The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 8 , 2010
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Subtle and suave
Anil Kapoor in 24

His subtle portrayal of a progressive Muslim head of state in popular television series 24 has earned Anil Kapoor rave reviews in the foreign media. 24 has been on air in India for two weeks. Here’s the AK-24 performance rated and reviewed…

Importance of role

Kapoor plays Omar Hassan, the president of a fictitious country Kamistan. In the US to broker peace, the educated and liberal Hassan finds himself at the receiving end of a foiled assassination attempt, engineered by his own brother and close political adviser Farhad and his head of security Tarin Faroush, who is in a relationship with Hassan’s daughter Kayla. With his name appearing third in the credits, just after Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kapoor makes an appearance from the first episode itself. The attempt on his life triggers the plot events and carries the story forward. As the FBI headed by Sutherland’s Jack Bauer swings into action, Kapoor’s time on screen gets limited, but he does keep popping up at vantage points in the story.

Hassan’s personal life also comes into focus in 24 — he is shown cheating on his wife Dalia and having an affair with American journalist Meredith Reed.

Screen presence

In his three-decade-long Bollywood career, Kapoor hasn’t ever been accused of being a poor actor. And 24 is no different. Even when in the presence of experienced Holly actors like Sutherland and Freddie Prinze, Jr., Kapoor stands out. “It’s a painfully standard 24 part, yet he owns each scene he’s in,” says an American reviewer.

Assured and confident, the Slumdog Millionaire man brings the same conviction to his character as he has done in countless Bolly films before. Sharp suits, a pair of smart spectacles and a firm walk and stare define Kapoor’s suave Omar Hassan. Also, critics are raving about Kapoor’s “incredible head of hair”!


24 is only my second English language project and I found the language a little difficult in the beginning,” Kapoor had told t2 at the start of the show. The discomfort with language and diction is evident in Omar Hassan, as Kapoor struggles to mouth the lines, alternately stumbling over a few words or swallowing them completely.

Co-star chemistry

Kapoor shares maximum screen space with Cherry Jones who plays US president Allison Taylor. The interactions between the two are friendly and affable, yet professional.

The staid and pragmatic Hassan reveals a different side when he interacts with his ladylove, ever-smiling with a mischievous glint in his eye. And no, there are no steamy scenes between the two!

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