LONDON (Reuters) - Not many Bollywood film stars go from the big screen to television, but the Indian actor and producer Anil Kapoor has not had a traditional career.
Kapoor acted in the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire”, and now he’s back with a second season of “24”, the Indian remake of the U.S. television series about a counter-terrorism agent. He stars as Jai Singh Rathod, the Indian equivalent of Jack Bauer.
“People say that movie stars and big movie stars don’t do television because from the big screen you’re in everybody’s bedroom, it’s small screen. So that risk was there,” Kapoor told Reuters in an interview in London. “But I’ve always taken risks in my career, and I love playing with fire.”
The 59-year-old actor first came to London in 1979 as a backup dancer in a show at the Royal Albert Hall. Since then, he has acted in more than 100 films, including “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” with Tom Cruise and numerous Bollywood hits like “Mr India” and “Taal”. He also acted in the American “24”.
The second season of India’s “24”, which will also air in London on Colors TV, is a 24-episode series representing 24 hours in Rathod’s life as he races to save civilians from becoming collateral damage in a medical terrorism plot. Kapoor said the story is relevant in today’s world, where terrorism is the biggest threat.
“The content has to be great and I felt that ‘24’ has that potential. It’s a great story, it’s great content ... Initially, yes, when I was doing it, there was a risk, but in my mind I was very confident that people are going to like it,” he said.
The show aims to break up viewing habits in India, which are dominated by women and tend towards programs centered on love and the complex relationships within an extended Indian family. It will take time to change that mindset, Kapoor said, but India’s middle class and youth want more realistic fare.
“It has to be as real as possible. If there was a film which is slightly the way it was made earlier, which is melodramatic or doesn’t look believable, starts looking fake, those films are rejected,” he said.
The actor, whose three children have also followed in his footsteps into the Indian film industry, said shooting for television was more intense than doing a film because it required longer working hours for a longer period of time.
After wrapping up the second season of “24”, Kapoor plans to start work on the upcoming Bollywood family drama “Mubaraka”. He has also secured the rights to make Indian versions of the shows “Modern Family” and “Prison Break”.
Editing by Larry King