It is a rare sight to see the Kapoor family together at a press conference so BizAsia were keen to see Ranbir Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor along with Pallavi Sharda altogether at Chak89 for the launch of their upcoming film Besharam۪. This was an opportunity which would truly be an opportunity of a lifetime to see the youngest Kapoor interact with Bollywood legends and his parents. (Scroll down for more photos)
Everybody has been wondering when you will come back in films. What made you come back into films?
Neetu Kapoor: Obviously my family and it was nice script and a very different role for me. It excited me to do the movie and I had this comfort level where my husband was there and my son was there. I really had a blast and enjoyed it.
Were you intimidated by the prospect of working with your father?
Ranbir Kapoor: I think the thought that intimidated me more was when I came on set, my father was such a delight to work with. He is so natural and so effortless in front of the camera that he never intimidated me, he was very encouraging as a co-worker. I never felt as though I was acting with my father, I felt as though I had some real talent in front of me.
Did your father give you any lessons on set?
Ranbir Kapoor: Lots of lessons. I don۪t think he posed any lessons by saying you should do this or do that, he gave me my space as an actor. After over 40 years of acting, he is far more experienced and passionate about acting in movies than me. I think that is something which really motivates me.
What do you think is the message from Besharam۪?
Ranbir Kapoor: Besharam is not the fact that you are embarrassing somebody, Besharam is an attitude. It is listening to your heart and actually following your heart. I think that is why we used the title Besharam. It has the message that koi bhi ghalat kaam karne ka sahi tareka nahin hota. I think that is what we are trying to say, there is no good way of doing something wrong.
Do you enjoy being in London?
Ranbir Kapoor: Absolutely, London is like a second home for all of us. We have been coming to London ever since I was born and my father was telling us coming here that he was seventeen catching a train to come to London. This is a second home and it is such a big market where movies are concerned, you get so much love and support even we are shooting our movies here.
Did you always want to be an actor?
Ranbir Kapoor: I think when I was born, it was taken for granted that I would become an actor but I think growing up in a film family, subconsciously grasping and learning how to be an actor. Once I finished school, I was trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. I could have gone to a business school or an engineering school, I thought it would have been a waste of time. I was really interested in movie making, I aspired to make the movie actually and that is why I assisted Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Black۪. I think acting was just part of the journey.
Between both your parents, who do you think is the better actor?
Ranbir Kapoor: Truly, I don۪t think my mum is the better actor. I think my father is the best actor in the world but having said that, in this movie, my mum is the surprise factor. She performs brilliantly.
To Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor, what was it like working with Ranbir and were you telling how he could do better?
Rishi Kapoor: (to Ranbir) Apni taareef suna cha raha he aaj. (to the press) No, actually I see it this way that we are professional actors and we work as professionals and we don۪t bring our personal lives entangle with our work life. So, it۪s not a big deal.
To Ranbir, in recent films, you have been Barfi, Bunny, Babli, names which are not mainstream hero names. Is the B name lucky for you? Are you ever involved in choosing the names of characters?
Ranbir Kapoor: To be honest, I don۪t believe in what people call luck. I think everyone puts in too much effort and hard work. I like these odd, weird names. They sound rather eccentric_
Rishi Kapoor: (interrupts) I mean, fancy calling me Chulbul Chowtaram! I mean nobody wants a name like that.
Ranbir Kapoor: I think sometimes the curiousity level increases like who would be called Babli? It creates a talking point; I don۪t think it۪s intentional. The directors have always chosen the name, I have never told him for this next movie I should be called something else.
How difficult was it for you to prove yourself as an actor, being the son of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor?
Ranbir Kapoor: I am aware of the legacy that I have to take forward, there۪s no pressure but I see it as a responsibility. Having said that, it was important to me that I made my own identity with my own hard work, my own thought process and my own choices. It does bother me when people refer to me as a star۪s son, he۪s had it easy or he has been born with a golden spoon in his mouth. That۪s fine, I am born with it and I can۪t take that away from it. I am ten films old now and I spent six years in the industry so I am still working hard and trying to find myself and my own identity. I think my parents would be proud to say that they are Ranbir Kapoor۪s parents.
