In the build up to the release of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and the controversies being generated in association with it on a daily basis, one thing has been forgotten that the onus of providing the initial box-office pull for the film to a large extent would rest on the charisma of Anil Kapoor. If there ever was a character who epitomized the chutzpah of the slums and the devil-may-care attitude Anil Kapoor sort of patented the same, and no wonder the choice of being associated with a film that tends to juxtapose the existentialist dilemma of a slum dweller in the present context has found its moorings in the choice of Anil Kapoor as the anchor of the film.
Anil Kapoor indeed is the real representative of the street-smart boy from the slum boy who does not have the gumption to succeed by all means, and this was manifest from the very first film that he enacted this role i.e. in Yash Chopra starrer MASHAAL. As a matter of fact Anil Kapoor has had two distinct character portrayals in his oeuvre so far, one as a simpleton which got it's founding from WOH SAAT DIN, and second as a street boy representing the struggle of slums. While MASHAAL was not a super hit it established him as a character of the spade, and its accentuation came with a force with TEZAAB, and it was followed by a series of films on the same genre.
Be it RAKHWALA, KARMA, YUDDH or RAM LAKHAN the films of Anil Kapoor, which were a box office success, had the quotient of setting seeped in the milieu of slums. Credit also goes to Anil Kapoor for popularizing the lexicon of the street, and his most significant contribution was introduction of the term ''JHAKAAS'', which he did with aplomb in YUDDH.
While the unshaven look has become the motif of youth of these days as also an in-thing it was Anil Kapoor who had introduced it with gusto through series of films, and for his characters that he portrayed, the unshaven look was not a fashion statement but it was a symbol of protest. Dilip Kumar in MASHAAL commented upon the same thing to him also. It was this performance deeply hued with the nuances of the street that contributed in making NO ENTRY and WELCOMES such big hits.
With so strong affinity with the slums of Mumbai through his performance over scores of films, it would indeed be Anil's call and his fans which would decide the fate of the film in a big way.