Rishi Kapoor Interview: I am getting great work and enjoying it
The veteran actor will soon be seen in Umesh Shukla’s slice-of-life film 102 Not Out also starring Amitabh Bachchan.
Seasoned actor Rishi Kapoor is gearing up for the release of his forthcoming film 102 Not Out. There are many things which make the movie very special. First, it brings Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan together after a massive gap of 27 years. Second, it revolves around a son and his father who are 75 and 102 respectively. Recently, our correspondent, Mohnish Singh, met the veteran actor for an interview at a sea-facing hotel in Mumbai to know more about the movie. Excerpts…
You are playing a 75 years old man in 102 Not Out. How do you feel about getting such roles at this point in your career?
I am very happy to tell you that I am 65 and running 66 this September and I have no qualms about it. I don't think I have had a better period in my life than this. I am enjoying every bit and moment of it. I am getting great work and enjoying it.
What makes you so passionate about acting?
I am made that way. It doesn’t take anything to be passionate, either it’s there or it’s not. I am very fond of acting. People are asking me why I am not directing, I say, I don’t have time. I have so much work as an actor, where do I direct? Direction takes a lot of time. I have so many characters to play in my life. I have got so many things to do.
How was your look achieved in 102 Not Out? How much time would you spend getting ready? Were there any prosthetics involved?
Prosthetics work was only in Kapoor & Sons, it used to take me 6 and a half hours daily for the makeup and I did that for 24 to 25 times. So, I used to sit at 6 AM in the morning for it, get done by 12 and then go on set and shoot till 8. It was 14 hours shift for me, and it used to take another one hour to remove the makeup. All this you can only do when you are passionate about something. I am that kind of person who can’t sit for 5 minutes at one place, I am very impatient.
A creative mind is very impatient, it’s not stagnant, but here because I am developing myself for my character, this process was an excitement for me. We relied on prosthetics because I had to look 90 in that film and at the same time little funny also, because he is a very endearing dada, because when you see that film everyone is fighting in that film so my character gives relief in the film, so the director had come to a conclusion that my character should look cute and funny. As far as 102 Not Out is concerned, I haven’t used prosthetics.
How was it to work with Amitabh Bachchan after a huge gap of 27 years?
It is a well known fact that it is always a pleasure to work with him. He is a great actor and very disciplined megastar. I feel I am a student of cinema and I learn from my juniors to everyone in the team. We have done 6 films together, but what’s one thing I like about him is the way he flirts with his character and gets into it. He actually romances with his character and that I have learned from him. It’s such a delight to work with him. You always want to give your best, because he gives the best.
What kind of roles you want to play now in films?
I don’t want to play a father of any hero or heroine, I am over it. I am too expensive to work in that. I want to do characters, be it small or big. I look for characters to play. I try my level best to look different in every film. I make all my characters different, there is no Rishi Kapoor in that.
What do you have to say about actors going overboard when it comes to promoting their films?
One actor started this nonsense promotion by going to everyone’s house and every media was asking to see his film and that became precedent for everyone. I remember Ranbir had gone to some promotion and he walked in at Prithvi theatre where I was there to attend a function with Mr Bachchan. He asked Ranbir where had he been, to which Ranbir said that he went for a city promotion of Bombay Velvet. Amit Ji said, that we didn’t have the budget for Piku promotion, first day no one came, but the second day it was like a fire. What was he trying to say agar picture mai dum hai to chalega. What happened to Bombay Velvet? It was a wash off; nobody went to see that film on the first day itself. So I said Ranbir what Amit Ji said was right. The film works on merit. Somebody has to break these shackles. Promotion increases the cost of the picture which nobody understands.
But promotions do help in drawing the audience on opening day?
What that Sweety Ki Trooty Frooti (Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety) had to draw? Who went to see that film first day? The argument is totally wrong. This is a fallacy, agreed the crowd will come the first day for the actor, but if the film is not good, they will be disappointed. My film with Ranbir called Besharam had earned 21 crores on the first day, but the second day it was down to 6 crores. How do you explain that? Content rules, promotions will never help you get business.
Do you feel that you were not given your due as an actor in your heydays?
Yes. I will tell you the reason behind it. I feel it was my fault; I never got the critics and audience to like me by doing something different. I was only romancing the heroines, running around the trees, singing songs in Ooty, Kashmir, and Switzerland. I was only wearing jerseys, they used to call me sweater man all over the world, and I never got roles, never got characters to play, whereas my contemporaries, they got all kinds of roles to play. I am not complaining that I did 25 years of romance at a stretch; I may not be the biggest star of the country. But I was always among the first 5 stars of this country. I am very happy that I lasted for 25 years. A lot of people have said that no actor right from Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna to Amitabh Bachchan survived nonstop for 25 years. Of course, today all Khans have done it because it’s much easier. I never got credit as an actor and it’s my fault, I never gave my audiences the reason to like me, what I did was only sing songs.