'I was a real bad guy'
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor says he became reckless as a youngster post the success of his 1973 film Bobby.
Talking about the pitfalls of early fame, the actor said that all the "success, money and adulation" at just 20 made him arrogant.
Addressing fans at a retrospective of his films at Nu Metro Montecasino in Johannesburg, Kapoor reflected on a range of issues in his career that started with a role as a 15-year-old in Mera Naam Joker, made by his father Raj Kapoor.
But it was Bobby that brought the real fame. "Suddenly I had tons of money -- obviously it corrupted my mind. I became arrogant. I was very abrupt. I was a real bad guy, not because I wanted to be a bad guy, and I was enjoying every moment of it," said the actor.
"But then I was under check. I realised that I had to settle down and start working, so that reality check came at the right time. Today a 20-year-old is much more knowledgeable, he knows what happens in the world around him," he added.
Image: A scene from Bobby
'I'm Ranbir's father, not his secretary'
Kapoor, 58, was in South Africa as part of the six-week Shared History Festival of the Indian missions in the country that has seen Indian culture, cuisine and arts being showcased throughout the country.
Pushed for details of his "bad deeds", Kapoor preferred for them to remain secret. Kapoor said probably his father did not know what was happening with him. "My father never ever interfered in my career and rightly so, perhaps he did not know what was happening. Similarly, I don't interfere in (my son Ranbir's) career -- I'm his father, not his secretary."
Image: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Ranbir Kapoor
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'Even at this age I'm working with new girls'
But Kapoor also commended his father for his bravery in casting two unknowns in Bobby at a time when the family was in deep financial crisis.
"During Mera Naam Joker we had our studio mortgaged, there was no money to complete the film we were in dire straits and he chose to take two absolute newcomers for this film but he was a filmmaker who knew exactly what he wanted. He made a blockbuster and a film that changed the times."
After starring with Neetu Singh in 11 films, Kapoor married her in 1980. But he also introduced 23 other new actresses to the screen and is about to do so for a Turkish actress in the film Tell Me Oh Khuda, being made by veteran actress Hema Malini.
"25 not out -- not bad. Even at this age I'm working with new girls," Kapoor joked.
Image: Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby
'I was fed up of running round trees chasing girls'
Kapoor said a time came when he reached a saturation point in his acting career and that's when he decided to chuck it all up.
"I was fed up with working continuously for 25 years as a hero, that also with defying the age, body and fat factors. I was fed up of running round trees chasing girls in Switzerland in ornate sweaters. My wife said 'you are not enjoying your work; you are looking tired and are miserable -- I think you had better hang up your boots'. And that's what I did -- I said I am not going to be working anymore. So I told all my producers and gave back all their money," said Kapoor.
Image: Rishi Kapoor
Photographs: Manav Manglani/ Reuters
New lease of life
The actor started his second innings in Bollywood as a character artiste.
"Then I started working as character actor in films like Raju Chacha and Kuch Khatti Kuchh Meethi. Between 2000 and 2010 I have had about 18 films released."
Kapoor has also convinced Neetu to make a comeback to acting with Do Dooni Chaar, where they play reel-life Punjabi couple.
Image: Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor