"Priyanka and my mom were hysterical with grief. They weren't looking at just a character being put through a traumatic time. To them it was someone who they both love in pain in front of their eyes," said Neil.
Neil admits Priyanka is an integral part of his family. "My parents and her parents don't only know and like one another, we also visit each another's homes constantly. More than lovers we're friends first. There's a comfort level in our interaction that makes us very relaxed with one another. We don't have to hide anything. We meet openly and are very proud of one another. There's no pressure for marriage on either side. When it happens, it happens. The marital status on the passport would hardly alter anything between us."
Priyanka has done a course in fashion designing. Neil is open to the idea of Priyanka designing his clothes for his films. "I'd love that. But it should happen on its own. Neither Priyanka nor I want to pressurize anyone to use her skills. But if it happens, I'd be very happy to be dressed up by her." Another happy happening is the fact that Neil's colleague Ranbir Kapoor's film Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani released on the same day as Neil's Jail.
Says Neil, "Ranbir and I are of course competitors. But there's no negative rivalry between us. Our respective fathers would kill us if we behaved like two brats fighting for the same roles. I'm proud that Ranbir's and my grandfather were very close friends. My father and Ranbir's father adore each other. Ranbir is like my younger brother."
So is Neil saying Ranbir is no competition?
"Of course he is!" rejoins Neil. "I'd want Ranbir's film to do as well as mine. Fortunately, Jail and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani look like the North and South pole." Last week, all of Neil's forthcoming directors saw Jail at Yash Raj Studios "David Dhawan. Abbas-Mustan, Kunal Kohli and Ken Ghosh saw the film. I think they liked what they saw. So I'm safe in their films."
Neil Nitin Mukesh's love interest is no longer kept out of view. That the girl in question, Priyanka Bhatia, is very much part of the Mukesh parivar which became evident on the night of November 2 when at the Fame Adlabs at a private screening of Jail. Priyanka was prominently present alongside Neil's parents and brother Naman. Neil's mother and girlfriend sobbed uncontrollably throughout.