s upcoming multistarrer Dil Dhadakne Do, Anil Kapoor, 58, is still a filmmaker’s go-to guy for punch and pizzazz.
Over three decades and 100 movies, the versatile star has constantly strived to achieve a healthy balance of success and substance.
Whether it’s his meticulous approach to complex roles, altering appearances without losing out on all spontaneity or creating an everyman aura that draws a special connection to the masses, AK’s credibility is based on hard work, ambition and perfectly preserved physicality.
His stunning body of work leaves you spoilt for choice.
Here’s a list of 10 of his most superlative performances. Feel free to share your favourite on the message board below.
One may see more of Sridevi than her titular leading man and the invisible superhero Mr India in Shekhar Kapur’s delightful fantasy but, make no mistake, this is Anil Kapoor’s show all the way.
His wholesome performance as the compassionate caretaker of a bunch of orphan kids taking on a creepy comic terrorist Mogambo while juggling a steamy, secret romance with his pretty tenant is a show reel for his tremendous charisma and talent.
Read more about Mr India
There’s much to admire about Yash Chopra’s unconventional romance in Lamhe, one of those rare films whose box office disappointment doesn’t dampen its glory.
Foremost among them is Anil Kapoor. His sensitive, sophisticated portrayal of both -- a heartbroken youngster (sans his signature moustache) and a somber man inching towards 40s (partially grey-haired) while retaining his innate shyness -- is consistently restrained and affecting.
And so darn irresistible.
Read more about Lamhe.
Woh 7 Din
Playing naïve without a trace of pretension is no easy feat.
To Kapoor’s credit, his down-to-earth bearings and infectious simplicity as the struggling composer Prem Pratap Patialeywale pulls off the old-fashioned sensibilities of his character dragged into a marital snag.
All the more commendable when the other actor in the film is a complete natural -- Naseeruddin Shah.
Director Yash Chopra’s Mashaal adapts Vasant Shankar Kanetkar’s Marathi play Ashroonchi Zhali Phule, pitting Anil Kapoor against the powerhouse Dilip Kumar.
Quite early on the actor proved he’s unfazed by challenges like facing senior stars or essaying gritty roles.
It’s reflected in his memorable transformation from a misdirected street-side tapori to an educated youngster eager to make an honest living even as his source of inspiration lets him down.
A rascal, a scamster, a charmer, a brat, an avenger -- as Ram’s difficult kid brother Lakhan, Anil Kapoor is full of tricks and tattle.
It’s his flamboyant one-two-ka-fours and tit-for-tat readiness, in complete contrast to Jackie Shroff’s strong, silent approach, which earns him the reputation of the MOST winsome and loveable character to come out of Subhash Ghai’s stable of masala potboilers.
Wearing intensity as proudly as his moustache, Kapoor swallows the screen with his fury and passion in N Chandra’s Tezaab.
Essentially a love story, the turbulent drama goes to and fro in time to chronicle his loss of innocence, a courtship with Madhuri Dixit and the events that led to their estrangement.
Seasoned in defined bits of action, humour, romance and dazzle synonymous with 1980s brand of entertainment, Tezaab truly comes into its own when Kapoor strips his temper in front of the camera.
Chameli Ki Shaadi
Be it Ram Lakhan, Kishen Kanhaiya, Deewana Mastana, Biwi No 1, No Entry or Welcome, Anil Kapoor is quite a PRO at tickling the funny bone.
But he’s doing it in the most unobvious fashion in Basu Chatterjee’s 1986 gem, Chameli Ki Shaadi. That’s what makes his Charandas such a dear and dorky.
Along side his rambunctious co-star Amrita Singh, Kapoor plays off their contrasting personalities, rolling up his kurta sleeves to create the impression of muscles of a wannabe wrestler only to reveal his goofy real self in front of his burly girl.
Another landmark in a career worthy of great envy, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Parinda continues to hold top spot in the genre of crime dramas.
Anil Kapoor is paired off actors around whom he produces best chemistry -- Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher, Nana Patekar and Madhuri Dixit and the upshot is a series of iconic scenes.
Except it’s not mere imagery but the shift in his character’s graph from a happy-go-lucky lad to a man seeking revenge in and against the world of crime till Parinda reaches its alarming climax.
In this remake of Shankar’s Tamil blockbuster Mudhalvan, Anil Kapoor shows what he can accomplish as a Chief Minister in one day.
Though it’s largely bombastic and crowd-pleasing, its anti-corruption sentiments and rampant red tapism resonate in conviction thanks to Kapoor’s credibility and dynamism. Refraining from stereotypical heroics, he doesn’t conceal his nervousness nor play down his determination.
The man’s simply on fire in Nayak’s best scene -- the one where he interviews and accepts the challenge from Amrish Puri, playing the current CM to take over his role for a day.
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My Wife’s Murder
One of the things that add to Kapoor’s enduring appeal is his willingness to push the envelope.
Even though My Wife’s Murder wasn’t a smash hit, the actor earned a lot of acclaim for his work in it.
There are roles that require bluster. And there are parts that rely on instinct and nuances. Kapoor is a master of both.
My Wife’s Murder, where he plays a husband suspected of killing his cantankerous wife, is an exercise in the latter.