The transition of Neetu Kapoor from animated to understated acting
Neetu Kapoor turns 64 on Friday, and she recently made a comeback on the big screen with JugJugg Jeeyo, a family entertainer. She spoke about the difference in her acting and how she made it to the sets after all these years ahead of the release of the film, which starred Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, and Kiara Advani.
Neetu was quite comfortable in front of the camera after working as a child artist in films such as Suraj and Do Kaliyaan in the 1960s when she made her debut in the lead role with K Shankar’s Rickshawala (1973), which also starred Mala Sinha and Randhir Kapoor. The same year, she got her big break with Yaadon Ki Baarat, in which she played a dancer.
Neetu’s star rose in the second half of the 1970s when she appeared in hit films such as Deewar, Khel Khel Mein, and Kabhie Kabhie. Rishi and Neetu collaborated on the films Khel Khel Mein and Kabhie Kabhie.
In keeping with the times, Neetu’s performance in the films was dramatic and animated. The character’s anger or jealousy was conveyed through textbook versions of facial expressions and the body language corresponding to the emotions.
She retired from acting in the early 1980s, after appearing in many popular films, to raise her children, Riddhima Kapoor Sahni and Ranbir Kapoor. Neetu made her film debut after more than three decades when she appeared as Rishi Kapoor’s onscreen wife in Imtiaz Ali’s 2009 film Love Aaj Kal. She also appeared in films with him, including Do Dooni Chaar and Besharam.
In her second stint, Neetu continued to play the animated Punjabi woman in her films. She played Rishi’s wife in both Do Dooni Chaar and Besharam. After Besharam, Neetu did not work in films for nine years. Karan Johar and her children persuaded her to return to acting only after Rishi died in 2020.
In JugJugg Jeeyo, she plays a Punjabi woman who does not break into bhangra at the slightest bit of good news. In the film’s typically loud Punjabi atmosphere, Neetu expressed her happiness, disappointment, and pain through subtle expressions. The Raj Mehta film, which was released in June, performed well at the box office, grossing 100 crores worldwide.
Neetu had stated in an interview with News18, “Acting is similar to cycling in that you never forget. But I needed to build my self-esteem. When I first started working in the 1970s and 1980s, our acting was very animated and loud. Today, it is more subtle, and you must sometimes underplay it. So I needed some direction. I chose to keep an acting coach who assisted me with my lines. So there were acting and diction classes. It’s not like acting, which is very natural.”
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