Today, Rishi Kapoor turns 58. However, the charming actor has no plans of celebrating his birthday. “What grand birthday plans to make at this age, yaar?” he exults. Nonetheless, he’s enthusiastic about Do Dooni Chaar, his forthcoming film with wife Neetu. Reason: debutante director Habib Faisal was keen to cast him instead of playing safe and opting for a younger, more saleable actor.
After listening to Faisal’s narration of the script, Kapoor recalls having asked him which role he was supposed to play. “I was surprised when he told me that he wanted to cast me as the lead character, Santosh Duggal. I wondered ‘why me?’ because I’m neither young nor saleable,” he says, adding, “Faisal replied that the story was the most saleable aspect and he wanted me to play a 54-year-old teacher.”
The actor was in for another surprise when Faisal suggested casting Neetu for the role of Mrs Duggal. “I told him that my wife doesn’t work in movies anymore. So he approached Juhi (Chawla). But things didn’t work out,” says Kapoor, who then spoke to Neetu about the movie.
“Neetu was like ‘I’ve forgotten how to act,’ despite my telling her that she was lovely in Love Aaj Kal. I insisted she hear the narration first and then decide for herself,” he says, adding that he was as surprised as her when the 15-minute narration stretched to two hours. “But Neetu agreed to act in the film only because she loved the script,” he maintains.
“Teachers shape up the future of the nation, and Do Dooni Chaar looks at how they themselves are subjected to a limited life,” the actor says, not too pleased that the “teachers in our country are not paid too well and nor is education looked upon as a big profession compared to other lucrative careers. The story is told wittily and at the same time the undercurrent has a lot of depth and meaning.”
What makes him more proud of the film is that Walt Disney Pictures chose to flag off their live action movie production with Do Dooni Chaar. “An international studio choosing this film as their first step in Bollywood is a big boost for all of us,” says Kapoor who also has Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House and Hema Malini’s Tell Me O Khuda coming up next.