True confessions: Rishi Kapoor gets candid about his colourful life

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True confessions: Rishi Kapoor gets candid about his colourful life

Published: Mon 27 Mar 2017, 4:53 PM

Last updated: Wed 29 Mar 2017, 11:54 AM

We are taken aback when an actor with 45 years of solid showbiz experience and one who belongs to an acting dynasty dating back nearly a century, talks about being nervous ahead of his show.
"To tell you the truth, you know it's the first time I'm doing something like this on stage - talking about my life. I am anxious over how the audience is going to react (to my show) and how they will accept me on stage," reveals veteran actor Rishi Kapoor who will be performing at 'Khullam Khulla with Rishi Kapoor' at the Dubai World Trade Center, Hall No 1 this Friday.
His anxiety is understandable though, considering his claim that this is the first time someone is enacting his or her own autobiography. "It's going to be a no holds barred, candid revelation. Yes, I'm going to tell it all like it is," promises the actor who is known for his outspoken demeanour and brutally honest views.
The actor's Dubai show, the first in the series, comes close on the heels of the release of his autobiography Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored.
The title of the book is apt considering his brazen, bold outlook towards everything in general. Khullam Khulla,  he tells, was inspired by the lyrics of a hit song from his 1975 movie Khel Khel Mein. The content takes a leaf out of the actor's colourful past - his experiences (good or bad) in the film industry and at home.
This, apparently is a first for the Kapoor clan. Rishi  has written at length about growing up in a celebrity family home, the pros and cons of being the son, nephew and grandson of legends (dad Raj Kapoor, uncles Shammi and Shashi and granddad Prithviraj Kapoor). "Raj Kapoor was not only my father but guru too. He taught me everything I know today," said Rishi about his dad, regarded as the 'Greatest Showman' in the Indian film industry.

Frankly speaking
On stage, Rishi promises to be honest. His session, he tells us, is going to be peppered with anecdotes about his impulsive and brash youthful days and the many mistakes of his life.
"It's the first time anyone is ever going to be enacting his autobiography. I am going to be talking about the journey of my life. I promise you it's going to be different, unlike anything you've seen (on stage)," the actor vows.
"I am going to be as brazen as I have been in my book. I have so many tales to share with people. Some funny ones, some nostalgic and some tragic ones too," Rishi tells City Times.
A heartthrob of the  '70s and '80s with hits like Bobby and Amar, Akbar, Anthony, Rishi is among a handful of actors of his time who have successfully reinvented themselves and made an impactful comeback. Case in point, his award-winning performances as Rauf Laila in Agneepath and a grandfather in Kapoor & Sons. Considering Rishi has so much acting left in him and as he says, 'I have  still a long way to go', why did he decide to come out with an autobiography so early in life?
 "I wouldn't say it's early. I'm 65 years old yaar. How long am I going to live? Well I can write part two if I can. There's so much more I have to say. So much I have done in life and so much more I have yet to accomplish in life. I haven't yet touched the tip of the iceberg. I still have to have win the hearts of all my fans. I've got to work very hard and do a lot of movies."
Playing the brat
Coming from a very affluent family gave Rishi access to luxury and influence like no other. So much so he even bought himself a prestigious film award when he was much younger.
"I was an absolute brat. You can write that down in capital letters. When I started out as an actor I was spoilt. You know, I was just 21 years old -  young, naïve, stupid and brash. I was spoilt for money, stardom and fanfare. I'm going to reveal all about it in my show. Not that I regret it, but looking back, I feel I shouldn't have done what I did.
 There was a time when Rishi suffered a nervous breakdown following the failure of Karz in the '80s, so how would the veteran handle a flop today?  "That's all past me. I don't get depressed at all now. It can happen to anybody - especially if you are sensitive and emotionally vulnerable."
The actor ends his candid conversation by asking his fans in Dubai to come for his show because as he says, "It going to be different. Like no other show."
How Rishi took City Times home
I was on my way from Georgia to Mumbai last weekend and had a stopover at Dubai Airport when I spotted a full page promo of my show in City Times. I was so excited to see it that I took a copy of the newspaper back home to show to my wife (Neetu Singh).
I do not make creative decisions for Ranbir: Rishi
Is your son Ranbir trying to build on your image as romantic hero?
Ranbir's on a different curve. He's totally on his own. If you look at his career graph, he has done all off-the-curve type of films. Right in the early part of his career, he had decided that he was not going to be your baseball cap wearing typical hero. He wanted to do a variety of characters  - like Barfi, Rocket Singh, Rockstar etc. He has worked hard on his roles and hasn't taken the easy route out.
What (career) advice do you give Ranbir?
Nothing really. He does not ask me for any advice as far as his career is concerned. Moreover, I do not want to interfere in his creative decisions. Kids these days are quite capable of making their own choices.

On new actors vs yesteryear stars
Rishi feels that the floodgates have opened up for the younger generation, in terms of opportunities and learning. "In our time, we learnt through our experiences and etched out characters accordingly. Today's actors are very smart and tech savvy, and well informed too. They have more access to information than we never had in our days. Due to this, they research their characters much ahead of facing the camera. I don't think they need to go to any acting school these days. They also shape their bodies as per the requirement of their roles - like putting on a six-pack. However, I have a piece of advice for them, along with physical exercises they should also learn how to work on their facial muscles (meaning expression). Emotions are something totally lacking in many of them. They just don't know how to emote in front of the camera."
On nepotism in the industry
Life was not as easy in the industry as many people think, Rishi says. Living up to the expectations of coming from a famous family was a struggle.
"In fact, I'm going to open my show with a talk on nepotism. I want people to know that coming from a famous family does not make their journey easy. As a matter of fact, star kids carry a lot of baggage. You don't expect the audience to accept you just because you are a star kid, there are so many star kids who have been rejected over the years. To be successful you have to have talent. Merit counts a lot," Rishi retorts.
"Belonging to a star family will only give you your first break. That's all. Yes, I may have not slept on streets or gone hungry, but my struggles were of a different kind. It started the day I joined the industry. I had to a battle and work hard to keep my stardom intact. Now that's not an easy thing," he adds.

Amit Kumar in Dubai
Rishi's show also features Amit Kumar, son of the legendary Kishore Kumar who has sung most of the hit songs from Rishi Kapoor's movies. Expect Amit to evoke nostalgia on stage as he sings Rishi's hit numbers.
On the rains in Dubai
"We get to see a lots of rain in Mumbai," he laughs as he tells us whether he enjoyed the downpour here. "But having said that, I must tell you that I have an Arab friend from these parts who used to come to Mumbai for an entire month just to enjoy the rains. And now it seems, the monsoons have shifted to Dubai. I heard it snows here as well. I guess it's something to do with global warming and the climate around the world changing. I don't know what it's going to be like in the future. But I don't think I can do anything to help the environment. I can only do what I know best  - cinema."
Event details:
What: 'Khullam Khulla with Rishi Kapoor'
When: Friday, March 31
Where: Dubai World Trade Center, Hall 1
Time: Doors open 7.30pm, show starts at 9pm
Tickets: Dhs250-125 from

By Michael Gomes

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