Anil Kapoor is all set to shoot with the man with whom he started his career 32 years ago in Woh Saat Din -- Naseeruddin Shah. Anil and Naseer will be seen together in Welcome Back.
In the film Naseer plays a blind don, while Anil will once again be seen as mobster Majnubhai, his character from the prequel.
Presently the duo are in Dubai. Before flying off for his schedule, Anil got nostalgic. "This will be my third film with Naseer. The first one was Woh Saat Din (1982) followed by Karma (1986) and then Rajkumar (1996). So we will be sharing screen space after18 years. If Naseer hadn't said yes to working with me at the beginning of my career, you wouldn't be talking to me now. My career as an actor would never have taken off," he says.
Anil recalls, "I made my film debut with a bit role in Hamhare Tumhare, which went unnoticed. When the makers of Woh Saat Din first approached Naseer for the role, he refused to do the film with me in the lead. Then Boney spoke to him and convinced Naseer to do it. You can say Boney emotionally blackmailed him into taking up the film."
Anil recounts that he first met Naseer on the sets of Hum Paanch (1980) where Naseer was already an established actor and he was a lowly assistant director on the sets as it was his father Surinder and brother Boney Kapoor's production. "At the time my job was to pick up Naseer from the airport, give him company and keep him entertained. I have always been a huge fan of his, and I would speak to him whenever I got a chance. Even though we worked together, and we were friends, he was always my senior."
Anil admits that he learnt a lot from the man, "My first lead role as an actor, after Hum Paanch was a Telegu film called Vamsa Vruksham (The Family Tree) in which I was to play a professor. I remember Naseer wrote me a note when I was starting to learn Telegu and that really pepped me up. He told me that acting doesn't need any language and it's about so many other things as well. Naseer said one can learn any language and perform well. He also taught me the tricks to learning different languages – I wrote down in Roman numerals and remembered the sounds in English. Naseer showed me the technique of how kids learn alphabets and picked up the sounds. I was feeling very insecure as it was a alien language to me but his letter pumped me up."
They haven't worked together for almost two decades. Anil smiles, "I am looking forward to meeting Naseer in Dubai. It will be like old times. When we did Rajkumar, things had changed and the whole situation was different. The film wasn't going in the right direction and it was not the best atmosphere to work in so no, Naseer and I didn't interact much at the time. But I am expecting Welcome Back to be fun. It's been 18 years and we will start all over again."
They may have started out on an unequal footing 32 years ago but now when they meet in Dubai they will meet as equals as Anil has become an international star since. He humbly says, "Naseer and I can never be equals. I will always look up to him as I admire and respect him too much."