Rishi Kapoor, 60, is not just playing the role of India's most wanted man in 'D- Day', but he is also one of India's most sought after actors. He is still as excited as a school kid while going to work. He has inherited his passion from his father and temper from his family and is proud of his arrogance. He is baffled by where his son Ranbir gets his humility from. He talks to TOI about his grounded wife, gutsy son and why Rakesh Roshan is responsible for his second innings as an actor. Excerpts:What made you play the role of Dawood Ibrahim in D-Day?D-Day
is a patriotic film. Earlier, our freedom fighters were our heroes, then came our farmers who harvested the land with Manoj Kumarrepresenting the patriotic Bharat, we then marched into the war heroes era then we had films with war heroes. Our perceptions of patriotism changed with our problems. Today, terrorism is the big problem which the government could have rooted out but India's most wanted man has now gone into an alien land which does not reciprocate our protocol. So a set of four people set out to bring him back alive as the government machinery has failed to do so for their own convenience.Every Indian wants accountability on what happened and why he was not brought back to the country. I have been selected as he is a humanised character and it needed to be played by an actor. He doesn't look like a Mogambo but has a mind of his own who feels that what he is doing is actually business.You are one of the busiest actors today. How does it feel?
Which actor would not enjoy that? All my life I struggled to get roles. I was a romantic star with the best of heroines to dance and sing with. I remember Kamal Haasan told me during Saagar
, 'Why are you not experimenting with yourself'? I told him, 'I don't have an opportunity to do what you have'. Now is the time I am doing what he told me then. I enjoyed the 25 years of the romantic period as well as now I am happy doing what I am doing today. I am not a star. I like to be respected as an actor. All my life, I have not had the coveted distinction of being called an actor. I was always called a star. I give a lot of credit to my friend Rakesh Roshan in resurrecting my second innings as an actor. He had wanted me to play a one-day part as Hrithik's father inKoi Mil Gaya
. I told him 'Guddu, this is not a good thing. It will spoil designs I have of making my career.' He gave me a few abuses and said, 'Yeh kya age hai career banane ki
?' I didn't say anything to him as he was right in a way. But I was hurt and had decided in my heart that I would prove him wrong. He was the first man to have challenged me. From that time, I have been trying to build my asset value as an actor. Today I don't have the heart to tell him 'ki yaad hai tumne kaha tha ki aise nahi hota
?' A star can cease to be a star, but an actor is always an actor.Are you arrogant?
I have always been an arrogant man. You can't change me. I don't like people who are complacent and incompetent and who say 'chalta hai
'. My arrogance is in my work, my affection, my attitude and on screen when I hold the hand of a girl. It's not there when I have to pray to God or talk to my servants or when I love my granddaughter. I am high-strung and high-energy. My blood pressure is always high and I am always excited to go to work. Diametrically opposite to me is my son. Down to earth, humble. I don't know from where he got these qualities. A successful film makes me happy, a flop makes me sad, but he is oblivious to either and moves onto his next film as soon as one is over. His mother told him, 'Why don't you take me out for dinner? You have a successful film'. He said, 'I will take you out for dinner anyways. What does a successful film have to do with it?' Perhaps he has got his humility from Neetu, or it's probably his own grooming. I am sure one day the Kapoor anger will come to him. Right now, the volcano is dormant.Who are you most attached to today?
Neetu. We are at times foes and at times friends, certainly not lovers but are husband-wife and inherently love each other even though we may keep denying all the time how our love has gone out of the window. I was attracted to her being down-to-earth. If I am flying high, she has the string of the kite. In my glamour and glitz, she was the only source of my being grounded. At the age of 22, she gave up her flourishing career and had Riddhima the same year. Which actress would be able to do that? Unlike me who is a professional actor, she is only having a blast shooting. She is traumatised with the fact that she has to get up at 8.30 to go to work. She is my anchor and keeps me mobilised.How similar are you to your father Raj Kapoor?
I am very triggered by my work. That's what I got from him and it's more than enough. I don't think I have any other traits from him. I wish he was there to see Ranbir's success and his work as an actor. Fortunately, his grandmother is alive and she gets most excited about seeing his films when people make comments on him resembling his grandfather.Ranbir is both a star and an actor.
Ranbir is Raj Kapoor's grandson. I have to remind you that he is Rishi Kapoor's son also. I knew that I am a son of a big father, but now, I have come to know late that I am also the father of a big son. In between Raj Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor
, there is also Rishi Kapoor
who has contributed successfully for 41 years in the industry.Why does it annoy you if you are asked questions on Ranbir's success?
I am his father not his secretary. I am not going to go all over town tom-tomming about him. Neetu and I are not those kind of parents and I am sure Ranbir does not want us to be that either. I feel stupid and embarrassed to talk about the achievements of my son. He is being paid to do that. He is not working for free. He is supposed to work and be successful. Period.As his father, do you have complaints with him?
He needs to give more time to his parents. He needs to eat well. He needs to find a girl to get married. I got married when I was 27, he is 31. We have no reservation on who he wants to get married to but just want him happy. He has made his parents proud and is trying to carry the legacy forward, but only once you get married can the legacy actually go forward. So let it be an issue with him that he needs to have issues.What do you think has paid off for Ranbir?
His patience and his guts are his biggest assets. He had the guts to do a Rockstar
and then Barfi
after Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani
. The whole world came and said, 'What is your son doing? Sometimes playing deaf and dumb, sometimes playing sardar, sometimes having long hair'. And mind you, he was doing only one film at a time. If it flopped, he would be without a job. You need guts to do this. Other actors do one experimental film and four commercial films along with them which they can fall back on. Along with that, you must have belief that this will work, that is an actor. He walked a path that had not been taken. I say this not because he is my son but because he is an actor. I give credit to him for that and that has paid him off. People at traffic lights roll down their glasses and compliment me for his work. Can you imagine how proud a father I may be? No actor has a 100% record and he may falter in the future but what is special about him him is that he is totally detached to success or failure.What do you pray for yourself at 60?
I don't consider age as anything but a number. I have the same passion surely for my work, but I wish I have the same physical and emotional strength to continue going the way I am.