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“I prep for my roles every day of my life”

Continuing to be at the top of his game for decades, evergreen actor Anil Kapoor talks to Bhakti Mehta about his latest, larger-than-life role in the upcoming movie Race 3

From the glimpse we saw in the trailer, your character is quite different from what it was in the previous instalments.

Everyone has been asking me about the journey from the first Race film to Race 3. But my character is very different from what I have done in these films. I played a cop in those films where there was a funny side to him. In Race 3, I have a slightly more dramatic role. Here, my character is the patriarch of the family and is larger-than-life. That is the biggest difference in the roles that I had.

Did you think about the acceptance of the audience when you first heard the script and this different character?

Actually, when the film was first offered to me, I didn’t have the dates. I had already committed those dates to another project of mine. So, first and foremost, I had to figure out how I would go about managing the dates. My first reaction to this was that I just could not do it. That was the issue. But I heard the script. In fact, I heard it twice, after which I gave my inputs wherever I could.

After that, Salman (Khan) and I sat down and spoke about it. He also gave me his inputs on the project. And let me tell you, Salman has been more than just an actor in this film. He has contributed a lot to the film. His contribution as a producer, as an actor, as a writer, as a lyrics writer, all of it is absolutely immense in this film. And when you watch the film, you will definitely see that.  

You are returning to big-screen action after five years with Race 3 and with a stellar cast.

Yes, I may not have done an action movie as such but I did do the TV show 24. I have done a lot of action in 24. In fact, it was full of action for me. Before that, there was Shootout At Wadala, which was an action movie. So, those were my action projects before Race 3.

I actually gave a whole year of my life to 24 and doing that series is like almost doing eight films back-to-back. So, I have been in touch with a lot of action. I thought 24 had much more exposure than the film. Hence, for the public, they have seen me in action at regular intervals. As for the industry, yes, it has been five years since Shootout At Wadala now. The audience has seen me a lot.

So you were very much in the zone when you went on the sets of Race 3.

I actually prep for my roles every day of my life. That is something that has been consistent in my life. Since I am consistent in that, my prep is not for a particular role or a film where physicality is concerned. When it comes into question, I have to be at the top of my game every day of my life, especially at my age.

I have to be more careful now. I can’t take myself for granted and my physical appearance lightly. Everything changes every decade to a certain extent. So, what I have done is, every decade, I have tried to up my commitment towards myself to be good enough for the director. To be the part, look the part when I am on the set, that is what I always do. That is why I was consistently working out for Race 3 too.  I work out six days a week and I have maintained that for this film too.

Everyone has been saying that you were the most energetic person on the set. How different was your experience of Race 3 compared to the previous two films?

The experience of Race 3 was much better. The atmosphere for all of us was much better. The journey has been better than it was from Race and Race 2. This film has been my best experience till date in this franchise. It was amazing in terms of the camaraderie that I had with everyone on the sets and the relationship among all of us while shooting. This has been the best.

Was it because director Remo D’Souza comes in with his own unique style?

The thing is that Abbas-Mustan are more experienced. They had already done a lot of other films before they did Race and Race 2. They are older and have been in the industry for quite some time now. Remo is relatively younger and has done fewer films as a director. But technically, Remo is as sound as anybody else and that is because he has choreographed so many songs in his career. He has a younger perspective, a different perspective of things.

Also, having Shiraz (Ahmed), who is the writer, on the set, was a good combination. To have Shiraz and Remo come together creatively, Salman as a producer and with Ramesh Taurani also being there, everything just fell into place very smoothly. It was not all that difficult to get into the mould of Race 3. I was worried before that ki yeh sab kaise hoga. But when I came on the set, it was a cakewalk.

And do we also get to see the same edge-of-the-seat, thrilling twists and turns?

When you watch the film, you will see that this film also has twists and turns. But unlike the previous films in this franchise, the focus is more on the family angle this time. And that has been done so that it becomes even more relatable to the family audience and also to children. The thing is that Salman has a huge, core fan following with children as much as he does with youngsters and families. So, keeping that in mind, he has seen to it that this film reaches out to even more people. We have the signature Race twists and turns but there is also a lot for Salman Khan fans to look forward too.

After umpteen releases in the industry, being a producer and an actor, do you still feel nervous when the final Friday rolls around? Or is it easier to deal with because a film like Race 3 is already being termed as a blockbuster?

Of course, you keep getting the feeling of being anxious. Most actors go through that when their films are releasing. But in this film, I am a little less anxious because I know what I should expect from it. I am not delusional as an actor. Race 3 is a commercial, mainstream, entertaining film. Also, we know which audience it targets and who will go and watch it in theatres. So, we are very clear.

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