Anil Kapoor has shown us a different side to his acting skills in his new series, The Night Manager – and he loved every second of it.
The Bollywood icon took on the role of arms dealer Shailendra Shelly’ Rungta in the Hotstar program, an adaptation of the hugely popular BBC series starring Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston.
He led the way in the remake, leading a star-studded cast alongside Aditya Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala and Tillotama Shome.
The 66-year-old appeared as a villain on the small screen, something he has rarely done before and, speaking to Metro.co.uk ahead of the release, he opened up about just how much he relished the challenge.
‘It’s always exciting and challenging to play something you’ve never done, something similar to this,’ he told us. ‘I’ve never played an arms dealer, not even in films and I’ve been doing films for many years.
‘For me, when I got this opportunity, it wasn’t only because [of that], but the other shades which this character had made it very exciting for me to do it.
‘Richard’s character is one of the finest characters written in the book. Very well written, phenomenally performed by Hugh Laurie and directed by Susanne [Bier]. Of course, we’ve tried our best to do our best.’
The original Night Manager series was an instant hit with fans when it hit our screens in 2016, with Anil himself among them.
Despite having big shoes to fill with the role, he has been enjoying the ‘fantastic’ feedback he has received from fans so far.
The show also gave him the opportunity to travel to some incredible locations, including a stint in Dubai and stunning areas of Sri Lanka – where his wife, Sunita Kapoor, came to join him for a much-needed shopping trip.
It was over delicious meals in Sri Lanka that he was able to bond with his co-stars the most, joking that he had to take care of himself compared to Aditya.
‘I think my favorite moment was going to Sri Lanka, which was fantastic,’ he said. ‘The country is so beautiful, the beaches and the home was fantastic. Of course, the people over there and the food was also terrific.
‘Obviously, we couldn’t eat much because we were all trying to look our best for the show. I was competing with Aditya Roy Kapur – who has not six but about I think 200 packs. And Sobhita, who is a stunner, so I had to look after myself and I couldn’t eat that much.
‘My wife came, we did a little bit of shopping over there, bought antiques from Sri Lanka. One of them is still stuck over there, but quite a few other things we could carry [came over] which is wonderful.
‘Whenever we travel anywhere, and whenever I go to shoot in remote places, my wife comes along and when I’m shooting, she goes and hunts these little things which can be added to my home.’
Anil has been a staple of the big screen since he made his debut in 1971, delighting audiences in Slumdog Millionaire, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Mashaal, No Entry, Ram Lakhan and many more in that time.
‘I go with my gut. I feel it’s going to work and I do something which I have not done, I enjoy doing it,’ he said of picking new projects. ‘Of course, the filmmaker, producer, the actors, all these things are very much… I keep on ticking each and every box.
‘Is the film going to be released properly? Which is very, very important… These are the boxes which I have to tick before I say yes, besides the story, the role, the character, the script. And of course, the most important thing is sometimes money also.’
Although he has commanded a huge career, Anil vowed that he has zero regrets in walking away from anything he has been offered.
‘Most of the time if I’ve turned down a film, and even if the film has become a big success and become very, very popular, I always know that I actually was not the right choice,’ he added.
‘They made a better choice. I said no to the film so that the right person was there to do that role. There’s no film which I feel I should have done it and I said no to.
‘Mostly it has been positive in my journey.’
The Night Manager is available to stream on Hotstar and Disney+ now.
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