There’s something so infectious about Neetu Kapoor’s smile and the way she talks. She exudes that rare warmth of someone you feel you really know, without really knowing them. Two years since her husband Rishi Kapoor’s demise, the ageless actress is today a far cry from the weeping widow image that Bollywood films have painted over the years. Instead, she is raring to go, wanting to live life to the fullest, doing what makes her happy and getting stronger everyday. In this exclusive interview with Health Shots, Neetu Kapoor, who is giving a second shot to showbiz, opens up about choosing to “heal with happiness”.
She says she consulted a psychiatrist to help her deal with her emotional upheaval after her husband left, but realized she was “stronger” to handle it herself. It is indeed Neetu Kapoor’s own strength to face the crests and troughs of life that give her the exuberance that people love her for – both on and off screen.
Not sure if she should call this her “second innings”, the 63-year-old is ecstatic about judging talented kids on reality show Dance Deewane Juniors on Colors, and about starring in upcoming film Jug Jugg Jeeyo. She feels like a “newcomer”, and experiences the happiness and nervousness that comes with it.
In her inimitable, bindass andaaz, Neetu Kapoor spoke to Health Shots all about prioritizing her mental health, physical health, and spreading joy the way she knows it best!
I feel that one has to just be positive to heal with happiness. The first six months after my husband passed away were so bad. I was really broken. But you have to pick yourself up. You have to say ‘this is it’. Life is too short, and in these (Covid-19) days, life has taught us that each day is a gift.
Exercise karo, achha khao, acha piyo, achha bolo. If you eat well, your body will look good. If you speak well, people will love you. Speak well, eat well: this is my main mantra in life.
You know, bahut log poochte hain mujhse, but I don’t know! Maybe I am born like that. I am just a positive, happy person. I like to be happy. I don’t like to be sad. And I like that everybody should be happy around me. Some people are just born happy, some people are thinkers. it’s just the nature.
The toughest part was just him leaving me. A man who is with you all your life… you don’t have any other life but him – it’s his food, sitting with him, travelling with him, looking after our children, everything was about him. But few months after he left, I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing? Just get on with life’. It was very tough. I dealt with whatever I was going through, myself. I didn’t put it on my friends, my children (Riddhima and Ranbir) or my family. I just dealt with it. And then I woke up one fine day. It was an awakening. I knew I had to be strong and move on in my life.
You know, life makes you strong. When you go through ups and downs. And when we go through the downs, we think it’s our worst time. But I feel that’s the best time because that’s the way God is making you stronger to deal with whatever comes in your life. I have gone through loads of it in my life, and maybe that’s what made me strong enough to deal with every situation.
I was stronger than my husband. If there was anything happening in our life, I would give him that strength. I was always the stronger one.
I can’t give opinions or suggestions because this is the way I am. I deal with things in a more positive way, I feel ‘Abhi ye ho gaya hai toh let’s move on’. If I feel low, I get up and start exercising or meditating. When I had Covid-19, I was not just lying down in bed and popping medicines. I used to call my expert on a video session for a full 1-hour breathing and Pranayama session. You have to make that effort.
Whatever it is you’re feeling, whatever your issue is, you must do something. If you are having a mental health problem, see a psychiatrist. I went to a psychiatrist. After my husband (left), I used to consult a doctor, but then I said, ‘I am stronger than what the doctor is saying’. The doctor was telling me to do things that I already knew, so I thought to myself ‘Why am I not doing these myself?’. And so, I stopped seeing the doctor and I dealt with my ‘missing him’, ‘feeling low’ feelings within myself, and made myself stronger.
Nobody can help you. You have to help yourself.
It’s like if you are fat, you know you can lose weight, you have to exercise and you have to shut your mouth. You have an answer, but you have to be sensible enough to do it!
Also, give yourself time. Time is a big healer. It took me time.
See, I am just making myself happy right now. Everything is very new for me. I feel like a newcomer. I am doing a movie, I am doing television which I have never done before. I’m getting into the groove and I am taking it slow. I am very happy with what I am doing today. Otherwise, I would just lead a routine life. This is something I thought will give me happiness… ‘Ek motive ho gaya hai life mein ki aage kya karna hai’. Abhi kahaan tak leke jaata hai, kya hoga…that I have to see!
Today, the new generation can manage (the work-life balance) well. I am the old generation type. I couldn’t do all that. I am not a multi-tasker. I needed to give my full concentration to my children, husband, house. Today I admire how the new generation does it, but I felt my children needed me when they came back from school, and that I shouldn’t be at the shoot. Today I have no regrets. For me, my biggest achievement in life are my two children. I got an amazing husband who gave me so much love and a wonderful life, and two wonderful kids… what more could have I asked for. Kaam maine kaafi kar liya thha when I retired. I had started my career when I was 5 years old, and I worked for 15 years. That felt like I worked all my life.
I had no intentions of coming back. But today I feel there’s a lot of work out there, and this is what I know, so I can keep myself busy and happy. That’s why I am doing it. I have to do something in life. I can’t just sit at home.