Anil Kapoor was born to producer Surinder Kapoor and homemaker Nirmal Kapoor. Anil made his film debut as a lead in 1980 Telugu film Vamsa Vruksham. Prithviraj Kapoor was a distant cousin of Surinder Kapoor and after a few films, Anil finally landed a lead in Hindi film Woh Saat Din.
When I started my career I felt the biggest disadvantage for me was my surname 'Kapoor'. I decided that I will do what no other Kapoor is doing. I decided I will not do 'Kapooriyat'. I thought I will make my own place first. I used to meet Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, M S Sathyu and Mani Ratnam. These were the filmmakers who used to make real and serious cinema. I wanted to create an image of a serious actor, a thinking actor. Which I am. I knew I didn't have the strength to be a conventional hero, but my strength was that I could play characters. I had the guts and was ready to fall flat on the face. I was ready for people and critics making fun of me," the 62-year-old actor said.
Anil said that actors who were “filmy”, looked down upon in the 1980s, which is why he wanted to play conventional roles. “I felt if I started doing those films which people feel are typical, I won't be able to survive. The films which all the Kapoors do, they are excellent in them. Nobody can do what they do on screen. The films Prithviraj Kapoor Sahab, Raj Kapoor Sahab made, the work Shammi uncle has done, the choices Shashi Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor made and now what Ranbir is doing, it all comes naturally to them. I knew I didn't have that charm. So, I decided to go the thinking way and create my own path. I started doing serious films and character roles. At that time being filmy was looked down upon. But then I did 'Mashaal' and 'Meri Jung' and slowly I became confident. That's when I decided to go the filmy way, which I always wanted to.”
The actor added he still feels the need to be relevant. "After every decade, I feel that before people start telling me that I'm doing similar roles, I should shift my gears. Many of my choices have failed, but the risk I took was fruitful. When I sleep I never dream of becoming a star. I see the characters in my dream. I never wanted money, big houses or stardom. I always knew if I will do good characters, people will love me. That has been my key for longevity for so many years," he concluded.