Rishi Kapoor is the original lover boy of Hindi cinema. Early in his career, films such as Bobby (1973), Khel Khel Mein (1975) and Rafoo Chakkar (1975) helped popularise that image. In his extensive career, he has proved his versatility as an actor as well. Recently, his role as the affable grandfather in Kapoor & Sons fetched a lot of praise from both audiences and critics. We recently caught up with the veteran actor at the iconic R K Films & Studios for a chat.
Are you very particular about the films you choose at this stage in your career?
I have created a monster for myself with the role in Kapoor & Sons, because I am not getting another role of that calibre now. I have a film titled Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi with Paresh (Rawal) and myself as the leads. Recently, I was approached for a Pakistani film; it was the sequel to one of their biggest hits. I heard the story and found it interesting. Now, of course, it is not possible to act in it. The situation was ironic.
What’s your take on the ban on Pakistani artistes?
They (the Pakistani actors) had official work permits granted by the government of India at that point in time. I understand the problem now, and they even refused to denounce the Uri attacks, for which I am a little upset. I hope this is resolved as soon as possible. We cannot afford to escalate or do anything that is unbecoming; it could be fatal to both the countries. Henceforth, I can understand if the government tells us to follow something. But we can’t ban the films that have been already made, because there is so much money involved. Like I mentioned, I was offered a Pakistani film, but I will not do it. My country won’t like me to do it. And I am a proud Indian. If Pakistan is a terrorist state, I don’t want to be a part of them.
Remembering you,Yash Chopra! pic.twitter.com/7MHNIOWxUf— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) October 21, 2016
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ranbir’s (Kapoor) on-screen chemistry in the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil trailer is being appreciated by audiences. Have you seen the film?
Both of them are looking lovely and the audience is looking forward to the film. Karan Johar (film-maker) makes movies with so much passion, just like the way the late Yash Chopra (film-maker) did. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I love the music.
What are your views on Ranbir’s choice of films?
One has seen that he has done films off the curve, and has also been appreciated for it. It is credible that he has set that trend. It is not only about taking up easy subjects. You must do something that is content-based.
What quality of Ranbir’s do you admire the most?
I admire the fact that he is passionate about his work. Usko apne kaam ka bohot shaukh hai (He loves his work). He gets into the skin of his characters. He is involved in the craft. No actor in the world has a 100% success record. Everybody is going to have ups and downs. I know the boy had hit a bad patch. His films didn’t do well. That happens with everybody. But I am happy that tomorrow, if I am without work, he will [be able to] support me. I will have a shelter over my head and food to eat. He will be able to look after Neetu (Singh; wife) and me.
A lot has been written about his personal life. As a father, does that bother you?
He is not denying it, nor do we deny it. He is a celebrity; he will be in the news. People will write about him. People wrote about Neetu and me when I was not even married to her. This is the price you have to pay if you are a celebrity. The media is bound to chase you, and might write wrong things about you too. There is so much of yellow journalism.