Rishi Kapoor speaks about his journey in Bollywood, how things have changed and about working with Amitabh Bachchan after 27 years.
He is impatient and loses his cool over most things, but if there is one thing that’s indisputable it is that veteran actor Rishi Kapoor has one-of-a-kind screen presence. He has been part of some great films like Bobby, Amar Akbar Anthony and Chandni among others and says he will continue to entertain audiences for as long as they want him to. Rishi will next be seen in 102 Not Out with friend and colleague Amitabh Bachchan.
Is it a conscious effort to look different in each of your films?
I try my best to look different in every single film. I am not looking for any praise, but the media does not seem to have realised that I have never played Rishi Kapoor in any of my characters. I always take on the character of the role I play. I don’t want to do regular father roles. Besides, I am too expensive for such roles. I only want to play solid characters.
Did you at any point feel unappreciated as an actor?
Yes, and that is entirely my fault. I never gave the audience and critics anything to appreciate me for. I was only romancing heroines, running around trees and singing songs. I never played any solid characters, whereas my contemporaries got all kinds of roles to play. I am not complaining, though, because I got 25 years of romance and I lasted 25 long years. Today, of course, all the Khans have done it.
Do you think you are getting more interesting roles at this point in your career?
Things have changed immensely today. The audience in the 80s and 90s were very forgiving. Today, the audience has changed and they want better cinema, better theatres and good technology. Technologically and content wise, too, we are improving. In our day, there was no way a film like Barfi would have worked. No chance at all. Because audiences have changed, their choices, too, have changed. Because of Mr Bachchan, actors of my age are still getting work. Otherwise, actors used to retire once they hit 45. Hindi films used to be made with only young actors.
Do you also feel it’s tough for actors to come up with a variety of roles constantly? The audiences have become so demanding.
That’s why I always say only a good actor will survive. If you are mediocre you are washed away. The audience is obviously going to demand good work, so you cannot serve mediocrity to them. These days, instead of going to acting institutes, actors go to the gym first. What has bodybuilding got to do with acting? What has horse riding got to do with acting? Amitabh was such a huge star but did he ever take off his shirt?
Films are aggressively promoted these days unlike in the 90s. How do you think this helps the films?
If one person does something different and it is successful, then that becomes the trend. One actor went to everyone’s house and said come and watch my film and that became a trend. How much money and time is wasted. Do you think audiences are stupid? Your content is going to be driving the film and not because you promoted it so hard. Because there are PROs, it has become a business. You waste `10 to `12 crore on promotions and that has to be recovered so it becomes top heavy. In the end, content has to rule.
What did you learn from Mr Bachchan’s style of working?
It’s too late to learn anything. He is such a pleasure to work with as he is a very disciplined actor. I would like to believe that I am a student of cinema and this time we connected after 27 years. This is our sixth film together. The way he flirts with his character and gets into the skin of it is commendable. He romances his characters and I have learnt that from him. He is also very modest and it’s a delight to work with him.