You know its a good day when you are with Neil Nitin Mukesh, looking his handsome self and playing the perfect host as we arrived at his home to shoot for our issue. Chilling in his bachelor pad (that will change soon enough) ; we got Neil to strike poses for some super cool pictures that spell breath-taking and had a conversation which explains why he’s the real deal!
How was life growing up in limelight?
NEIL: Being Mukesh’s grandson and Nitin Mukesh’s son, I remember being the center of attention even as a three year old toddler. I was four years old when Yash uncle (Yash Chopra) telephoned my father and informed that he was doing a film called Vijay and that he wanted me to play junior Rishi Kapoor. “Lights, camera, action,”- those magical words continue to ring in my ears. When I read in a newspaper that Anupam Kher was starting an acting workshop, Dad spoke with Anupam uncle to ask him for his guidance because he thought I was too young. Anupam uncle said that it’s never too early nor too late.
What do you enjoy playing more- an antagonist and a protagonist? How do you pick projects considering that your choice of roles is very well-thought and different?
I have more than 100 scripts and 30 narrations coming my way every quarter but if it doesn’t give me an adrenaline thrill, I wouldn’t do it just for becoming a few dollars richer! I always wanted to do roles that aided me to become creatively assorted and for that, some amount of madness is a pre-requisite. Though audiences enjoy it the most when I essay grey shades, perfection only comes when you embrace the unconventional and play both the sides of a coin. I think I can be phenomenal with a romantic drama or a comedy as well. When I realized that a film can ride entirely on the shoulders of a hero and every hero needs a villain to look good on screen, that’s when I decided to play characters that had layers and intensity. The day you tell yourself that this is the genre that I’m a king of, you’re doomed for failure.
In the next 10 years, where do you see your career in Bollywood heading?
I definitely have benchmarks but I’m not a part of the rat race. My only aspiration is to be well remembered and respected for my passion. I’m not someone who likes to compartmentalize my aspirations. I always dreamed of owning my own plush pad and getting married and I’ve achieved that at 30 so I guess when I’m 40, I would want to own a Rolls Royce and a getaway villa in Spain and start a family of my own. I have never considered age as a parameter to benchmark one’s ambitions. I could be rocking it in Hollywood at 40, who knows?
Music runs in your family and growing up, you would’ve been more exposed to it than acting. Do you have any plans to delve into music as a career?
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