From his choices in films to the ‘much speculated’ love life and plans of co-producing films, actor Neil Nitin Mukesh talks about all that matters withAnkita Kanabar
(This interview was published some time in the first week of September 2012)
Being the grandson of legendary singer Mukesh, and son of celebrated singer Nitin Mukesh, one could have expected that his debut and rise in the Hindi Film Industry would have been an easy affair, if not a cake walk. But that wasn’t to be. The legendary background and the famous association only made the rough much bumpier for this blue-eyed boy. Recalls Neil Nitin Mukesh, “Since I belong to such a known family in the industry, it brought a lot of goodwill, and made it easier for me to approach filmmakers. But that doesn’t get you work. ‘Log chai pilaenge, koi kaam nahi dega’. People didn’t take me seriously, because they were like, ‘Singer ki family se hai, yeh actor kaise banega?’ It was a lot of struggle before ‘Johnny Gaddaar’ happened. I was offered two scripts – ‘Johnny Gaddaar’ and ‘Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na’ and my heart picked ‘Johnny…’”
In fact, adds the actor, “It actually took me six months to convince director Sriram Raghavan that I was Johnny.” Currently busy with the dubbing of his upcoming film, ‘Shorcut Romeo’, he will be heading for the filming of Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘David’ in Ireland. An excruciatingly packed schedule for the actor, but Neil isn’t complaining. In fact the mere suggestion of work gets the actor excited and animated at the same time. Talking about shooting films back to back, he says, “Oh, it’s been a little tiring, but nevertheless, extremely good. All the three films belong to different genres. While ‘Shortcut Romeo’ is a romantic thriller, and an out-an-out masala entertainer; ‘3G’ is a psychological thriller. ‘David’ of course is a period drama. The feel and look is different, even the characters are unique.”
The method actor, however, makes no bones about the hard work and preparation each of the character has demanded. “Each role has been challenging, and has demanded a lot of background work.”
For now though, ‘Shortcut Romeo’ seems to be the priority since the film is gearing up for release. The film stars Ameesha Patel and Puja Gupta in lead roles alongside Neil, and is directed by Susi Ganeshan. The actor is pretty excited about the film. He says, “‘Shortcut Romeo’ has been one of my best shooting experiences. And it obviously is one film I’m really looking forward to at the moment. It’s wonderful working with people like Susi Ganeshan, Ameesha and Puja. Himesh Reshammiya has composed for the film. There are lots of mind-blowing action sequences, and so far the film looks good, I hope the audience will like it.”
A complete homebird, for Neil, beating stress is all about disconnecting and being at home. Sharing his life off the limelight he says, “When I’m at home, I completely disconnect from work. I never bring work home. I just want to spend time with my family, watch movies, play my piano and relax.” On the anvil of this self-confessed romantic, is also a love story. Once the shooting for 'David' is over, I shall begin work on ‘Pal’, which will be my first hard-core romantic film. Generally I don’t like romcoms, because they are neither romantic nor comic. That’s why I’d love to do an out-an-out love story, or a full on comedy.”
But that’s not the only plan in the actor’s to-do list. Acting besides, Neil is involved in producing and composing music as well. Talking about his new roles, he says, “I have composed music that a film titled ‘Paidar’, that I’ve also written. And I might co-produce the film.”
Despite a number of niche films in his body of work, does he feel he’s still under-rated as an actor? “Yes, I do think I have been under-rated as an actor. You know, most people here blow their own trumpet. That’s probably how it works. But I will never do that. I cannot blow my own trumpet. But that’s okay. I take each film like a boxing match. On Friday, either you’ll knock the audience with your performance, or they’ll knock you down,” laughs Neil.
Lately, the actor has been in news for more reasons than just his work - link-up rumours with actress Sonal Chauhan. “It is crazy you know, you say something and it’s completely misinterpreted. Then people ask that other person, and she says something, which is again misinterpreted, and then I’m again asked to react. It’s a vicious cycle. I feel if you love someone, then just for their dignity, you need to express and accept how you feel. Saying ‘we are just friends’ would be fake. And when I’m expressing how I feel for someone, I don’t expect the person to feel the same. Love is unconditional. It’s not necessary that the person has to reciprocate in the same way. Love doesn’t die easily, so I will feel the same for her irrespective of how she feels for me,” he says after much thought. And just an afterthought, he adds, “And yes, there’s no bad blood between the two of us. She continues to remain a co-star and a good friend,” he smiles.
Smart, sauvé, charming and good player of words – that’s Neil Nitin Mukesh for you!