Neetu Kapoor is basking in the success of her comeback film JugJugg Jeeyo, in which she portrayed the role of a woman stuck in an unhappy marriage. Making a comeback to films was not easy decision for Neetu, especially after the demise of her husband Rishi Kapoor. But her son Ranbir Kapoor and daughter-in-law Alia Bhatt gave her the boost of confidence she needed at the time.
The actor shared, “Since Ranbir and Alia are such fabulous actors, I would ask them for guidance. They would tell me, ‘Just learn your lines and say it.’ They would give me that courage. I was nervous and I would ask them if I could read my lines to them. They would tell me, ‘You’ll be fine.’”
Neetu Kapoor further heaped praise on dauther-in-law Alia Bhatt. She said, “Alia is so uncorrupted and pure, which is nice to see. She is so real. There are moments when she is talking to me and then I realise suddenly that iska dhyaan ab mere mein nahi hai. I ask her, ‘Alia, you’ve left the room, right? Ok, let’s change the topic.’ If you can see that on someone’s face, that is nice. There are people who think something, feel something else and say something else altogether. I am scared of such people.”
The actor then shared how things have changed in her profession over the years, calling it a welcome change. “Things were very different then. Time ka koi hisaab nahi tha (No one kept a tab on time). Since I was young and energetic, I could do three shifts in a day. I don’t think I can do that now. Haalat kharaab ho jaati.
“However, it used to be fun then, even if we had fewer facilities on set. We have done make-up sitting on roads. Saree pakad ke (By holding a sarees as a curtain), we have changed clothes. We used to go to public toilet. We have lived that life. We never had AC. As we used to shoot in hot summers, we would sit in front of fans to make sure that our make-up doesn’t run,” she added.
Neetu Kapoor also recalled how young she was when she started acting in leading roles. She shared an anecdote from her experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan in Yaarana in 1981.
She said, “Those days I didn’t even know what I was doing. People would give me dialogues to say, aur mein bol deti thi (and, I used to just say it). That’s why I had that naturalness because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just too young. I remember once I was doing a scene with Amitabh Bachchan in Yaarana. I think it was some romantic dialogue. As I was saying it, he started laughing. I was 15-years-old and I was saying heavy duty dialogue, and he was laughing. So I asked him what happened, and he said, ‘I don’t think you understand the meaning of the dialogues. Tu sirf bol rahi hai (You are just saying these lines). Teri maa ne bola acting karo jaake, pohcha diya idhar (Your mother wanted you to be an actor, and sent you here).’ I was like, ‘Yeah, really!’ Then I got married at the age of 21. That’s what I started maturing, and then I gave up acting.”
On being asked if she now revisits her old work and if there is a particular film that she doesn’t like and would like to do it in a different way, Neetu said, “Saari buri thi! (All of them were bad!)”
“I find all of them so ajeeb (weird). I was so young back then. I was chhotu (small) and motu (fat). I wonder what I was doing,” she added.
In this new phase of life, Neetu Kapoor wants to work more and keep herself happy. She said, “I just want to keep myself busy. I want to keep on doing something. I want to do work that brings happiness to me. I am not working for fame. At this age, I don’t need to be famous. Fame hai, thoda bohot log jaante hai (I am a bit famous, some people know me). I don’t need money. Ab meri kitni hi zarooratein hai? The time when I wanted things has passed. All that is gone now. I just want to keep myself happy and occupied, which I hope I can do.”
Neetu now has a huge fan following on social media. Videos of her banter with paparazzi keep going viral. On this, the actor said, “My husband is no more. Ghar pe alag sanatta rehta hai (There is lot of silence in the house). So when I go out and meet people, I talk a lot. And that’s what happens with the paps too. They all come and talk. And when I don’t talk, they ask me what happened and how I don’t have anything to talk about. So I tell them, ‘Pucho, baat karo‘ (You ask me questions and talk to me).
“I love every bit of it. I talk because I need to talk to somebody. So I love it when I get so many people to talk to. When they ask me things, I tell them things. I remember their names also now. I know Manoj, Chhotu and so many others. I told them how I have one show now and then I am going to miss them. So, I tell them, ’Abhi jitni baat karni hai, kar lo (Talk as much as you want now),’” she added.
Neetu Kapoor is also thrilled that she has become an “accidental influencer” now. She shared, “50+ age waalon ki influencer ban gayi hoon (I have become an influencer for 50+ year olds). That too accidental. I am an accidental influencer. I don’t know why I am, but it is nice.” When asked if she gets scared that she would be trolled, she said, “Not at all! Trolls are faceless people. I don’t know who they are, so who cares.”
With every passing day, Neetu is discovering a new facet of life. However, she misses the time spent with her husband. She shared, “Hota hai na (It happens). You have a partner for years, and one day, he is not there. He was my constant companion. Your husband doesn’t remain your husband after so many years. He becomes your friend. Gussa bhi karte hai (We used to get angry). We used to fight. But, I found comfort in the fact that he was there. Somebody was there for me at all times in my house. If he would cough, I would listen to him. if I coughed, he would listen to me.”