He came with a bang, impressing audiences and critics with an out of the ordinary role in JOHNNY GADDAAR. Since then there has been no looking back for Neil Nitin Mukesh. He went silent for a year but that was because he kept busy shooting for films. And now Neil is back with multiple releases this year. To begin with he will be seen opposite Bipasha Basu in Jehangir Surti's AA DEKHEN ZARA followed by Kabir Khan's NEW YORK and Sudhir Mishra's TERA KYA HOGA JOHNNY. The actor speaks to our correspondent on his films, life and more.
One-and-a-half year is a long time indeed after a promising debut. Why this delay? Indeed it's a long time but that's fine with me. I was busy shooting back-to-back for my films and that's quite hectic. I am still very busy and will be so for almost this year. I have hardly got time to breathe after JOHNNY GADDAAR but that's again because I do one film at a time.
'I don't want to be actor and singer at the same time.'
This time around we see you not only as an actor but also a singer. Planning something on the lines of Farhan Akhtar? No ...no. It's not like that. After all I come from a family of singers (laughs...giggles). But it was something else this time. I liked the song and then I thought of singing it too.
So whose idea was it to make you do the playback for the title track? The director or was it you? It's a long story. I wasn't in India when my producer and director called me up and said that they have found a title for the film. AA DEKHEN ZARA was the appropriate title. Earlier it was FREEZE. The moment I heard it I started humming this Kishore Kumar song and then it was almost like I started pleading somewhat like 'please let me sing...can I do this song' and then they instantly decided that ....'Okay we will go with you'. Then I sat down with music director Gaurav Dasgupta and we worked on the song and recreated it.
Why acting? Didn't you ever think of taking singing more seriously since both your grandfather Mukeshji and father Nitin Mukesh are both accomplished singers? See, my father always knew I love singing but I loved acting even more. So he never forced anything on me. I used to do stage shows with him when I was a child. Kishore Kumar is one of my favourite singers and that's why I couldn't resist singing this number. It's one of the evergreen numbers he sang.
So do we see you singing in the future too? I don't mind but it depends. I don't want to be actor and singer at the same time. But if I really get a good song...something that touches my heart why not?
Okay ...coming to your acting, what kind of film is AA DEKHEN ZARA? It's a romantic thriller. The thrill element makes the film really interesting and there is a bit of a supernatural element too which is the surprise element of the film.
So, it can be called a sci-fi also? Not really. It's not an out and out sci-fi thing. It's a bit of it. It's about a camera I possess which shows a date ahead of its time.
How was it working with Bipasha Basu given that she is one of the most accomplished actors in the industry today and comes with a lot of experience behind her? And I must say with a lot of variety and versatility. It was simply great. She is very particular about things .... a perfectionist of sorts and that's what I like about her. That's what makes our chemistry one of the key elements in this film to watch out for.
You started with a thriller, AA DEHEN ZARA is a thriller and even your next release NEW YORK too is a thriller. (Laughs) and even the fourth one is a thriller. (Laughs). My fourth film is an Abbas Mustan film which is also a thriller. This is something that I don't choose consciously. Though I love this genre but nothing is planned. It's the scripts that interest me and somehow all my four films are thrillers. I don't think there's anything called black or white. Grey is the ultimate shade visible in everyone. That is more real and that's why I like such roles.
What is NEW YORK all about? It's a thriller and I won't say much. It's about Indians in New York and how they get trapped in a thing which makes it a thriller. It was great working with John (Abraham), Katrina (Kaif) and Irrfan in the film.
Don't you feel like doing a romantic film where you can dance and sing and romance the heroine? Yes I am doing one... Ken Ghosh's film is romantic one.
And who do we see you romancing there? Amrita Rao. The film is yet to be titled.
Even Sudhir Mishra's TERA KYA HOGA JOHNNY too isn't a thriller. It's a different kind of film altogether. Johnny is played by a new boy who is from Jharkhand and the film is about the lives of three people which run parallel and meet at one point. It's a very unique storyline and interesting too.
So what's next? I don't know. I am hardly getting time to do anything. I want to take a break but I don't know when I can do that.