Still don’t have confidence to attend public functions without Rishi: Neetu

Veteran actor Neetu Kapoor says though she has immersed herself in work after her husband Rishi Kapoor’s demise, she still doesn’t have the “confidence” to attend public events without him.

Neetu, who met Rishi Kapoor at the age of 15, married the actor in 1980 and quit films after featuring in hits like “Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Deewaar, Khel Khel Mein and Kabhi Kabhie.”

She returned to movies in the late 2000s with cameos in films like “Love Aaj Kal” (2009) and “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” (2012) as well as full-fledged roles in “Do Dooni Chaar” (2010) and “Besharam” (2013). All four films featured Rishi Kapoor, who passed away in April 2020 after a battle with leukemia.

Her latest film “Jugjugg Jeeyo”, for which she started shooting last year, was the first time in decades that the 63-year-old actor shot without her husband.

“The first day I went on set, I also posted a picture that this was the first time I was stepping outside the house without him. I’m sure he was blessing me, making things easy for me. But to be honest, it was difficult to not act with him. It was tough,” Neetu told PTI.

Apart from the Karan Johar production, the veteran actor also started filming for a dance reality show as a judge, a commitment that has kept her busy ever since.

As an actor, Neetu said, she has gained the confidence to face the camera without her late husband but hasn’t yet found the strength to step out in public alone.

“Even today, when I’m called for a function, I can’t go. I can go for a shoot, but I can’t go to a film function without him. Recently, I was invited to a big event, where they wanted to give me an award but I cannot go without him. I feel awkward going alone. I still don’t have that confidence.

“I need my son or my husband with me. Maybe it’ll take me time to get used to that part. As an actor, I can go and work because there’s my team, they’re with me and so I feel okay. But not otherwise, not now,” she added.

Directed by Raj Mehta, “Jugjugg Jeeyo” will feature Neetu Kapoor in a full-fledged role nine years after her last outing “Besharam”, which co-starred Rishi Kapoor and their son Ranbir Kapoor.

The comedy-drama also stars Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor, and Manish Paul.

Neetu Kapoor said working on the film was “comforting” and helped her cope with the grief.

“Karan was over (my house) for dinner after my husband had passed away. Ranbir said I should start working again, but I shrugged off the idea. Karan heard it and said he has a nice script and I should at least hear it. I half-heartedly said yes.

“When I heard the narration later, I was amazed. It was funny, nice and dramatic. Although I didn’t have the confidence then as I was low, I said I’ll do the film. I knew this would help me, comfort me,” she added.

“Jugjugg Jeeyo” is scheduled to release theatrically on June 24.

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