It's a great feeling. When I was coming back, I met two guys at the airport who said I still looked young.
So please let me clarify that I haven't been conferred this honour because I have become old; it's just that I have been appreciated for the body of work I have done in the last 34 years, and I have accepted it. I have not closed shop.
Yes, I have shut the door on singing songs and romancing girls. Now, the real Rishi Kapoor will emerge. I am as much in love with my work as I was when I first faced the camera.
So you are ready to return with a bang?
Well, I have done Yash Raj Films' Fanaah, and an English film, Don't Stop Dreaming, And there's another film with newcomers, but I forget its name.
Plus, I am in talks for three plum assignments, which are at different levels of committment. I am negotiating a film with Vipul Shah and Mayur Puri (for HMV). I am now on full throttle and want to act 24x7. And I am going to be adventurous, though a lot will depend on what route Indian cinema takes in the coming years.
Why were you lying low for so many years?
I was not getting the right kind of roles. I don't want the typical "khabardar!" type of father roles. I am very optimistic that there will come a time when senior actors also will call the shots. Kids will not be able to play mature roles.
Your film with Dimple Kapadia Pyar Mein Twist bombed. Comment.
There were some cute moments in the film but the basic structure was wrong. There was no reason for Dimple to fall in love at that age, when she was leading a very comfy life. This is the take I got after the release.
Do you work out?
Oh yeah! Recently I was away in Poland, so I didn't work out for a few days. But I am normally at Gold's Gym, doing stuff that my age requires. I am not trying to be like Salman Khan. I am on the fatter side and like to feel fresh.
Is there any conscious effort to lose weight?
Not at all. Agar patla, lamba aur thingna aadmi achcha ho sakta hai, to mota kyun nahin? Thoda khaate peete ghar ka zaroor lagta hoon, but I am not gross.
Why did you stop directing after Aa Ab Laut Chalein?
It's just that I didn't get a script to get excited about. Right now, I am focussing on acting only. But if I find a kick-ass script, nothing can stop me from making another film.
Did Ranbir always want to be an actor?
Yes. He was quite sure of that for a long time. And I felt very proud that he wants to continue the legacy. That's exactly why I sent him to a filmmaking school in New York. Like many actors, he too wanted to start off by learning the ropes of filmmaking.
How did Ranbir start assisting Sanjay Leela Bhansali? Did you use your influence?
He did not use my offices. He took his CV and sat outside Bhansali's office for two hours. He got the job on his own merit and steam.
How did he come to star in Bhansali's film?
Bhansali came to us and said he wanted Ranbir. I asked Ranbir, and he said he'd think about it. We were more than happy when he said yes.
Why didn't you launch him?
I didn't have a subject. I had every film producer and director in India approaching me, wanting to launch Ranbir. As for Sanjay, I think he'll do a brilliant job because his passion for filmmaking is awesome.
What do you think of Ranbir's pairing with Sonam? Who was signed first?
Ranbir was signed before Sonam. But yes, at that point of time, Bhansali was toying with the idea of signing Sonam, who was also his assistant. Sonam is like family. I have seen her grow up.
Will Neetu Singh return to films?
She has refused several offers. But now that Riddhima is married, let's see.
How does it feel to become a father-in-law?
I am 53, and happy to have essayed so many roles in reel and real life (smiles). Very shortly, God willing, I will be a grandfather as well. This is a part of Nature, whose fruits you can enjoy if you are married at the right age.
Riddhima's wedding had the who's who of the industry — but her cousins, Karisma and Kareena were missing.
I called Karisma and Sanjay Kapur, but they wrote to me saying that they were busy in Delhi. I did not call Kareena.
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