Annu Kapoor says stars didn’t do TV due to ‘snobbery’ | Web Series

Crash Course, an upcoming web series on Amazon Prime Video, stars Annu Kapoor in a pivotal role as a ruthless businessman who will make life even more difficult for Kota’s engineering aspirants. The actor is far from his character in real life, as he revealed to us in a recent chat. The veteran actor, who has been working in the entertainment industry for over 40 years, also spoke about the surge of the popularity of OTT platforms in recent years, and why actors who were once shy of working on TV are wasting no time in making their debuts on the streaming sites. (Also Read| Annu Kapoor on 10 years of Vicky Donor: The producers just wanted to highlight Ayushmann Khurrana)

Crash Course follows the life of eight new students who have come to study in Kota’s two biggest, rival coaching institutes. Annu Kapoor plays Ratanraj Jindal, who, like his rival Arvind Batra, is hell-bent to gain complete control of the education business in Kota. Talking about his character in a conversation with Hindustan Times, Annu said, “He’s very conniving and wants to possess every institute existing in Kota. He is a ruthless businessman, and a greedy one. He may be having his own logical motivations, but that is what Ratanraj Jindal wants. He thinks that three generations of his family have contributed a lot to this Rajasthan city, so this city should be called RJ Nagar, which are his initials instead of Kota.”

While Ratanraj Jindal said in the trailer that he wants number one student, and ‘can’t tolerate’ number 2, Annu despises number game in real life. The actor, who is a father to four children, said, “I know the number game is very very important…But this phenomenon called No. 1 and No. 2 have done great harm to the entire civilisation. As far as I am concerned, I have told my children to work hard and harder. My daughter recently informed me that she has stopped college. But yesterday she messaged me and said her teacher or Vice-principal informed her unofficially that she has topped not only the college, but the Mumbai University as well. But I never imposed anything on them.”

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Annu also addressed Crash Course’s comparisons to the acclaimed series Kota Factory, which also followed the life and struggles of the students in Kota. He said that while he knows a lot about Kota, which used to be a big industrial town when he was a child and his parents used to live just a two-hour drive from the city, he had no idea about Kota Factory. He said, “I don’t watch films, TV, OTT; I don’t listen to the radio, and I don’t watch news channels or newspapers…Crash Course is the story of these 8 boys and girls, their dilemma, their fun, life, passion, success, romance, and whatnot. Two days ago, I asked the youngsters in the series what they are talking about a similar kind of show, and they informed me about it. I have no idea, I only know Crash Course.”

When it comes to studies, Annu himself excelled academically and scored 93% on his 12th board exams. Looking back at his unfulfilled dreams, Annu said, “I was not interested in acting, I just wanted to do IAS. I wanted to serve my country in a very direct and practical manner. But I am in this entertainment field, and I am one of those idiots who takes my job very seriously.” Also Read| Annu Kapoor recalls rejection in Barry John’s play despite being top scorer: ‘I was mentally disturbed’

Crash Course is not Annu’s first tryst with OTT, having previously appeared in Paurashpur. He used to shuffle between films, televisions, radio, and theatres even when it was unexpected for film actors to switch to TV. Talking about the recent change in the industry where even leading stars are making their debuts on OTT, Annu said, “Initially, there used to be certain snobbery in the upper echelon of the so-called Hindi film industry. They will not work for television. But money talks and bull**** walks. All the people, icons from Bollywood, will have to come, because of money, and exposure. So they all came to television, and they will all be coming to OTT. And they will be seen doing some kind of pranking and dancing and all kinds of serious buffoonery on social media platforms. On Instagram, you can see that they are dancing like bafoons because they get money. Nothing wrong, as long as you are getting money without harming anyone, stealing, or betraying your country. That’s fine, I work for money.”

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Annu added that he also works for money, and many a times, had to do a project even if he did not like the content. He said, “I feel frustrated from the inside, but what can I do? I have to run the kitchen, I have to look after my family. I am not Amitabh Bachchan, or Shah Rukh Khan, or Salman Khan, I am just a very small, struggling actor, even after 40 years. And in this country, nobody is bothered about how talented or dedicated you are, as long as you are handsome, and you have done a couple of films as a hero. It’s fine.”

We asked about the changing times in the entertainment industry these days, where stardom can’t guarantee success and content is king. Annu said that the same was the case earlier as well, but the public didn’t get to know about it as the media wasn’t as powerful as today. However, he doesn’t agree that stardom doesn’t amount to anything nowadays.

When asked about Kareena Kapoor’s recent statement to PTI, where she said that stars are on their toes, the veteran actor said, “They (stars) have earned, they have played their innings and they will play. Believe me, all these OTT channels will still grab Kareena Kapoor to play. They will first approach Kareena Kapoor and all these heroes, they are celebrities and they are sellable.”

The veteran actor further explained, “Even OTT will do that. Once you have become a hero, you will be a hero your entire lifetime. But even on OTT, there’s no guarantee of their success. Those who are sitting on top of OTT, with due respect, have come from the ad world– who want to show everything within one minute. In the ad world, you have to sell those things which don’t have quality. You try to sell a false world. And I think even cinema is that way. In cinema, you ask an actor, who is a person, to be unreal to portray a character, but to make it seem real.”

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Crash Course, directed by Vijay Maurya and written by Manish Hariprasad, also stars Bhanu Udhay, Udit Arora, and Pranay Pachauri among others. It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on August 5.

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