'Where are the roles?'
Rishi Kapoor wants to sink his teeth into a meaty character
Subhash K Jha
Singer Lata Mangeshkar once said that Rishi Kapoor was the most talented member of the illustrious Raj Kapoor clan. In his latest film, David Dhawan's Yeh Hai Jalwa, Rishi delivers one of his spontaneous, straight-from-the-heart performances that made him the darling of the masses in the 1970s.
Dhawan's comedy sees Kapoor playing father to illegitimate son Salman Khan. Kapoor says, "I wish filmmakers would come forward with more such roles. Where are the roles today? Milta hi nahin hai aaj kal [I do not get them these days]! Screenwriters in Mumbai have nothing exciting for actors above 40. All of them want to make youthful films. There is nothing wrong with that. But what about the generation of actors who came before the youth brigade? We are very competent actors and roles suited for us should be written."
He grunts at the conventional father-uncle roles. "I do not care about the length of my role. But it should make a difference to the story. Give me meaty roles and I'll sink my teeth into them!" The actor has a string of hits to his name, including Bobby, Karz, Khel Khel Mein and Nagina in the 1970s and 1980s.
"I am waiting for roles like the one in Yeh Hai Jalwa. A couple of offers have come my way but they did not excite me. If I am appreciated in Yeh Hai Jalwa, it is because the role has been written well."
Last year, the actor appeared in two films --- Rahul Rawail's Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi and Ajay Devgan's debut production Raju Chacha. He claims he did not enjoy doing Raju Chacha. "I did it only because of my relation with the Devgans. I did not get my dues as an actor. The media never spoke about my talent before. But that does not mean I was not around."
Kapoor had made his directorial debut in Aa Ab Laut Chalein (starring Akshaye Khanna and Aishwarya Rai), for his fathers banner RK Films two years ago. But he has no plans of directing another film. "Until a story inspires me, neither my brother Randhir (Kapoor) nor I will direct a film."
About his children, Ranbir and Ridhima, Kapoor states that his 19-year-old son may join the film industry. "My son was named after my father, whose name was Ranbir Raj Kapoor. Ranbir is undergoing training for acting. He is taking diction and dancing classes. He is also working on his body. He may do a bit of theatre before facing the camera. I suppose he will be ready to act in a couple of years."
Rishi agrees his nieces Karisma and Kareena are doing very well. "But Ridhima is not interested in an acting career. Both my children have studied abroad. Ridhima has done a course in fashion designing. She can look for a job now if she so wants."
The veteran, who received only one Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Raj Kapoor's Bobby), turns 50 this September. "But I will not celebrate my birthday this year. I wouldn't want people to know," he chortles.