Since the coronavirus triggered
Work-related uncertainties aside, Neil is happy to be home with Nurvi. “I was away on a 45-day shoot of Bypass Road when Rukmini’s due date was approaching. And although I made it back just in time for the delivery, I always felt that there was a gap to be bridged,” he admits, adding that the toddler is quite attached to him now. “Whenever I wear a mask, she realises I am going downstairs and starts crying.”
Nurvi herself is amassing a fan-following with videos of her dancing, which routinely pop up on her actor-father’s social media. “She is very energetic and had started running just before the lockdown happened. I feel bad that there are no open spaces for her to run right now. But one day, I noticed her responding to music and now, she dances twice a day to expend all the energy,” the actor shares, adding that Rukmini and he used to join her in the beginning but not any longer.
Neil misses his veteran singerfather Nitin Mukesh. Despite being in the same city, they haven’t met in two-and-a-half months. “He was advised to live separately as he is a senior citizen but we’re constantly in touch over the phone. On Saturday nights, the whole family connects virtually to jam together. I am a complete daddy’s boy. Since Chintu (
Steering back to the writing, Neil informs that he has finished penning a web series and is on the final draft of two stories—a murder mystery and a thriller. “The latter will be directed by my brother Naman. I have written all the scripts keeping myself in mind but I am not averse to having other actors play the parts if need be,” he says.
On the acting front, he was to start work on two projects, set in London and Goa respectively, which have been pushed. “Now, we aren’t sure if we will even get permission to shoot there,” he sighs. Nonetheless, Neil is happy with his body of work and points out a unique feat. “I may be the only actor to have worked with two generations of several families—Dharam ji (Dharmendra in Johnny Gaddaar) and Bobby (Deol in Players), Abhishek (in Players) and Amitabh Bachchan sir (in Wazir), Shakti Kapoor sir (Vijay), as a child actor and Shraddha (Saaho), and Anupam Kher (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Indu Sarkar) and Sikander (Players),” he points out, adding that he has also worked with almost 12 National Awardwinning directors, including Yash Chopra (Vijay), Abbas-Mustan (Players), Sooraj Barjatya (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo), Pradeep Sarkar (Lafangey Parindey), Sriram Raghavan (Johnny Gaddaar), Kabir Khan (New York), Sudhir Mishra (Tera Kya Hoga Johnny), Vishal Bhardwaj (7 Khoon Maaf) and Madhur Bhandarkar (Jail, Indu Sarkar), in his career.
He forayed into South films with A R Murugadoss’s Kaththi, which will soon get a Hindi remake with Akshay Kumar. Has he been approached to reprise his part? “We have been discussing it. Considering the current situation, I will request them to take me so that I find some work to do,” Neil laughs.
Any plans for turning director? “I will definitely do it, but I can’t set a deadline. If I feel a story needs to be told, and I need to direct it, I won’t hold back. For now, I have two-three stories that I will start developing soon,” the actor signs off.