Your grandfather is seen as the great Kapoor. If you could make a remake of one of his films, which would it be?
Ranbir Kapoor: I don۪t believe in remaking a movie and especially my grandfather۪s film, I don۪t think I could ever outdo that. I think that Shree 420۪ (1955) and Jaagte Raho۪ (1956) would be my two choices.
You are an amazing dancer, who do you inherit your dancing feet from, your dad or your mum?
Neetu Kapoor: (puts her hand up)
Ranbir Kapoor: I think it would be a bit pompous of me to answer this one. Thank you so much but I always believe that a lot of people, choreographers and actors have told me that there are many actors who dance to one, two, three, four and get the steps right. I think my father, the way he used to dance with his facial expressions, understanding the music, expressing himself through the song, I think that is something I can learn from.
The film is called Besharam۪. Tell us some embarrassing things you have done in your life.
Ranbir Kapoor: I am pretty shy in real life, mujhe mai bahut sharam hai but I think in front of the camera, there is a purpose and it is important to be besharam in front of the camera. Basically, I don۪ t think I will be removing my clothes again, I did that in my first film, I dropped the towel there. You have to be really shameless in your emotion, the way you express yourself is very important. It is important for the audience have some sympathy with the character. Unless you don۪t express yourself fully, I don۪t think that they will connect so being besharam is very important for that.
To Neetu Kapoor, what is it like being back on screen?
Neetu Kapoor: I am very proud of Besharam. Is mai bahut different role hai, hamara jo hai. So I am sure people will enjoy it.
To Ranbir, what was it like playing a besharam character?
Ranbir Kapoor: I think it was a big departure from the kind of roles I have done. I have usually done the roles of coming of age young boys who fall in love and all that. This was a little bit larger than life. Babli was over the top, a little bit repulsive so it was hard. It was important that I had a lot of confidence and self-belief and the director had this in us.
What made you become the character of Babli?
Ranbir Kapoor: It was from the script and the director۪s vision. When you are with your co-stars and the director, day by day, you create a character. It is a new genre for me and I hope people accept me in this masala movie.
How much pressure do you think you face for your films to do well?
Ranbir Kapoor: My job as an actor is to act and be an entertainer. Once the film is done, it is up to the producer prerogative, how many prints to release with, whether the film reaches 100 crores or 200 crores.
Pallavi, what was it like working with the Kapoor family and what did you learn from them?
Pallavi Sharda: I was given an immense opportunity to work with the entire family and the one thing I took away was that being a Bollywood star is one thing but being an amazing actor is one thing but the humility and grace with which they presented themselves on set, with which they approached me and my work was amazing. I am a new person in the industry and I am very junior to them but they treated me as a fellow actor and I think that humility is something I would like to have in my own life and admire that.
I learnt something new everybody. I learnt what it is like to be on the set, I learnt how much effort goes into making a film and I think somewhere I became a little bit of my character. My character Taraa is this very grumpy and ziddi girl who becomes a bit more loveable after meeting Babli and I am a sort of grumpy ziddi girl sometimes so I have learnt to be a bit more vulnerable.
What is your procedure before choosing a movie?
Ranbir Kapoor: It has always been the same for me, it has been instinctive. The script has to feel real and the character has to feel real. With Besharam۪ considered, I really liked the simplicity of the story, a simple family entertainer without it being preachy. I think after I okayed the film, I think the director just wanted to cast my father, at that time my mother was not in the picture. So one day when he was at my home and was speaking to my father about the movie, he saw my mother. When he was leaving, he came to my room and said I have this great idea, I would split that character into two people, Chulbul Chowtala and Bulbul Chowtala۪ and that is how the film was casted.
In this film you have a Punjabi dialect, did you have to do some training for this?
Ranbir Kapoor: It is a Hindi movie and not a Punjabi film so it wasn۪t like I was speaking Punjabi dialogues. The tone was of a Delhi boy from the streets so there were certain words and certain pronunciations which you work on.
