Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, who among his many candid confessions about his life via his book ‘Khullam Khulla’, has opened up about a past meeting with India’s most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, says he has no regrets about having met the underworld don. In an interview on India Today TV, Rishi was asked by anchor Rajdeep Sardesai about his meeting with Ibrahim in Dubai in 1988. “What was regretful about it,” Rishi retorted.
He narrated how when he had landed in Dubai for a show with R.D. Burman, Asha Bhosle and Bittu Anand, a person came to him with a phone and said “Bhai baat karenge”. “He invited me over for tea… I went to his house, thinking there was nothing wrong because he just a fugitive, he had not done the menace…,” Rishi said. When his comment was interrupted by Sardesai with “but he (Dawood) was still a criminal”, Rishi said: “So what? I meet so many criminals in my life… Maybe I am also a criminal, but I may have not committed any serious crime. But yes, as an actor I thought I would like to know his story. “I did so much of him in ‘D-Day’, I was inspired by him for playing that role.” Rishi said he had a “couple of cups of tea” with Dawood in their around four hour-long meeting. “He also said that he didn’t think he would get justice in India.” The meeting happened before the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
But he was still a criminal wanted by the law. Rishi said there was “nothing wrong at all” in meeting Dawood as he feels he can “derive inspiration from these kind of people for films sometimes”. “He just asked me for tea, and even said, ‘Sorry I didn’t call you in the evening for a drink because I don’t drink’.” Asked if he is still in touch with the don, Rishi said: “No, there is no contact.” The veteran actor, who belongs to Bollywood’s famed Kapoor family, also ruled out any underworld connect with the present-day film industry. “I don’t think we have any connect with underworld… We are a clean system, with corporate money and bank finances now.”
But Bollywood had strong underworld links in the 1990s?
“Maybe so…” he said, and then narrated how Dawood had sent one representative to his Mumbai house to pay condolence a day after his father Raj Kapoor had died in June 1988. He said Dawood was a great admirer of his father, a legendary actor and filmmaker. Did Dawood buy him any gifts? “Never… But he offered me and asked me, ‘Can I get you something?’ I said ‘No, why would you get me anything? I can afford what I want’.” Further justifying his meeting with Dawood, Rishi said: “I am not a hypocrite — there’s nothing wrong (with having met him). People go to prisons to meet criminals.. I met him in a foreign country. By that time, he had not gone against our country — at least not done something as grave as he did later.”