Five Favorite Films with Slumdog Millionaire's Anil Kapoor

It is written: the big Bollywood star reveals his major influences.

Anil Kapoor

Slumdog Millionaire's American audiences were enticed to watch by the name of director Danny Boyle or the movie's kinetic exploration of an exotic, far-away underbelly. In India, the selling point very well may have been Anil Kapoor. Kapoor, who portrays the movie's shifty host of India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, is the movie's biggest Bollywood name, something fashioned over three decades of work, which includes Mr. India (an early work by Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur for which Kapoor received great critical acclaim). The story of Kapoor's  first international movie is a story we know well now -- the plot, the controversies, the international box office success, and the endless trophies (including an ultimate Oscar Best Picture and Kapoor's own share of a SAG Oustanding Cast award). As he pursues new projects in America (and on the release of Slumdog on DVD), RT sat down with Kapoor to get his Five Favorite Films.



Gold Rush (1925, 100% Tomatometer)
The Gold RushThe films that really changed my life were all the films made by Charlie Chaplin. Films like The Gold Rush. They were silent films, they were black and white. As a kid, I would just completely get mesmerized with every aspect of cinema. That kind of magic I'd never yet seen, the magic Charlie Chaplin created on screen -- in terms of performances, in terms of technique, in terms of innocence, in terms of purity. I would wonder, "Is there anyone in the world who can match this?" I would see other films, and I'd think, "No, this guy is a real genius." He makes me smile. And sometimes he moves me.



City Lights (1931, 100% Tomatometer)
City LightsAh, City Lights. [It] doesn't [really] make an effort to do comedy or [try] to make me cry. It just flows so naturally. A true artist. And you don't have to be sensible [to watch  Chaplin's films]. You [can be] a kid but you still can understand his films.  [One] doesn't need education, academic education, to understand or enjoy his films. And I would see in the theater, in the audience, all kinds of people: children, parents, grandparents, poor, rich, very rich people, everybody in the theater enjoying his films.

Chaplin really influenced me on being an actor. And I remember, back in India, Raj Kapoor, was greatly influenced by Charlie Chaplin. [Kapoor] became one of the biggest filmmakers of our country. You know, [Kapoor] is one of the few filmmakers who are very very known in that part of the world, especially Russia and the Middle East, the Far East. All the countries, one of the most famous filmmakers, Raj Kapoor. And he was influenced by Charlie Chaplin. Everybody says, "Are you influenced by Raj Kapoor?" and I say, "No, I'm not inspired by Raj Kapoor, I'm inspired by Charlie Chaplin." It all goes back to that. And if you see my films, films like Woh 7 Din, Mr. India, and all those kinds of films, there is a bit of Chaplin. In every role which I do to this day, there is that flavor, because I've been influenced by all this. I will always think, if there is a scene, I will always have him in mind. Even in Slumdog Millionaire...

[My performance in Slumdog Millionaire] is very animated, it's very flamboyant. That influence always works when I'm doing those kinds of roles. There are certain times when I'm slightly larger than life and animated, still in control and still looking natural, and not looking like a buffoon, and not looking caricaturish. Still looking real. I think some way it is the influence of Charlie Chaplin. And even if I can achieve one percent or two percent of what he has achieved in this life in terms of art, in terms of what he has done, I'll feel pretty fulfilled. When I try to do stuff which he has done, a little bit here and there, then I realize what a great man he was, and what a great character he was, and what he accomplished. Very, very difficult. I heard that he would rehearse for hours and days for every punch. For every punch. And there are times when I'm doing my films, I say, "Let's copy this punch on this film." And we could never get it. We just couldn't get it.




The Great Dictator (1940, 100% Tomatometer)
The Great DictatorYou can go into the depth and go inside into his mind, and it's like miles and miles of depth. Which you can't really get in the actor's realm, but Charlie Chaplin could get. And his speech in The Great Dictator, the way he spoke when he played Hitler in The Great Dictator. It is one of the greatest monologues to come out of cinema. Nobody has ever been able to achieve that.



Every movie by Laurel & Hardy (1921 - 1951)
Laurel & HardyI feel performance cannot be done in isolation. So when I talk about teamwork, when I talk about timing between two actors, timing between two actors, I think about Laurel & Hardy. It's like two sides of a coin. It's the quickest examples of two people creating magic, two actors creating magic. I look up to these people [and] I get influenced by [them], because I try to create these things. I see others trying to create that thing, but nobody has succeeded yet.

Laurel & Hardy [are] completely timeless. And anything in art which is timeless -- it might be architecture, it might be paintings, whatever you do -- [if] it's great art, it will entertain the people all over the world for centuries and centuries.




The Godfather (1972, 100% Tomatometer)
The GodfatherEverything just fell in place. The right people, the right director, the right script, the right timing, what the world was going through. Everything just fell right. So Godfather, Slumdog Millionaire, Laurel & Hardy, and Chaplin. Well, it's too early to talk about Slumdog, but I'm sure after 50 or 100 years people are going to say that everything just fell in the right [place] for Slumdog.

The Godfather is not [just] an American hit, it's really a worldwide film. Anywhere [you go]: China, Japan, Mexico. Everywhere students of cinema, ordinary people, everybody just loved the film. It's got that cinematic magic, The Godfather. And, you know, it's the lighting, the camerawork, the editing, the performances, the casting, the colors, the costumes. It was cinema at its best, and I'm sure it is something which, as you say, was written. Just everything fell in place. It doesn't happen with everybody, it's [when] people are [from] a certain kind of work culture [that] these things happen normally.

