Shooting for the last 45 days in Philadelphia and New York for Khan's terrorist movie, Neil was required to do a lot of running for the role. In his enthusiasm to run very fast, Neil went on the treadmill a little faster than he should have, with catastrophic results.
Wincing with pain, Neil says, 'I went a lot faster than I should have. To look convincing running on the roads as I'm being chased I wanted to increase my speed. So I was practising very hard on the treadmill, when something gave way.'
Doubling up in pain Neil fell to the ground. Neil told IANS: 'I couldn't move my leg. I thought I had broken it. But it was just torn ligaments. My heart froze because I saw this scenario of the rest of my schedule in the US being postponed. As it is I was homesick and I didn't want to stay away from Mumbai longer than necessary. But if I couldn't walk how would I do all the action scenes for Kabeer?'
The doctors prescribed complete rest. 'Far from running they told me I couldn't even walk for the next fortnight. But I was adamant. I had to get back on my feet and finish the schedule.'
Neil ran on his severely injured feet. 'And not in sports shoes, but boots, etc. So the pain has been unmentionable. On top of it my father who was with me had to return to Mumbai for the Ganpati puja. So it's just me shooting through my pain, and in the evening just me and my television in a lonely hotel room. Fortunately, my parents are coming to join me right after the Ganpati festival is done in Mumbai. I'm miserable about not being home this Ganpati.'
His co-star John Abraham has been giving Neil invaluable tips on how to ease the pain and continue working. 'John has become the elder brother I never had. We gym together and eat together.'
Neil is on an all-fish diet and has lost a lot of weight. 'I've lost too much weight now. When I return to Mumbai I need to put on some weight.'