Thirty years in the business and I have met most of people in Bollywood — some briefly, and some more. Strangely Rishi ji was one person I never had a chance to meet, and in 2017 once I finished writing MULK I very clearly knew I was looking for him.
This was also a time in my career when I was trying to make a film that everyone thought was a wrong film to make. It was against the tide but somehow I wasn’t able to contain the story. I had to tell the story to the world. The general view was that I will not get the actors to participate or even financiers. I did not have an option for Rishi Kapoor in mind when Mushtaq Shiekh, my friend offered to take me to meet him.
The moment I walked in to the room, there was this feeling that I knew him from before. Something told me that we were going to do something good together. He heard the script and had just one question, ‘But there is no hero in the film’. What he meant was a young lead.
That is how realistic he was about who he was and this came from a man who was a star before he was born. He was Raj Kapoor’s son and then he was a legitimate star on his own for five decades. I am so happy he agreed to be a part of the film that would change my life forever.
Last I met him, he wanted to start work on a fresh one with me. I would give my right arm to do that. I only hope he didn’t feel any pain when he left because he was born to be just happy about life. Zindabad Chintu Ji!!!
(Disclaimer: The views expression by the author are personal, and not those of the publication.)