To Rishi Kapoor, how do you think Bollywood films have changed in terms of scripts and stories? Do you think it has become too commercialised?
Rishi Kapoor: You know when I started my career, that was way back in 1972, even then people used to complain and we had the media asking these questions. This is a question that has happened over the years and will continue to happen. We are evolving and we are changing, for better or worse, I am not saying but we are. I would like to think positive and say that we are making films technically much better. You see good photography, good sound, good theatres, you have plush air conditioning. It never was in my time. Mai soochta hon ke mai sawa doh rupee mai hero bana, (to Ranbir) yeh sawa dorso mai hero bana. This is how inflation has taken place.
Yes we have lost our content value. We have very few films that offer anything to the society as a social message. These things do need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I only wish that we make better music and in the music, you hear better lyrics. You can actually understand what he is saying. Hamare waqt mai, there was something to say, something to express. Kuch aise shabdh hote the that I could make a picture in my mind from those lyrics. Today I cannot remember songs, there is no shelf life in the music. It doesn۪t last. The big blockbuster songs that you hear, you hear for the first three months and then there is another song replaces it so you forget that. These things are bad but we have to accept that.
Was there anything in Besharam۪ that was too much or that you couldn۪t do it?
Ranbir Kapoor: Not at all. He isn۪t afraid of insults and he is not greedy for respect. I think that is a great way of living. It is not about doing anything to embarrass somebody else, it is a family entertainer so the attitude is besharam. He is somebody who is dil se Romeo, jigar se Rambo. It is a very simple, happy go lucky character; there was nothing embarrassing about him. Dropping the towel in my first film was the most embarrassing thing I have ever done and that crossed the line.
Do you think your family have helped teach you how to act?
Ranbir Kapoor: I believe that you can۪t teach acting, you learn how to act from your life experiences. Your emotions come from your experiences, if you have lost someone or if you have had your heart broken, you learn from these things. After I finished school, I assisted on the sets of Black۪. I learnt everything from there, watching Amitabhji and Raniji acting, Bhansaliji was acting, how the sets were made, how the music was made, I think I learnt more there about films. The only advice I can give to someone who wants to make it in the films business is to assist a director and learn from them.
Rishi Kapoor: What you can learn from the practical, you can۪t learn from the theory. It is as simple as that.
Pallavi, being an Australian desi, what is the reaction to Bollywood films overseas?
Pallavi Sharda: I have dreamt of being a Bollywood actress since I was two years old. That was from watching films with Neetuji and films like Chandni۪ (1989) were one of my favourite films. I used to walk around the streets of Melbourne with a bindi on my forehead and a dupatta on my head and think that I was Sridevi. In Lamhe۪ (1991), I thought Pallavi was her name because of me. I was the delusional Bollywood obsessed child. I think Bollywood had a big part to play in our identity and our consciousness and gave us an idea of what it was like to be in India as we had no concept of it. I am very appreciative of it and most Indian Australians at least, use Bollywood and the Indian cinema at large as a means to connect with the homeland that they have never been a part of. It is the same for the UK. Bollywood has become the mainstream now and when I was younger, I used to dance to Hindi songs like Mehndhi Lagake Rakhna and I didn۪t know what was being played on the radio and was a bit of an outcast at school as I didn۪t know who N۪Sync was.
I think that is changing now and there is a lot more cross over and there are more promotions being put in place between India and Australia and in other countries as well. It is slowly globalising and it is a good thing that it is doing so as well.
This year marks 100 years of Bollywood and the Kapoor family have played a big part in this. If you could give a tribute to this, what would it be?
Ranbir Kapoor: I think good work and continue doing that and be responsible towards the legacy that I have to carry forward. That is all my family asks of me.
Rishi Kapoor: I am very proud to say that of those 100 years the film industry has achieved; the Kapoors have had contributed 84 years in cinema. My grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor started in the year 1929 as a junior artist.
BizAsia wish the ‘Besharam’ team all the best for the upcoming release and look forward to seeing the Kapoor family on screen together. The movie is slated for release on 2nd October.
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