By Dhiraj Kumar
National Award-winning film producer of Hindi cinema, Boney Kapoor has transformed himself into a national filmmaker with hardly any parallels. Beginning his career as an assistant to prolific film editor Kamlakar Karkhanis and film director Shakti Samanta in the 1970s, he has become one of the biggest names in the Indian film industry today. Known for big budget productions, Boney Kapoor has defined his filmmaking with extraordinary genius. His extensive filmography of four decades consists of gems like Who Saat Din, Mr. India, Judaai, Company, Pukar, No Entry, Wanted & Mom have helped shape the contours of Hindi cinema. He expanded into the southern film industry by producing blockbuster films, Nerkonda Paarvai (2019) in Tamil, releasing Vakeel Saab (2021) in Telugu, and has the most awaited Valimai ready to break Tamil box office records in January 2022. His deep interest in south Indian films is not new and cannot only be attributed to his megastar wife, Sridevi Kapoor, whose terrific career started as a child artist in 1969 in Tamil cinema and then she went on to conquer the Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam film industries as the numero uno actress before sweeping Hindi cinema. Kapoor’s distinguished understanding of cinema has kept his feet firmly established in the top three film industries of Indian cinema.
Under the guidance of his father, prolific producer Surinder Kapoor, Boney Kapoor forayed into film production with the Hindi film Hum Paanch (1980), a remake of the Kannada film Paduvaaralli Pandavaru (1978) which in turn was a remake of the Telugu film Manavoori Pandavulu (1978). The success of the film energized Kapoor for his next production, Woh Saat Din (1983) was the remake of the Tamil film Andha 7 Naatkal (1981) which depicted the life of an aspiring singer.
Boney Kapoor’s career breakthrough came with the gigantic success of the Hindi original film Mr. India (1987) starring his later wife Sridevi and his brother Anil Kapoor. Mr. India was remade into Tamil as En Rathathin Rathame (1989) and as Jai Karnataka in Kannada (1989). Foraying into the horror genre, Boney produced and presented Raat/Raatri (1992), a Telugu-Hindi bilingual film of a family which moves into a haunted house. Exploring the bilingual genre further, he produced the Telugu-Hindi crime film Drohi/Antham (1992) covering a love story of a gangster.
Remaking the blockbuster Tamil film Velai Kidaichuduchu (1990) as Loafer (1996), Kapoor continued his association with south Indian films and produced blockbuster Judaai (1997) with Sridevi in the lead as a greedy woman who sells off her husband in return for cash. The film was a remake of the Telugu hit, Subhalagnam (1994). His next success came as a remake of the emotional Tamil film Kadhal Kottai (1996) as Sirf Tum (1999) with his brother Sanjay Kapoor in the lead.
After winning the National Award for Best Film for National Integration for the original Hindi film Pukar (2000), Boney Kapoor produced the superhit Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000), a remake of the Telugu film Pelli Chesukundam (1997) which was a daring story of an acceptance of a rape victim in society. He launched the daughter of he-man Dharmendra and dream girl Hema Malini, Esha Deol, into Hindi films with the ambitious Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe (2002), a remake of the Telugu film Pelli (1997).
Sridevi forayed into film production with ‘Sridevi Productions’ with Boney Kapoor as co-producer, remaking the Telugu film Anthahpuram (1998) with an equally strong Shakti: The Power (2002), a story of a non-resident woman who feels trapped in her husband’s household. The next year, Kapoor produced Khushi (2003) remaking the romantic comedy Tamil film Kushi (2000). Co-producing with Sridevi again, Boney Kapoor remade the Tamil film Run (2002) with the same name in 2004.
Producing the biggest hit of 2005 in Hindi cinema, Boney Kapoor remade the Tamil comedy hit Charlie Chaplin (2002) as No Entry (2005), a rib-tickling comedy featuring a diverse star cast. Punching another blockbuster film, Kapoor undertook the remake of the Telugu hit Pokiri (2006) and released Wanted in 2009 to great success which gave a lease of life to the career of Salman Khan and kickstarted the era of cop movies in Hindi cinema.
Working with his son Arjun Kapoor for the first time, Kapoor co-produced the remake of the Telugu film Okkadu (2003) as Tevar (2015) with his brother Sanjay Kapoor. The script was a dramatic story of a couple who elope to protect their love from a gangster. His remake of the Telugu film Bommarillu (2006) was delayed by a decade and released in its Hindi version as It’s My Life (2020).
When Sridevi had worked with Tamil superstar Ajith Kumar in his guest appearance in the Tamil dubbed version of English Vinglish (2012), they had discussed the prospect of working together for three films, an understanding which remained unfulfilled due to her sudden demise on 24th February 2018. As a dutiful and loving husband, Boney Kapoor revisited the pious understanding to fulfil his wife’s wish to work with Ajith. He produced the powerful remake of the Hindi film Pink (2016) in Tamil as Nerkonda Paarvai (2019) on the subject of sexual harassment and the power of consent with Ajith. Remaking Pink in Telugu, Kapoor associated with producer Dil Raju and released Vakeel Saab (2021) amidst the Covid-19 pandemic which became one of the only few films to do well at the box office in 2021.
As the country awaits the release of most anticipated Valimai, slated to release on the occasion of Pongal 2022, Boney Kapoor has his bonding with South India stronger than ever before and his grip tighter on Hindi cinema. Foraying into acting, Kapoor is playing the role of Ranbir Kapoor’s father in an upcoming untitled film. He gears up to work with Ajith again post Valimai, is currently producing the magnum opus Maidaan with Ajay Devgn, also plans to remake blockbuster Hindi film Badhaai Ho (2018) in four south Indian languages, he is also producing the Hindi film Mili (remake of Malayalam film – Helen) staring his daughter Janhvi Kapoor and will expand his empire with fresh OTT projects.
(Dhiraj Kumar is an author, writer and columnist based out of Mumbai. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at his Twitter profile @authordhiraj and his website www.thedhirajkumar.com)