With Mom maintaining a steady pace at the box office, Boney Kapoor has another hit on his hands. Preeja Aravind talks to the producer about his life in films
Boney Kapoor, in his own words, is happy being behind the scenes. The affable producer described himself as “a producer whose job at hand is to fulfill the director’s vision, and not just shell out money.” He is also a gambler who picked first-timer Ravi Udayawar to direct Mom that would star his wife, Sridevi. “He is the one producer who has the knowledge to pick up talent. Because Boneyji is nowhere from the ad world like Ravi. To know that … the credit goes to Boneyji,” said the actress.
The statement can be corroborated by Kapoor’s filmography — out of the 30-odd films that he has produced individually, at least half of them have been directed by either first-timers or upcoming directors.
An eye for talent
Kapoor’s gift for choosing talent goes back 30 years — Mr India, which was his first super hit film as a producer, was directed by Shekhar Kapur who was a relative newbie in the industry. Today Shekhar Kapur is one of the haloed directors in Hollywood, with Academy Award nominations to his name.
“I was sold on the idea of the film. And I had seen some of Ravi’s work and I realised that he will be the right person for this movie,” this was what Kapoor said about picking Ravi Udayawar, an adman who has few ties to Bollywood, to direct Mom.
This is the man who began his journey in Bollywood at the age of 19, and has not directed a film. “I will. One day. Before I hang my boots,” Kapoor said about his directorial venture.
King of remakes
Kapoor, the eldest son of producer Surinder Kapoor, began working in early 1970s — he doesn’t remember exactly which year — as an assistant editor. He then worked as assistant director under the legendary producer-director Shakti Samanta. Kapoor started remakes and multi-lingual productions much before it became a trend in Bollywood. His first two feature films as producer were remakes — multi-starrer Hum Paanch was a remake of a Kannada film, while Woh Saath Din, the debut film of his brother Anil, was a remake of a Tamil movie.
Half of Kapoor’s productions have been remakes of south Indian films — as recent as 2015’s Tevar, which had his son Arjun Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha in lead roles, was the official remake of Telugu film, Okkadu. The film that got him out of a financial ruin in 2005, No Entry, was the Hindi version of Tamil film Charlie Chaplin.
“See, every one draws inspirations. How many 100 percent original stories are there in the world? These stories are all offshoots of those originals. So why not a screenplay? When I see a screenplay, it is perhaps interesting to me for some character or some visual … All stories, in the end, travel back to that original. So why not buy them legitimately? Instead of just saying that I was inspired,” explained Kapoor about his take on remakes.
Content drives it all
At 63, he has already spent more than four decades in the industry — he has seen change. And he doesn’t feel embarrassed about the times when he was, in his own words, “down in the dumps”. He believes in content. For him, the business of film is driven by content, more than anything else.
“I have enjoyed every phase. I have always been a content person. I have seen ups and downs, both. And my spirits have always remained the same, and my passion towards my job has always remained the same. So it doesn’t matter to me what the phase today is, or what it was yesterday. If the content appeals to me, I will always go after that.”