Ranbir Kapoor is very picky about his screen mothers, and that’s because he has very high standards at home to equal on screen.
Hence he had said sometime ago, “My mom was and is a fabulous actress. But the person that I see on screen is not my mother. I see them as two different entities. I can’t see my mom playing my mother.”
At the same time, Ranbir is extremely particular about who plays his mom on screen. In Raajneeti the choice was narrowed down even further since Prakash Jha wanted the actress playing Ranbir’s mother to resemble him physically.
After considering several unusual actresses for the part of his mother including Raveena Tandon (who thought she wasn’t old enough to play Ranbir’s mother) and Mrinal Kulkarni, director Jha zeroed in on a completely new 30-year old aspiring actress named Nikhila Tirkha.
Totally new to acting, Nikhila was chosen for her facial resemblance to her screen-son Ranbir.
Says Parkash Jha, “I was very clear that the facial resemblance has to be very strong. I wanted Ranbir, Arjun Rampal to look like brothers, which they do, and I wanted the actress playing Ranbir’s mother to look like him.”
Ranbir apparently gave his nod the minute he saw the unknown actress who was to play a very young woman required to take over a political dynasty and later was to play mother to Ranbir Kapoor who returns from US in the film.
Known to work with seasoned and saleable actresses, how did Jha surrender such a complex role to an inexperienced actress?
Says the director, “When Nikhila auditioned for the part I instinctively knew she was right for the part although she has had no acting experience. In fact Ranbir who’s much younger than her was far more experienced. But he never let her feel like a newcomer.”
Incidentally, Ranbir tends to treat his screen-moms with far more respect than he does his other co-stars. The unknown Nikhila got more attention on location for Raajneeti than Katina Kaif.