Posts tagged HABIB FAISAL
Neetu Singh talks about her comeback in the movies, getting slim to inspire her husband to follow suit, and how she’s still best friends with Zeenat, Shabana, Rekha and Hema
• You did a blink-n-miss appearance in Love Aaj Kal. What makes you come back with a full-fledged role in Do Doni Chaar after 30 years?
Kuch decide nahin kiya tha. In fact, I had decided I won’t do it. I have been refusing films for years. The entire credit goes to the director of Do Dooni Chaar, Habib. My husband (Rishi) was very keen that I should hear him out. Habib simply bowled me over with his narration.
• Were you nervous for the first shot?
I won’t lie. I was nervous on the first day. I even spoke to Ranbir about it. This role is so unlike my personality. I love dressing up and here I was playing a middle-class housewife. I was asked to cut my nails, put oil in my hair and have a choti.
Ranbir explained to me that I should go with the director’s conviction and I’ll be fine. All these years I have been telling Ranbir what to do, and here he was advising me. It was such an experience. When Ranbir finally saw the film, he sent me a text message saying that ‘Mom, you are so cute in the film’. But you know what (pauses)
Do Dooni Chaar is not a comeback per se for me. I am not going to start signing up movies left, right and centre. I didn’t decide to take a break. I was working from the age of five till I was 21 years old. I don’t like a very hectic lifestyle. I am a very laidback person.
If in the future there is a film, then it mostly has to be with my family only. I must relate to it. Like I did in Do Dooni Chaar, where I play a middle-class housewife who runs her house within a certain budget.
• How can you relate to that? You married into a very rich khaandan, and had everything at your beck and call.
Yeah. But deep down, I am still a very middle-class housewife. Thanks to my roots. I think twice before I buy something. I bargain. I don’t indulge in wastage, maybe hence I am often fighting with my servants. Riddhima is just like me. She is not a spendthrift. Those values have gone into her and I am very proud of that.
• How have you maintained yourself so well?
I wanted my husband to lose weight. And I started reading and telling him what to eat and what not to eat. But he is so bindaas and happy-go-lucky. I imbibed so much from those readings that I started adopting all the measures. I think I can write a book on ‘How to get slim’. Today, I go to the gym everyday and even do kickboxing. I feel so fit, and that’s so important.
• How much has shooting for a film changed from your times?
Lots. You have vanity vans. I come from the times when we did our own make-up on the roads and changed clothes in somebody’s house. Of course, after requesting the house owner! And then most of the time, there was no dubbing or sync sound. And today, there is so much of preparatory work going on.You have bound scripts, hamare time pe lines were written on tables kept on streets.
• Are you in touch with your contemporaries?
Very much. All the time. I meet with Zeenat, Shabana, Rekha and Hema, we talk for hours. There were no bad vibes in those days. Rekha used to help me do my make-up.
• And today’s heroines can’t stand each other…
I don’t know what’s wrong. It’s pretty strange. I think it’s become too competitive.
• Competition existed even then. Tell us, how did you hold your nerve amidst top stars like Hema, Rekha, Rakhee, Zeenat, Parveen. What was going in your favour?
My age. I was the youngest in that lot. The male actors opposite me were 12-15 years older than me. They all used to mother me. Rishi Kapoor was the only one around who was my age. Dimple was a big star after Bobby, but she got married. And I was the only girl who suited him. There was no choice. I was the only girl who was known, else Rishi would have had only newcomers to work opposite him. Think of it, I think at least 20 girls debuted opposite him in his entire career.
• The average career-span of an actress has reduced from your time. Do current actresses have it in them to sustain longish runs like Hema, Rakhee, Rekha and Zeenat?
Well, Rani has been around for long. Ditto for Kajol. So, I don’t think that’s a problem. Among the newer lot, I think Priyanka Chopra is doing very well for herself and she is going to be around for a very long time.
• You have had your share of ups and downs. In hindsight, how would you rate your 30 years as a housewife?
I see these years as very fulfilling. I have two beautiful kids. I have a very good husband and lovely in-laws.
• No rules laid down by the Kapoors?
People think like that, but that’s not the case. The Kapoor khaandan is very humorous and carefree. It is also wrong to believe that they don’t let their girls work. Like Riddhima herself never wanted to get into movies. On the other hand, Ranbir wanted to be in films ever since he was five.
• Do you get ruffled when so much is written about Ranbir’s work and personal life?
Not really. The media has become very strong. But he is handling everything very well. He is quite intelligent.
• Speaking of media, a story recently reported that your neighbours are unhappy about the renovation of your house. You were making a preview theatre or a studio here.
We are not making a studio or a preview theatre. I am not going to let outsiders into my house. I am not building a theatre per se, which would hold premieres. I see no reason why anybody should object. I am not breaking any BMC rule. It’s just a home theatre we plan to have. And you see, my house has become old, wiring etc has gone awry. Have I no rights to live well?