Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh's own film "Shortcut Romeo" released Friday, but he also wishes well for the fate of his close friend, actress Sonam Kapoor's "Raanjhanaa", which released on the same day. Neil feels the movies will mark a new beginning for both of them.
"Sonam in 'Raanjhanaa' is completely transformed. I can see the change in her. I feel it would be like a new beginning for her. It's like what happened to Karisma Kapoor after 'Raja Hindustani' or Shabana Azmi in 'Arth'," said Neil.
Neil and Sonam developed a good friendship ever since they worked together in Abbas-Mustan's "Players". They have kept close tabs on each other's projects since, and even make sure they watch one another's films.
There's a healthy give-and-take of criticism from both ends.
Neil himself feels a similar change in his own work in "Shortcut Romeo".
"Believe me, I've never worked so hard. Because the director Susi Ganesh is completely new to Hindi cinema and Bollywood, I was virtually the one-point stopover for the entire project in Mumbai," he said.
The actor says he served as the hero, the chief assistant, the production co-ordinator and the spotboy on this one.
"My involvement with 'Shortcut Romeo' was so deep that I forgot where the actor was left behind and the all-purpose project coordinator took over. Susi is completely alien to Bollywood. I had to lead him through the entire project. But I enjoyed every bit of it," he added.
Neil is confident of "Shortcut Romeo" in spite of competition from his friend's film, which is already doing brisk business.
"I know 'Raanjhanaa' is a big one. Everyone wants to see the love story between Sonam and Dhanush. So do I. But we are advantaged by our budget. 'Raanjhanaa' is a Rs.30 crore to Rs.35 crore project. We completed 'Shortcut Romeo' within Rs.15 crores although we shot in some of the most exotic spots of the world," said Neil.
Nevertheless, Neil is all for "Raanjhanaa", and even confident of his own film.
"'Shortcut Romeo' was a huge success in Tamil. And we've gone many steps ahead of the Tamil original 'Thiruttu Payale' in terms of treatment and execution," he added.