Be it a stopover to the hills or the shooting location of his films — Chandigarh is truly like home for this Kapoor. A diehard fan of Pal Dhaba, where his son Ranbir Kapoor frequents when in Chandigarh, Rishi Kapoor takes pride in having seeing the dhaba transform over the years. “I feel happy when the owner tells me, ‘Aapka kaafi yogdaan hai humari growth mein’,” recalls Kapoor.
In an hour-long rendezvous with HT City, Rishi Kapoor candidly answers just about anything we throw at him. A true Punjabi, indeed…
Aayi Bala Ko Taal Tu…
That’s the name of the film for which he is shooting around Chandigarh, about which, he says, “Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharya’s Aayi Bala Ko Taal Tu is a concept film based on the lack of toilet facilities in India, which leads to rapes, that happen mostly when the sun is still up. Toilets are not a luxury, but a facility that women don’t get. The director was a little nervous about discussing the film, thinking that people might perceive it as a ‘toilet’ film.”
Also featuring actors Ram Kapoor, Alok Nath, Divya Dutta, Shilpa Shukla, Shefali Shah and Kainat Arora, the concept of the film was what caught Kapoor’s fancy. “I’m playing the protagonist’s role, that of a corrupt politician. Despite the central government giving grants, the state government fails to provide this basic facility for citizens. We are trying to make a big social commentary on the current scenario,” adds he.
Kapoor doesn’t believe in playing the ‘redundant father/grandfather roles’. He says, “I would rather be home than do that. I have always supported unconventional cinema — be it D-Day or Agneepath — I pick up challenging roles, without thinking too much about audiences’ response.” Kapoor, however, has no time to spare, as he says, “I have about five releases every year. My wife keeps complaining that the son is away shooting in Sri Lanka [for Bombay Velvet] and I’m here!”
The rising son
A lot has been said about Kapoor’s relationship with son Ranbir being ‘not so cozy’. About the same, he says, “There is a wall of respect between us. Media has termed that as just a wall. Ek izzat wali baat hai. Ranbir has respect for his father and I’m glad that he accepts it.” He, however, doesn’t seem to be a fan of his son’s acting skills: “To be honest, I haven’t liked any of his films — be it Barfi! or Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. I liked Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani. I didn’t like Besharam, though all three of us were a part of it. But, it’s okay. Har ball pe aap chauka, chakka toh maar nahi sakte.”
Angry old man
“I’m short tempered, but the temper is also short. Pal me tola pal me massa wali baat hai. I can’t change it; I am what I am; accept it or reject it. I’m not very good with my fans, as I’m not very patient. Kitni photos khichaoge yaar! I am what I am because of my fans, but I can’t take it. I’m not very comfortable with attention. My profession requires grabbing attention, but, in personal life, I’m not that person; when I get attention, I get redundant.”
The fallacy of awards
Just the mention of awards ticks off Kapoor Senior. On a high pitch, he says, “I’ve bought awards myself. These awards are fake. Buying an award doesn’t make me a better actor. It’s a barter system of sorts — instead of paying these award companies, the actors perform for them at the function. Awards only make for good TV content. Even National Awards are manipulated.”
“On March 14, Bewakoofiyaan is releasing, where I’m playing a father’s role, just because it was challenging for me. Then, I have Subhash Ghai’s Kaanchi; I’d be working with him after 34 years. For All is Well, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Asin, I’d be coming down to Himachal Pradesh for the shoot in May this year. There is another film by Sanjay Chehal, where I play a Punjabi father and Paresh Rawal plays a Gujrati father.”