Do Dooni Chaar director Habib Faisal: Rishi Kapoor kept pushing me to make a sequel
Habib remembers working with the actor and his wife in his 2010 debut feature
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor passed away today after a two-year-long battle with cancer. He was 67. His cremation was performed on Thursday afternoon in Mumbai. He is survived by his wife Neetu Kapoor, children Ranbir and Riddhima Kapoor and family.
We spoke to director Habib Faisal, who had made his feature debut with Do Dooni Chaar (2010), starring Rishi and Neetu Kapoor. Regarded among his best performances, the comedy starred Rishi as Santosh Duggal, a middle-class teacher trying to buy a new car for his family. The film won a National Film award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
Here’s what Habib remembered about working the legendary actor on his first film -
“The team of Do Dooni Chaar was mostly newcomers. But Rishi sir and Neetu ma’am took our fear and awe and turned it into something creative. Neetu ma’am would joke that she was a newcomer too, since she was making her comeback after a long time.
On set, Rishi sir was full of grace and always willing to experiment. I shot with him for 50 days in addition to prep. He had fallen in love with the Guggal character. He had done middle-class roles part in films like Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), but those roles usually had a romantic engine. Here, the challenge was different and he loved it. I remember we had no budget for sync-sound and had to add a lot at the dubbing stage. On the last day of dubbing, he told me, 'I will miss this Duggal, yaar.'
We shot the film in the lanes and by-lanes of Delhi. Being a foodie, Rishi sir made friends with the locals. Every day, before lunch time, there would be a naughty twinkle in his eye. 'We’ll get Kashmiri food today,' he’d exclaim, 'tomorrow will be chole..'
Rishi sir disliked night shoots. He told me a story about how a director kept pursuing him with a story. After finishing a shoot in Madh Island, he told the director to accompany him in his car. The man began his pitch — 'This film is a murder mystery set over one night' — and Rishi immediately told his driver to stop and sent the director off. He really hated late hours, yet, for my film, he agreed for the night shoots…
Over the years, Rishi sir kept pushing me to make a sequel to Do Dooni Chaar. However, due to logistical reasons and other contractual issues at Yash Raj Films, we couldn’t do it. When he was in New York for treatment, I would text him often. He would write back saying he’s fine and ask me to finish the script of the sequel. He was really excited about it. The tragedy now is that he won’t be around to do it.”