What is Chintu Ji all about? Is it an autobiography of the man called Rishi Kapoor who regaled the audience for three decades in a row (70s to 90s) as a leading hero?
No, the film is not about the journey of Rishi Kapoor, a filmstar. It is about the moment in the life of this film star where he tries to do something new. It's his stint in politics which is covered in Chintu Ji. It was nice to see shades of my own life in the film's narrative though.
Politics? Sounds interesting. Can you please elaborate?
Chintu Ji is about a filmstar who wants to contest elections from his hometown but isn't quite serious about politics. At heart, he is still a brat that he has been throughout his life and his only motive is to mint money and make merry. Ironically, his entry in his village only ends up making life better for all there, even though it is by default than design.
Does that mean that we are looking at an out and out tongue in cheek entertain?
There is an entertainment quotient for sure. But then there is also some message that comes with the film. It states that if Government takes care of your basic necessities in villages and small towns as well, the inhabitants there won't be compelled to leave these places and go to cities with dreams of mega bucks. If at all there are enough jobs to keep people occupied and well off in villages, they will not be forced to leave their native place. Its matter of basic amenities like electricity, water, mobile facilities etc. being made available, that's it.
So are there some reforms that eventually do come into play in the film?
They do happen though unintentionally (laughs). My character doesn't quite have any intentions of reforming the life of the villagers. However, he does eventually bring in a turnaround even though it is done unknowingly. The film's script has been put together quite innovatively because it's quite a difficult task to build a story around a real life personality, add on elements of fiction to it and make it a cinematic engaging experience as well. The film also reflects the socio-economic-political state of India Today.
There has been quite some stir being created ever since it was revealed that Russian artist Kseniya Ryabinkina, who played Raj Kapoor's love interest (a trapeze artist) in the second chapter of Mera Naam Joker, is a part of Chintu Ji too.
It was way back in 1970 when I played the role of younger Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker. It is interesting that 40 years later, I am coming along with her. Incidentally this will be only her second Hindi film since she appeared in Mera Naam Joker. In Chintu Ji, she has a very pivotal role to play as she brings along immense metamorphosis in the life of the character that I play.
In Mera Naam Joker, you had your scenes mainly with Simi Grewal while it was Raj Kapoor who had closer interaction with Kseniya Ryabinkina. Does Chintu Ji see the two of you sharing screen space together?
Yes, we do. It was a surreal experience because I was just a kid in Mera Naam Joker. I guess it was a great idea to get her on board in Chintu Ji which is a film that is part fiction, part reality and part illusion when it comes to it being based on my life.
Though Chintu Ji has been ready for a while, the film is now seeing a sudden release.
If a film is good then it will run. Also, it is a genuinely different film and carries certain spunk to it. It comes with a lot of potential to do well after word of mouth. Even though it's a small film, it comes with a good idea. I am very positive about its prospects.
Rishi Kapoor has been having an eventful year so far. He got superb response in films like Love Aaj Kal and Luck By Chance, some flak for Kal Kissne Dekha and left audiences wanting for more in Delhi 6. Even as Love Aaj Kal continues to run in theaters, Rishi Kapoor is now making a comeback as a central protagonist in Chintu Ji. Interestingly, the film's name is derived from Rishi Kapoor's nickname - 'Chintu'. Produced by Kaleidoscope Entertainment, the film - also starring Priyanshu Chatterjee and Kulraj Randhawa - is a comedy and is directed by debutant Ranjit Kapoor. As the film gears up for it's release this Friday, Rishi Kapoor talks to us about Chintu Ji, which as per him is 'part fiction, part reality and part illusion'.