Making it in the industry is not easy, even for a star like Neil Nitin Mukesh. He may come from one of the most accomplished families in Bollywood – his grandfather, the legendary singer Mukesh, lent his voice to some of the most beautiful and celebrated songs in Bollywood's history – but things have not come easily to the handsome actor. Always adventurous and daring in his choice of roles, right from Saat Khoon Maaf to New York, Neil is blessed with a wealth of talent. We chat with the gorgeous actor about his forthcoming ventures, challenges he has faced and much more...
Have you ever used your looks to get ahead in college or anywhere else?
I wish it was that simple! I have never tried doing that at all! I don't even consider myself good looking. I never look at myself in the mirror and say, "Dude you're a looker!" I just consider myself a normal person who happens to be an actor and that's about it. I can't be pompous or a narcissist. I have never gone out there to put my face in front or my name or the little bit that God has given me, to get things. I know that my name holds a lot of weight because of my grandfather and father. In fact, it's been quite struggle to reach where I am.
Are you attracted to characters with shades of grey; you play so many of them with ease?
No I don't think so and that's why I do these kinds of films (bursts into laughter)! I obviously am very attracted to such roles and can't resist them. As an actor, I like it when I get play roles that have an edge to them. If I take on roles that are like me then what's the fun? Also when I play characters with shades of grey, it makes me feel larger than life. All the characters I've played are twisted and evil in different ways and have instantly elevated me. For example the character Mogambo is the epitome of evil and madness. He's like the superhero
Do you have shades of grey?
I have too much white in me (laughs)! Gosh, that was such a bad joke! I don't have any shades of grey but am the complete opposite of what I am in films. I only have a short temper but I'm the first one to go up and apologise even if it's not my mistake. I get hurt very easily and have a very soft heart.
What are your expectations of the film David?
I believe in doing my best and leaving the rest to destiny, luck, God and karma. Working in David been a beautiful experience. It's given me a lot so to expect anything from it would be unfair. But at the same time, the film deserves to get a lot of respect, adulation and love. Hopefully, everyone will like the film. It is very well made.
Marketing yourself well is important these days. Do you have a strategy in place as to how you do so?
I don't think I'm disinterested in marketing and strategising but it doesn't excite me; I don't understand it. I probably should learn the ropes. I don't like blowing my own trumpet and just like to go there, do my bit and if people talk about me then it's nice and that's it.
Does having a famous family put a lot of pressure on you to constantly give your best and avoid failure?
More than anything else, I want to do good work and keep their name high. My grandfather (Mukesh) and father (Nitin) have struggled a lot and worked very hard to earn their reputation. I have done all that I can and will continue to do everything possible to follow in their footsteps. All the Mukesh family members work very hard to ensure our family name is respected. This is why I call myself Neil Nitin Mukesh.
Have you ever been envious of any of your colleagues' success?
No, I bless them all! They are doing extremely well for themselves and it's because they're very talented people. In fact, we have suddenly seen this range of new actors who have come in and I wish them all the best. This industry is very big; we make 800 films a year so everyone has his and her own place. I strongly feel that competition is a word that should be eradicated.
Are you single?
I am single and like I said, it's 'no' to finding love for now. Let cupid strike when he has to; in the meantime I will concentrate on work.
With Valentine's Day coming up, what plans do you have in store?
I have no idea as of now. I will probably be starting promotions for 3G by the time Valentine's Day is around the corner. If I'm in the country, I like to bring it in with my close friends and family. Because it's a time for love Valentine's Day can be with shared with not only your girlfriend or wife but also with your parents and siblings. There's nobody who can ever love you like your family.
You're musically inclined; would you like to try your hand at this in future?
I have composed six songs and will be lending them to a film of mine but it's too premature to talk about it right now.
What were your birthday celebrations this year like? What did you do?
It was just a celebration with family and friends at home. It was a nice, quiet simple dinner with a few of my colleagues coming in and giving me a surprise which was very sweet. I really had a great time.
What's the best way to make an impression on you?
It's best to be yourself. I like people who are honest and simple. Pretentious people don't impress me at all.
There were many stories about you being linked with Sonal Chauhan. Do you have any comments to make regarding this?
We worked together in the film 3G. It's a part and parcel of making news I guess. I wish her all the best; she has done a great job in the film and that's all I have to say about her.