“At heart I am still that 16-year old Mama and Papa’s boy. I still need to be mollycoddled. I still need my family to support me. I don’t take any decisions without taking them into confidence. I am helpless without my family,” said Neil, who turned a year older Jan 15.
The actor, who came riding on the success of Johnny Gaddar, had a quiet birthday celebration and said, “For me, celebration is family time. Every year I spend time with my family on my birthday. Friends, who want to drop in, are most welcome.”
But his quiet family dinner suddenly turned into an impromptu party when all his friends from his underproduction film Ishqeria, including his leading lady Richa Chadha, dropped in to wish him.
“When Richa (Chadda) and the rest of the Ishqeria gang said they’re dropping in to cut a cake with me, I was very happy. Ours is the most non-filmy home in Mumbai. We don’t believe in formalities. If it’s a happy occasion anyone can drop in unannounced,” said the grandson of legendary singer Mukesh and son of Nitin Mukesh.
And that is why Neil enjoys playing characters who are mean, angry, isolated and embittered, like the one in Bejoy Nambiar’s David.
“It’s strangely apt. But I’ve been playing characters who are completely antithetical to me. And ‘David’ is no exception. When Bejoy came to me with the role, he said, ‘There’s just one problem. Your segment is in black and white.’ I was like, ‘Er, problem?! That sounds like the USP’.”
“I’ve pined to be a part of an era when my grandfather Mukesh sang. I never thought I’d get a chance to actually do a black-and-white film. It feels like a dream,” said Neil.
Contrary to his image, Nambiar is apparently a barrel of fun. Praising him, Neil said, “He is the best mimic I’ve ever come across. Every morning the shooting has to start with Bejoy doing his classic takeoff on Ashok Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar.”
Neil says he experiences a childlike glee when he is on the sets. The only time Neil gets a chance to feel old is when he meets artists from the younger generation. “The other day I met Annirudh, the young musician from Chennai who has composed the song ‘Kolaveri di’. He has composed a song in ‘David’. Would you believe, he’s all of 21! When I met Annirudh, I felt old. I felt time is ticking by and I need to settle down.”
However, Neil has given up on love. “I am no longer looking for love. I’ve been let down too many times. If it happens it will happen.”