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Tina's range as an actor may have been limited, but she exuded an elfin charm on screen that was refreshingly modern for its time and complemented my image beautifully. I had never before worked with a today's-girl like her. People said we looked good together. Karz, in which we worked together, will always remain special to me, very close to my heart.
Our budding friendship and the string of movies we did together inevitably led to rampant speculation about a secret affair. The media may not have been as powerful back then as it is today, but people made up stories as blithely then too. I was not married at the time and Tina was seeing Sanjay Dutt. One day, Sanju and Gulshan Grover visited Neetu at her apartment in Pali Hill. The rumours had gotten to him. Gulshan later told me that during the filming of Rocky (Gulshan was also in the film), Sanju had come to Neetu's house to pick a fight with me. But Neetu handled the situation marvellously. She diffused what could have turned into a very ugly scene by calmly explaining to Sanju that the rumours were baseless. She told him, 'There's nothing going on between Tina and Chintu. They are colleagues and buddies. You have to learn to trust when you're in this industry.' Later, Sanju and I would laugh over the incident. He was heavily addicted to drugs those days, and was high the day he came to Neetu's house too. The truth was established when Neetu and I got married and all my heroines attended the wedding.
Many years into our marriage, Neetu confided in me that the only time she had felt threatened was when I worked with Dimple in Saagar. But she needn't have worried. Dimple was a friend, even if she may have been a little more than that during Bobby. Ten years had gone by; she was coming out of a marriage with two children of her own and I was also well settled with two kids.
I have never let Neetu down in our marriage. I am a happily married man with a loving and supportive wife. Neetu is not only my wife, she is also a friend. If ever there were any ripples in our relationship, it was because of me, never her. And even then, the reasons had nothing to do with another woman in my life. She has been a rock and stood by me in my weakest moments. If there was an Oscar for the best partner, for being with someone for better or for worse in every sense of the word, she would get it.
About Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapor Uncensored -
Few actors in Hindi cinema have had this sort of a career arc: from the gawky adolescent pining for his schoolteacher (Mera Naam Joker, 1970) to the naughty ninety-year-old (Kapoor and Sons, 2016), Rishi Kapoor has regaled audiences for close to fifty years. He won a National Award for his debut, became an overnight sensation with his first film as a leading man (Bobby, 1973), and carved a niche for himself with a string of romantic musical blockbusters in an era known for its angst-ridden films. He was the youth icon that is still the toast of the satellite TV circuit. The songs he lip-synced are the bread and butter of all radio stations even today. Then there was the second coming after a brief hiatus in the 1990s - as one of the finest actors in mainstream Hindi cinema with powerhouse performances in films like Do Dooni Chaar, D-Day, Agneepath and others.
Characteristically candid, Rishi Kapoor brings Punjabi brio to the writing of Khullam Khulla. This is as up close and personal a biography as any fan could have hoped for. He writes about growing up in the shadow of a legendary father, skipping school to act in Mera Naam Joker, the workings of the musical hits of the era, his streak of rotten luck with awards, an encounter with Dawood Ibrahim, his heroines (their working relationship, the gossip and the frisson that was sometimes real), his approach to his craft, his tryst with clinical depression, and more. A heart-warming afterword by Neetu Singh rounds off the warmest, most dil se biography an Indian star has ever penned.
Excerpted with permission from HarperCollins