“Pyaar Hua, Iqraar Hua” – in Raj Kapoor’s 1955 classic SHREE 420, a cute three year old toddler walked through the rain with two other small kids, the three year old agreed as Nargis promised him chocolates if he does the scene.
Who knew that the kid who did a scene for his lust for those chocolates after eighteen years will become the icon for Bollywood teen romance with BOBBY in 1973 – the young ‘chocolate’ boy who ruled with his sweet chocolate charm for decades.
And not to forget, Before BOBBY, Raju in MERA NAAM JOKER has laid the founding stone for the epitome of infatuation in Bollywood cinema. Monty – the disco boy of Bollywood in KARZ (1980) before Mithun Da became a range with DISCO DANCER (1982). Rishi Kapoor aka Chintu or say Chintuji in his highly illustrated career spanning 64 years is an era that may have ‘ended’ today, only to ‘remain’ forever.
The cutest form the Kapoor clan before son Ranbir making the women droll over him. Rishi Kapoor was the perfect mix of boyish charm, energy, flamboyance and immense talent.
The image of the cute boy next door which initially was his biggest asset after some time became a hindrance as the storm called Amitabh Bachchan was moving like a thunder.
Still in those multi starrers that had Bachchan stealing the limelight from other actors in movies like AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, NASSEB, Rishi Kapoor elegantly made his mark and was no second.
You cannot imagine AKBAR AKBAR ANTHONY without Akbar Allahabadi – those qawwali numbers – Parda Hai, Shirdi wale saibaba, and the mischievous taiyaabali jaan ka dushman (all the three sung by Rafi Saab).
In NASEEB the bonding between him and Bachchan senior is incredible. The song chal chal mere bhai sung by Rafi and Amitabh Bachchan was the major highlight during its times and still remains a favorite amongst hard core Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor fans.
And last but not the least, 102 NOT OUT – the magical gem that celebrates life not only offered toast and the powers of the phenomenon called Amitabh Bachchan, it was an unforgettable token of appreciation of the incomparable talents of Rishi Kapoor as an actor.
The chocolate boy has aged, gained weight but has grown up tremendously as an actor by now.
Those talk of limitations during the late seventies, eighties where thwarted one after another beginning with the sensational Rauf Lala in AGNEEPATH (2012). Followed by playing India’s most wanted in D-DAY (2013). The lovable dadaji in KAPOOR & SONS (2016), the outstanding Murad Ali in MULK (2018).
Rishi Kapoor remained a person, an actor who never got bogged down by the talk of his so called limitations; in fact he was a man of supreme confidence as an actor who knew he can go against his image with unbelievable results.
Rishi Kapoor, who did around one hundred movies, wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. He openly talked about his concerns it may be political, social, sports, cinema, life, drinks, and food – whatever. He knew what is happening around and always had his opinion and quite sometimes found himself on the radar of netizens. But he never changed.
The amazing ability to be what he is made him stand at par with the flawless Kamal Hassan in SAGAR. Kamal had all the sympathy. Rishi played the role he is known for but against all the expertise of Kamal Sir, Rishi’s charming persona was enough to sway his audience. Which means he did less and achieved the max.
The poster boy of pyaar thanks to his father Raj Kapoor who portrayed him in different shades. Raju’s teen infatuation in MERA NAAM JOKER (1970) grew into Raja’s passionate romance in BOBBY (1973) and after nine years found purpose, acceptance as it questioned the caste system & prejudice in PREM ROG (1982).
Way different from the urban ‘Raj’, ‘Rahul’ of Bollywood played by SRK in most of his movies.
Rishi Kapoor in his love stories had encounters with an older woman DOOSRA AADMI co starring Rakhee, pious love with a hearing impaired in SARGAM co starring Jaya Prada, divine love with a widower in PREM ROG co staring Padmini Kolhapure.
From the ongoing routine, Rishi Kapoor would time and again surprise by breaking norms in his love stories and or characters he played.
In between all these, came EK CHADAR MAILI SI (1986) where he is forced to marry the wife of his older brother. Hema Malini plays the unfortunate wife and Kulbhushan Kharbanda is the alcoholic husband and Rishi’s elder brother in the movie.
Apart from the above mentioned diversities in Rishi Kapoor’s overall acceptance and love by is audience, his directorial debut was also different. AA AB LAUT CHALE – call for abroad based Indians to come back home starring Akshay Khanna and Aishwarya Rai.
Rishi Kapoor perhaps holds the record for being a part/co star of the launch/debut of more than 10 actresses!!. Incredible.
Dimple Kapadia (BOBBY)
Tabu (PEHLA PEHLA PYAR)
Kaajal Kiron (HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN)
Ranjeeta (LAILA MAJNU)
Shoma Anand (BAROOD)
Jaya Prada (SARGAM – her first Hindi movie)
Zeba Bakhtiar – HENNA (her first Hindi movie)
Ashwini Bhave – HENNA (her first Hindi movie),
Radhika NASEEB APNA APNA (her first Hindi movie)
Divya Bharati DEEWANA (her first Hindi movie)
The era called Rishi Kapoor ended today Rishi Kapoor breathed his last today morning at Mumbai’s HN Reliance Hospital. The legend died after a two-year long battle with leukemia. Rishi Kapoor is survived by his wife Neetu Singh and children, Ranbir Kapoor and Riddhima Kapoor Sahni.
As I write this, Riddhima, who is based in Delhi, has reportedly left from Delhi to Mumbai, she will be travelling 1400 miles to Mumbai to attend her father’s funeral.
As the nation is under a lockdown to stop the spread of the fatal coronavirus. Riddhima has reportedly sought a movement pass from South-East Delhi DCP to be able to attend her father’s last rites.
According to a statement issued by the Kapoor family, Rishi Kapoor will be cremated at the Chandanwadi Crematorium, Marine Lines, in Mumbai.
Rishi Kapoor left peacefully with a smile on his face today at 8.45 am. The official statement released by Rishi Kapoor’s family says that Rishi remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest right through two years of treatment across two continents. He would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.
As I conclude this line from the song “Mein Shayar Toh Nahin” haunts me again and again Sochta hoon agar main dua maangta, (I’m thinking that if I prayed to God), Haath apne uthakar main kya maangta(What would I ask for lifting my hands)
At present we all will wish Rishiji comes back again as Monty from KARZ and asks us, “ Hey!… kabhi tumne kisi se pyar kiya?
But fate has something else to say, sometimes the script written by God gets shockingly unpredictable and extremely sad. All we can say is Om Shanti Om.. Shanti Shanti Om…
RIP Rishi Kapoor our loving Monty, Dev, Bobby, Raju, Babulal (did I hear a whistle)…