Anil Kapoor brings his magic from Bollywood to Bloomington for screening of ‘Mr. India’

Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor is one of the brightest stars of Bollywood and is known for films such as ‘Mr. India.’

Actor Anil Kapoor is best known to American film audiences as the crooked game show host in “Slumdog Millionaire.”

But in his home country, he is simply known as “Mr. India.”

Tonight Kapoor will attend a special screening of the 1987 cult classic at 7 p.m. in IU Cinema.

“This film is a very special film,” Kapoor said this morning from Bloomington. “This is more than 27 years back now, and I am still known as ‘Mr. India.'”

In “Mr. India,” Kapoor portrays a poor, selfless man who takes orphans into his home. He faces many obstacles until he discovers a gadget that can make him appear invisible. With the help of the device, he becomes a superhero who saves not only the children but his entire country.

“The character has stayed with the children,” he said. “The children from every generation, every decade keep on changing their heroes, but this film has stayed in the minds of the people. I meet kids who are 5, 6, 7 years old and they still can relate to the film.”

A landmark film

“Mr. India” not only made many careers, but it also changed the way Indian films are made.

Director Shekhar Kapur was “slightly ahead of his time,” telling layered stories with metaphor and depth. “There is a lot that is left unsaid,” Kapoor said.

He said the people making the film wanted to try things that had never been done before. The approach was so different that, at first, no one was sure what they had.

“Making this film was the toughest journey. We went through a lot of pain, and nobody was confident about it,” Kapoor said.

“I remember seeing the first cut. The director and I came out of the screening and we both started crying. I said ‘This is something special.'”

The power of intention

At IU Cinema, Kapoor said he is intent on getting smiles, meeting people and speaking about his enduring film “Mr. India.”

Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor played game show host Prem in ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ Credit: Film 4/Celador Films/Pathe International/The Kobal Collection.

“When you see the film, you will realize that there is a certain kind of innocence, a certain kind of purity,” Kapoor said.

He credits fate, destiny and the power of good intentions for its lasting popularity.

“When you start any project, when you do something — anything in your life — at that time, if your intent is honorable and honest, whatever you do after it will stay for life.”

After tonight’s special screening, audience members may participate in a question-and-answer session with Kapoor. The moderator will be Michael S. Dodson, associate professor in the Department of History and director of the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program at Indiana University.

Free tickets for “Mr. India” are now available, with a limit of two per person. Tickets for all IU Cinema films can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

Kapoor appears with special thanks to the Office of the President of Indiana University, the Dhar India Studies Program, Dodson, Nancy Clensy and Ilana Rossein.

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