How Rishi and Neetu made Ranbir Kapoor’s first interview happen!


In the Newcomers’ Race of Diwali 2007, the media’s focus was mostly on Ranbir Kapoor. He was the son of Bollywood’s adored couple Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, a good looking hunk, and the newest kid on a block whose old boys were the Khans even then and a gentleman by the name of Akshay Kumar. But Sanjay Leela Bhansali, in whose film Saawariya the young actor was making his debut on November 9, 2007 – yes, ten years ago, had issued a fatwa forbidding Ranbir from giving media interviews. It extended to his Saawariya co-star, another star kid, debutante Sonam Kapoor as well. But I cannot remember there being a clamour to interview Sonam even though she was Anil Kapoor’s daughter. The media was content to play her against the third runner in that race – Deepika Padukone, the Kingfisher calendar girl, model and daughter of badminton champion Prakash Padukone, whose own debut was on the same day with superstar Shah Rukh Khan in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om.

As the editor of Bombay Times, I rightly figured the way to do Ranbir’s first interview would be through his parents. And sent my star reporter to interview them on their son’s grand debut. Hoping that Ranbir would be part of this chitchat and the subsequent photo session. He was. The following are excerpts from that interview:

Did acting choose Ranbir or did he choose acting being a Kapoor? 

Ranbir: I think it was a blend of both. I was passionate about acting and being born into a family like ours, I guess acting chose me.
Neetu: He was always into checking out his face and enacting dialogues from his father’s films, always the entertainer at birthday parties. I always knew that acting is what he would choose later on.
Rishi: I didn’t really know how and when Ranbir would become an actor or whether RK Films or someone else would launch him. In fact, after seeing Devdas, I was reminded of my father’s work and told Neetu that this is one director who would do justice to Ranbir. Those were prophetic words that came true with Sanjay launching him in Saawariya.

Whose mannerisms did he adapt?

Ranbir: I’m too new to answer this question as I have to still wait for the audience’s verdict on me. I’ve been exposed to my parents’, my grandfather’s and great grandfather’s works. My father’s a natural actor, without a particular style. Physically, I look like my mom, though my voice is like dad’s.

Rishi: I’m an actor without mannerisms and I would hate it if Ranbir had any either!

Neetu: He doesn’t have a body of work yet. Ranbir’s not like anyone else.

If Raj Kapoor were alive today, who would have launched Ranbir?

Rishi: Sanjay, because Raj Kapoor made heroine-oriented films!
Ranbir: Raj Kapoor.
Neetu: I think they’re both right.

How would Rishi and Neetu define their respective film careers?

Rishi: I have a body of good work and I look forward to doing good roles which are hard to come by.

Neetu: I have forgotten how to act

Rishi: What are you saying? Acting is like cycling. Once you learn, you can’t forget.

Neetu: I am so out of it, I will never be able to get back. Maybe for Ranbir, I may just try and remember my craft again!