She's in shape, smiles spotaneously and is considered the perfect housemaker. A star wife yesterday, she is a just a week away from becoming a star mother, with the release of Ranbir Kapoor's Saawariya. Cut to Neetu Kapoor in conversation with Nilufer Qureshi
Have you seen Saawariya yet?
Yes, and I'm elated. I saw it yesterday I knew my son has been in perfect hands. Now I'm no longer stressed or nervous. Now, I'm proud. I'm essentially very shy about interviews, especially on TV Once there was hardly any media around, today the scenario is so different.
On screen, is Ranbir more like Rishi Kapoor (Chintu) or you?
Honestly, Ranbir doesn't copy anyone, he has his own style. But I have to admit that his voice is more like his grandfather's (Raj Kapoor). I can confidently say that Ranbir is very talented. As far as dancing is concerned, Ranbir definitely has rhythm which is extremely important.
Is Chintu anxious? (Laughs)
He's very hyper, he calls me every five minutes from Chandigarh where he's shooting. I have to reassure him that I loved the film and it'll be fine. He will see Saawariya only at the premiere.
Have you been visiting temples and fasting for your son?
(Smiles) I'm doing everything a mother would.
Are you surprised with the stories of Ranbir's link-ups?
I don't think they are true, the girls are only his friends. Everyone gets written about and anything is news. At home, we don't discuss the stuff written about Ranbir anymore.
<b1>Would he tell you if he fell in love?
(Laughs) Yes he would. A few years ago, he excitedly told me one day, "Mum I am in love." Did he confide in you about his heartbreak over the girl he liked? Oh yes! When he was going through it every morning I'd ask, "Are you okay? How is your heart?" He would smile, "Mum I'm doing fine, I'm much better, don't worry He's very emotional."
The one absolutely untrue news about Ranbir?
That he hit someone on the road. Ranbir is the most peace-loving boy you can know. He doesn't even get irritated. So how can he hit anyone?
With Riddhima married, do you hope to become a grand mom soon?
I had Riddhima nine months after my marriage. I was very naïve. These days, kids know their minds. Riddhima and her husband want to wait. He travels a lot because of his work, he wants her to be with him. I guess it's also because they hardly had any courtship. They married very soon. She's here with me, she's very excited for her brother.
Have you ever thought of making a comeback to the movies?
Not really. Chintu (Rishi Kapoor) and I were offered a film together. He had even said yes. Then I became busy with Riddhima's wedding, I don't know what happened to the project.
Actually, I would love to make a comeback with my husband because I'm comfortable with him. I would not like to go to the studios alone. I've been so deep into my family that I need them around all the time. One thing's for sure, if I do a film now, I don't want to be a typical mother.
Any regrets about turning down Jaya Bachchan's role in
Kal Ho Naa Ho?
(Smiles) I wasn't ready to do films then. I regret not doing it. Not only because it was a terrific role but because I missed a chance of working with Karan (Johar) whom I adore.
You're always smiling. Is that for real?
Oh, really? I can't sulk or put on a sullen face. I believe if you have a problem then solve it. If you're fat, do something, instead of whining. If someone irritates me, then I just cut off that person from my life.
Really, you can't be happy in an unhealthy atmosphere. I don't like people who are like complaint boxes. I'd love to work again but not at the cost of making anyone feel neglected.
You said you married too early. Was it a tough call at the age of 22?
I could have waited for a few more years and matured mentally. Frankly, I didn't have a mind of my own. Sometimes, I wish I had done a few more movies. Today when I'm asked for autographs, I wonder whatever for?
There's really no movie of mine that will be remembered. Anyway it's all turned out fine. How much longer could I have worked? Two three years and then what?
<b3>Have your views on marriage changed over the years?
Nope, they're the same. Marriage is for keeps. The romance may fade but it's for keeps. Priorities change but the love remains.
Is your husband your closest friend?
Yes. I've been married to him for 27 years now, I knew him for five years before that.
About 10 years ago, your marriage nearly hit the rocks. Whom did you turn to then?
My kids stood by me throughout. I realised how strong I can be. I could have fallen apart but I stood my ground. Life returned to normal. It was just a mid-life crisis. Every marriage goes through difficult times, ours was no different.
What lessons did you learn?
None. Every phase simply makes you stronger.When Riddhima went abroad to study for the first time, I cried for 10 days. The second time, I cried less.
And I didn't cry at all when Ranbir went to study abroad. It's not that I love Ranbir less. Obviously, I had become accustomed to my children leaving for long periods of time. I was weak and scared, today I'm not.
How's your relationship with your in-laws?
If I had been fake to them, they would have seen through me. If I have a problem with any one of my in-laws, I sort it out immediately Why let a problem fester? My mother-in-law treats me like a daughter. There's no typical
friction at all. Reema, my sister-in-law, has been a friend even before I got married.
What about your nieces Karisma and Kareena?
Aren't you a role model for fit housewives?
Am I? Honestly I don't work out and eat healthy to look good. That's simply for my old age. I do yoga and work out religiously. Even if I've had a late night, I don't skip my workouts. Ranbir has also started eating right, he's completely off junk food. Riddhima is like me too, fanatical about living right.