By Debayan Mukherjee
Today:- Kolkata, Feb – Known to call a spade a spade, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor has pulled up authorities for confusing filmmakers on the issue of casting Pakistani actors post the terror attack on the Uri cantonment in Jammu and Kashmir last September.
In a candid interview to IANS on the sidelines of the just-concluded Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, Bollywood’s “Chintoo Uncle” said it was unfair to suddenly ban artists from Pakistan and there should be a cut-off date on such diktats for film productions to fall in line.
The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA) had banned Pakistani actors, singers and technicians from working on Indian films in the wake of Uri attacks and the volatile situation in Kashmir.
“Films are not planned in one or three days. It takes time. You can’t say that you’re going to ban a picture,” fumed Kapoor, who acted with Pakistan star Fawad Khan in his last hit “Kapoor & Sons”.
“You’ve been working for the last six months. These are unfair rulings and bullying tactics. You must give a cut-off period. It gives us time to finish our films and henceforth we will not take them.
“Sometimes some skirmish happens in the border and your whole thinking goes wrong. Sometimes you shake hands and say go ahead. You’re confusing your country, people.
“Either you shake hands or don’t shake hands. Why does Modi have to go to Pakistan and shake hands when you know skirmishes will happen,” Kapoor said picking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan in December 2015 to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan actress Mahira Khan fell victim to the IMPPA ruling when she could not promote her debut Bollywood flick “Raees” with Shah Rukh Khan here.
Kapoor recently received a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Kapoor & Sons”, a story of a dysfunctional family where the 64-year old actor plays the grandfather.
“‘Kapoor & Sons’ for me is like I have created my own Frankenstein, my own monster. Now, whichever film is narrated to me, I reject it because I want it the same way,” the romantic hero of the retro era said.
Talking about his autobiography “Khullam Khulla”, the actor, who had won a National Award for his debut role as a child artist in “Mera Naam Joker”, said it was always difficult matching the steps of Amitabh Bachchan during his heyday.
“In my book, I have always tried to put myself down and talk about my weaknesses, losses and failures. I have just been as honest as I can. There are things I don’t need to say but I have said also. It’s like a confession box statement,” said Kapoor, who is known for his blockbuster films like “Bobby”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Hum Kisise Kum Naheen” and “Karz”.
“There’s a wrong notion in people’s minds that actors’ children have it very easy. We don’t have nepotism in our industry. There are so many cases where actors’ sons and daughters have failed also. It’s only about the first film where you are launched. After that, you’re on your own.
“Like (father) Raj Kapoor is not because of (grandfather) Prithviraj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor is not because of Raj Kapoor and (son) Ranbir (Kapoor) is not because of Rishi Kapoor.”
Kapoor said his struggle started after he got stardom.
“My struggle was after I got stardom. I had to survive in an action-oriented arena.
“The whole era of films changed after the entry of Mr Bachchan in 1973. For me, it was an ordeal to battle the Angry Young Man (as Bachchan was referred to).
“I have always been struggling to match the strides of the Angry Young Man. For me, it was difficult to survive as I was only doing musicals. Others were doing action films.”
(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org