He’s the man with the never-ending smile and incredibly groomed moustache. We’re talking about the Slumdog Millionaire, 24, Mr. India, Beta, Mission Impossible, Ram Lakhan film star, Anil Kapoor (and there’s still like 50 more films we could add to that impressive list).

Anil Kapoor TIFF

Anil Kapoor – debonair, eloquent, charming and funny. The actor was in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox recently to discuss his super stardom over the past 25 years, and his shift into international cinema via Hollywood.

(On a side note, how cool are film critic Richard Crouse’s striped socks in the photograph above?)

On how he feels about a film being a hit or a miss:

“I just go to sleep. I wake up in the morning. Go for my shooting. I give a good shot, and I forget about it. I move on to my next.”

On his conscious decision to do films like Lamhe, an intergenerational love story that would be unpopular with audiences but remains an iconic film:

“I had to do it. I took this conscious decision, that if I have to go on until 2013, I have to think about the longevity of my career. Because of films like Lamhe, I became known as an actor, as well as a star, which brought the role in Slumdog Millionaire.”

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On the role of Prem in Slumdog Millionaire becoming a very personal role:

“I came from humble beginnings and I’ve become like Prem. I became a huge star.”

On mentoring Dev Patel (who we love on the HBO TV show, Newsroom) on the sets of Slumdog:

“He was young and a newcomer, and intimidated.”

Surprise! Even Anil Kapoor gets pegged as exotic:

[On the sets of Slumdog] “They all loved to hear me speak. ‘Anil, once more, can you say that: What a player!’ The way I would say, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ They would say, ‘The way you say it sounds very exotic.’ My bad pronunciation is sounding very exotic!”

Far from exotic to us, Anil reminds us of Bollywood films from our youth and spy thrillers from the future. We’re excited to see what the actor has up his sleeve next – we hear he’s acquired the Indian television rights for 24, in which he’ll play the celebrated role of Jack Bauer. He’s also working on Cities, a film with Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dundst expected to release in 2014.

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We remain ever enamoured by his broad moustachioed smile.

 

With notes from Amanjeet Kaur Chauhan. Photography Courtesy: Toronto International Film Festival.