On April 25, Neil Nitin Mukesh set off on a 20-hour journey to Murmansk via Istanbul and St Petersburg to shoot for Players. Going by his tweets, this sea port located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, is freezing cold. And since it’s in the North Pole, the natural light is shining bright even at 10 pm.
When quizzed on how he was going to cope with the extreme weather conditions, Neil admitted that it would have been easier if he had smoked or guzzled vodka. “I don’t drink but the body’s strong and will adjust to the cold,” he said optimistically.
“What I’m concerned about are the 21-hour days. It will mean longer working hours for us, but anything for the director duo Abbas-Mustaan. I’m going with eye-masks and ear-plugs so I can nap even in broad daylight. The only problem is the snow. I’m so white myself that there will be no camouflage.”
Before leaving on his adventure trip, the actor admitted that Russia has always been special to the family. “My grandfather (singer Mukesh) and dad (singer Nitin Mukesh) have been there on shows. I remember Daboo uncle (Randhir Kapoor) and Chintu uncle (Rishi Kapoor) accompanying them. The locals were crazy about Awaara hoon… and Mera juta hai Japani…. I’m told they still play them at pubs and discos. The Russians may not know too many Indians, but they know Rajsaab (Raj Kapoor) and Mukeshji and I’m proud to share that lineage,” he says.
Would Neil, being a singer himself, croon any of these chartbusters if asked to by his Russian fans? “Sure, thanks to my grandmother I grew up on Mr Raj Kapoor’s movies and he’s one of the reasons I’m in the Hindi film industry today. Fortunately, dad’s accompanying me on the trip, so I will be recognised as Mukesh’s grandson. And if asked to sing, dad can be the front voice and I will give the background vocals,” he laughed.