Getting Better with Age

Looking dapper, actor Pankaj Kapur relives the fun of acting as he flirts, dances and flies a helicopter in his next film with Vishal Bhardwaj.

In the popular world of make-believe called "cinema", actor Pankaj Kapur will soon appear as Harry Mandola — a boisterous, wealthy and flirtatious old man. The trailers of Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj's next, which releases on January 11, capture some really glaring proofs of it. Cut to his Andheri office, he appears very formal seated behind a

Colonial-style wooden writing desk with neatly laid-out metal pens, stacks of paper and a lamp. Yet, certain things remain common — his mischievous smile and bearded look.

The character of Mandola is mostly Bhardwaj's creation and Kapur has contributed to it quite accidentally. "I had picked up hats and suits from New York that Mandola wears in the movie. While doing costume trials, I had grown my beard since I was not shooting at that time. I had a feeling that Vishal would like that look. And that's what happened. We, however, tweaked the look later on," recalls Kapur. He was working on his directorial debut Mausam when Bhardwaj approached him for the role. Bhardwaj waited till Kapur wrapped up the movie for the process of reading Matru's script and discussions to begin.

Stepping into Mandola's shoes has rejuvenated Kapur, especially after the taxing job of directing a movie. "Directing Mausam took away three years of my time as an actor. So I want to focus on acting for some time now," says the 58-year-old, who declares acting to be his "first love" and enjoys the kick he gets from performing. This also makes him alert and sharp. "When I do some interesting roles, I become more agile regarding my next project," says Kapur. Once he is adequately recharged by acting, he wants to take up direction again. But that's not happening before next December. Till then, it's acting, reading scripts and writing that's going to keep him busy.

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