Veteran actor Anil Kapoor and celebrated filmmaker Anurag Kashyap say they have left behind their tense history of unfulfilled projects to come together for Netflix movie AK vs AK.
Before he became widely popular with films such as Dev D, Gangs of Wasseypur series and Netflix series Sacred Games, Kashyap wanted to make two movies -- Allwyn Kallicharan and Grant Hotel -- with Kapoor, the versatile and commercially successful star of Hindi cinema.
Both the projects couldn't materialise due to factors that were beyond their control, but it complicated their personal equation as Kashyap admitted he used to blame Kapoor for the films not getting made.
"When you don't understand what happens within the industry and behind the scenes, then it takes time to get over it. There were two-three years when I used to think about it and I would blame him that, 'because of him, my film didn't get made'. You say such things and feel like that," Kashyap told PTI in a Zoom interview.
The 48-year-old director said his views changed after he became a producer himself and realised how taxing it was to green light a project.
"Initially, it is like, 'I have an idea and it is great, so somebody must make a film out of it and people must believe in it.' But it doesn't work like that. There are a lot of other factors that happen," the filmmaker, who has backed films like Shahid, Udta Punjab and The Lunchbox, added.
Kapoor said he always believed in Kashyap's talent and it was he who had approached the director for a collaboration.
"I came to know about him from the time when he was starting his first film (the unreleased Paanch). I saw the first cut of his film and I loved his work. I think, somewhere there is a wrong impression that he pursued me to do his film. But that's not true. It was me who asked him to do a film."
The 63-year-old actor said he could understand what Kashyap must have felt when the films were shelved as he has himself suffered such setbacks during his initial days in the industry.
"I have also gone through this many times and I know the feeling when you are like, 'because of this person, the film's not happening.' It might be a director, producer, actor or someone else. You go through these kind of feelings and I could understand what he was going through."
Kapoor said he never discussed about the friction between them he was sure Kashyap will "come around the way I have come around in my career in the past".
This history between the two stars certainly finds a mention in the Vikramaditya Motwane-directed AK vs AK that pits Kashyap against Kapoor in a clash of egos.
"We have come together not as director and actor, but as two actors, two sides of the same coin with a film called AK vs AK. And nothing can be better than Vikram directing both of us. So I think it's better late than never," Kapoor said.
The film, which will stream on Netflix from December 24, follows Kashyap, the brash film director who kidnaps popular movie star Kapoor's daughter Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and films his search for her in real-time to present it as his next blockbuster.
The director and actor constantly mock and criticise each other throughout the movie and they had also had a fake showdown when they presented the film's trailer at a press conference earlier this month.
Kashyap insisted he was fine with being criticised by Kapoor on the screen as he has become used to it due to the incessant trolling he faced on social media over the years.
"I became comfortable a long time back because I have had a lot of trolling and criticism for the kind of films I make. So I'm pretty used to it. These days, I get very emotional when someone praises my work. I become a character from a Sooraj Barjatya movie," he quipped.
Kapoor asserted that he is not "delusional" about his stardom and credited his family for keeping him grounded.
"I'm very fortunate in that space in my life where I know that I'm not delusional... I have tried my best to be as real and if not me, it is my family, my wife and my children who have kept me completely normal. Sometimes people say 'you should behave a little bit like a star'."
Roasting each other during the film's making was fun for the two actors as they could be an "exaggerated" versions of themselves.
"We enjoyed talking bad about each other. We were like, 'You say this about me and then I will say something else about you'. It was kind of a jugalbandi (duet) where we were trying to say things, which people might actually take for truth but that isn't the case.
"We were just playing the exaggerated versions of Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap," the actor said