What I like about The Godfather [is that] it's very classical. [Coppola] just leaves the camera. You never see the camera moving. It's very static and it's the actors [who are moving]. [But] still you create the magic. You don't have to juggle the camera to attract attention.

The music also is very subtle. Everything is subtle. Your mind is throbbing, your [hairs are] rising, you're on the edge of your seat, but still everything is so calm and relaxed. It's cinema at its best. Slumdog? That's also cinema at its best but everything [is] movement. There's so much movement, there's so much energy, the script is moving, the screenplay, the camera is moving, the actors are moving, everything is moving. But still, you understand the story. It is in control. Still, it moves you.


Catch Anil Kapoor in Slumdog Millionaire on DVD this week. For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.

Comments

Salty Gritts

Josh McCrohan

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think Kapoor really likes Charlie Chaplin.

Mar 31 - 09:39 PM

arendr

Arend Anton

Interesting. Chaplin x3, Laurel and Hardy, and The Godfather (which ends up on everyone's list here).

Mar 31 - 09:45 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I LOVE Mr. Kapoor.

Anybody who has seen Chaplin know that many great comedians, in particular I point to Mel Brooks, wouldn't be half as good had he not existed. Further, with "The Great Dictator" Chaplin shows an ability to go against convention, to make films not so much for a profit but for englitenment.

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcvjoWOwnn4

That is one of my top 10 favorite film endings of all time(It's to The Great Dictator). I urge you to watch it! Now, when is the last time you saw a film that did anything approaching this?

With Slumdog Millionaire showing great success, hopefully we'll see more "message" films aimed at the heart and not the wallet!

I'm very happy about this list! =)

Mar 31 - 09:58 PM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

The youtube clip is the speech Kapoor mentions about The Great Dictator.

Mar 31 - 10:16 PM

inactive user

Jared King

YES! Charlie Chaplin is my all time favorite film maker. He produces. writes, direts, acts, sings, and does the musical scores. And "City Lights" and "The Great Dictator" I'd say are the best movies of thier respective decades.

Of course "The Godfather" is great, and this guy has the most amount of films for a five favorite films list Mister Every-Laurel-&-Hardey. Great list.

Mar 31 - 10:33 PM

Rusty Broomhandle

Jaco Gerber

You know... one day when I am famous and I end up on the RT 5 favourite movies feature (that's how one measures fame, yaknow) ... I'm going to have to point out that I haven't even seen The Godfather. :P

Apr 1 - 04:46 AM

MizzleBrizzle

Mike Bragg

Regardless of what he chose (Godfather), his responses were nicely detailed. It's good that he loves film so much. Movies made by people who love film tend to be more joyous than movies made by people who love only money.

Apr 1 - 06:59 AM

Timothy M.

Timothy McLean

Why the Heck Does everyone choose Godfather?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Nobody ever picks action movies! The only one who did was Dane Cook with the Empire Strikes Back!

Apr 1 - 07:36 AM

Siler_117

Justin Siler

The great dictator, chaplins greatest film! i love it

Apr 1 - 07:51 AM

snickerskicker

Richard Crismore

This is obviously another April Fool's joke. 3 Charlie Chaplin movies, all Laurel and Hardy movies take up a spot, and then you have the one movie everybody and their mother lists. Plus it's really obvious when you read "his" reasons for picking these movies.

Apr 1 - 08:27 AM

snickerskicker

Richard Crismore

This is obviously another April Fool's joke. 3 Charlie Chaplin movies, all Laurel and Hardy movies take up a spot, and then you have the one movie everybody and their mother lists. Plus it's really obvious when you read "his" reasons for picking these movies.

Apr 1 - 08:27 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

I don't think it's an April Fool's Joke. . .

Apr 1 - 12:05 PM

Varun K R

Varun K R

It was posted on 31st March, my friend. April Fools' jokes take place on the 1st of April. And whats there to fool in the list? Can't someone like Charlie Chaplin? Was he that disgusting or something?

Apr 1 - 12:17 PM

MizzleBrizzle

Mike Bragg

Not to mention that it is one thing to make up rumors, but to make up an interview with a person is to misrepresent them. IMO, that would be unethical, joke or no.

Apr 1 - 01:18 PM

FinalDestination019

Olivia Prongrer

Yeah, The Godfather is one almost everyone's list, but come on, it's a great film. And Kapoor's description of why he likes it is perfect.

Chaplin's the best; glad he got some love here.

Apr 1 - 02:50 PM

Islander

John Watkins

He sure is eager about Charlie Chaplin. I'm not that familiar with the legendary filmmaker myself, but I'm not all that interested in him. Stanley Kubrick apparently really didn't like his films. That isn't reason enough to avoid a film, but when they don't look interesting anyway, it becomes reason enough.

Apr 1 - 03:02 PM

snickerskicker

Richard Crismore

Alright alright settle down. I admit I made a mistake in not looking at the date it was posted. I just didn't see it when I was on yesterday. I made an *** of myself, I was wrong, and I'm apologize.

Apr 1 - 03:56 PM

nate2709

Nate 2709

I guarantee this will be the only time a Laurel & Hardy flick makes one it one of these lists. At least the guy's honest.

Apr 1 - 04:25 PM

Smartest Person Here

Greg Bonnette

Are you kidding me? "Slumdog" must suck...

Apr 1 - 05:50 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You should change your username.

Apr 1 - 08:07 PM

inactive user

Jared King

You should change your username.

Apr 1 - 08:07 PM

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