The Untold Story of ‘Mr. India’: Anil Kapoor Was Not First Choice

anil kapoor

Director Shekhar Kapoor is known for leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of audiences in Hindi cinema. The film ‘Mr. India’, released in 1987, marked one of his significant hits. It became a milestone in Anil Kapoor’s career and left a remarkable impact. The film achieved immense success at the box office. However, few know that this super hit film wasn’t initially the first choice for its superstar lead, and its script was crafted with a veteran actor in mind.

The blockbuster film ‘Mr. India’, starring Anil Kapoor and Sridevi, was released in 1987 and achieved remarkable earnings at the box office. The role of the ruthless villain Mogambo was played by Amrish Puri, whose dialogues became iconic in the film. His dialogue “Mogambo khush hua” remains etched in memory. Interestingly, it is lesser-known that after more than half of the shooting was completed, Amrish Puri was signed for the film. Moreover, even the lead hero of the film, Anil Kapoor, wasn’t the first choice. This revelation was made by none other than the film’s producer, Boney Kapoor.

Boney Kapoor’s Revelation

In an interview with ETimes, the film’s producer Boney Kapoor revealed that after launching his brother Anil Kapoor as a lead hero in the film ‘Woh 7 Din’ in 1983, he was planning to work with director Bapu again. After ‘Woh 7 Din’, he had heard the story of ‘Mr. India’. The planning was to cast Javed Akhtar, Nares Goyal, and Ramesh Sippy as the director, and Amitabh Bachchan as the lead hero to create ‘Mr. India’. However, things didn’t fall into place. Then, during a conversation with Javed Sahab, it was decided, “Let’s make this film.” After Amitabh’s refusal, the film eventually went to Anil Kapoor, and the rest is blockbuster history.

Creating the Film on a Tight Budget

Continuing his narrative, Boney Kapoor shared that during that time, when big films with top stars were being made with budgets of 1 to 1.5 crore rupees, he managed to create the film ‘Mr. India’ for a budget of 3 crore and 20 lakh rupees. Despite incurring a loss of 80 lakh rupees upon its release, he had achieved fame and success in the first year itself. This is why the film is still remembered today.

Anil Kapoor portrayed a unique superhero character in the film, who becomes invisible when he wears a watch. However, he becomes visible when red light falls upon him. Sridevi’s beauty captured the hearts of the audience. Made on a budget of 3 crore and 20 lakh rupees, the film collected 10 crore rupees worldwide. ‘Mr. India’ became the second-highest grossing film of 1987 at the box office, leaving a significant impact on the industry.

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