Anil Kapoor Talks Indian ‘Night Manager’ Adaptation, Divorce Comedy ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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Indian actor Anil Kapoor, known globally for his roles in “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” has a raft of projects lined up.

First up is Viacom18 Studios and Dharma Productions’ “Jug Jugg Jeeyo,” directed by Raj Mehta (“Good Newwz”), which is due a June 24 release. The film follows a father and son pair who are considering divorcing their respective spouses, but hold the news back because of impending family festivities.

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“Sometimes in a serious situation, you feel it is serious, but the way it has been written, the way the storytelling is, it’s very funny,” Kapoor told Variety. “It’s a situational comedy. It’s an entertainer, it’s a family film, it’s all about divorce. And that’s what it is, you go enjoy yourself and have fun.”

During the pandemic, Indian audiences have been exposed to a lot of global content via streamers to the point where a mainstream Bollywood comedy with big stars on a hitherto seriously treated subject like divorce is now acceptable. Besides Kapoor, the film features fellow A-listers Neetu Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani.

“I’ve never underestimated the Indian audience,” says Kapoor, adding that the reaction to the trailer, which has gathered nearly four million views on YouTube, has been encouraging.

“No matter what the subject, what the story is, it might be serious, it might be fun, it might be entertaining, if you’ve done it truthfully, people will like it, people will lap it up – at least you want them to. And if they don’t, you move on to the next,” said Kapoor.

Next is the Indian adaptation of hugely successful BBC and AMC 2016 series “The Night Manager,” based on the 1993 novel by John le Carré. Kapoor reveals that the Indian title of the series is “Captain.”

Aditya Roy Kapoor plays the role essayed by Tom Hiddleston in the original. “I am the Indian Roper,” said Kapoor, referring to the role of arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie in the original series.

Some 60% of the series has been shot and production will resume after the “Jug Jugg Jeeyo” release, Kapoor said, adding that The Ink Factory, whick produced “The Night Manager” is “passionately involved” in the project.

Post “Captain,” Kapoor will start work in July on Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s gangster drama “Animal,” alongside Ranbir Kapoor. In October, Kapoor starts work on Viacom18’s aerial action film “Fighter,” alongside Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone.

Pre-production is happening full swing on Anil Kapoor Film Company’s as yet untitled biopic of competitive shooter Abhinav Bindra, the first Indian to have won an individual Olympic gold medal. Kapoor will play Bindra’s father Apjit. Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan will play Abhinav in the film.

Harshvarshan starred alongside his father in Netflix original film “Thar,” the second of two back-to-back films Kapoor did for the streamer after “AK vs AK.”

“Both these films have got feedback and love from all over the world, from people whom I know and some people I don’t know. And certain filmmakers whom I admire and respect have appreciated and loved both films,” said Kapoor.

Regarding future projects in the West, Kapoor says, “There are shows, films, which are pitched to me. Sometimes things don’t work out, because of various reasons. It might be the role. It might be the script, it might be the timing when they approached me. And some times it might be situations where I feel as if it is not worth my time to go there for this kind of film, or this kind of role. But I’m always open to jobs which challenge me, which will help me grow my craft as an actor. And I would love to work with filmmakers who can challenge me and can make me a better actor in the West. I’m looking forward to that.”

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