R.K. Studios on sale: What's the 'price' for that 'joker', Mr Kapoor?

100+ years for Indian cinema, 70 years for iconic R.K. Studio and one Aag (fire) last year that has blown away the Aah (read desire, expression) and burnt the joker and its stage. Today the iconic R.K. Studio that told some of the most memorable stories on Indian celluloid, the studio that was built after securing a loan from a family member by the great Raj Kapoor, is on sale - The R K family, which clam to have given their best shot to preserve the legacy after the death of Raj Kapoor in 1988, have finally given up.

On this huge loss, Rishi Kapoor has been quoted by Mumbai Mirror saying, chhati pe patthar rakkhar, soch samajh kar decision liya hai.(We had to place a stone on our hearts), which is not just a huge loss, it’s the death of a legacy, it’s the death of that ‘joker’, we all love.

It’s not economically viable for us Randhir Kapoor has reportedly said, So, for Bollywood’s first family – The Kapoor’s its not ‘economically viable’ to set up/revive a 70 year old studio into a modern museum of immense historic/nostalgic value?.. it’s tough to believe, the truth is harsh and the irony is shocking with a melancholy that tears your soul. The younger lot of the Kapoor’s – the 35 year old Ranbir Kapoor is a star – he is the dream man for millions of women all over the globe, he is a class actor, has a ‘following’, his latest SANJU has minted 300+ cores!!, The 37 year old Kareena Kapoor is a fashion icon, and an actress with repute, Karishma may not be active but she has been in prominence. Rishi Kapoor is going through his best face as an actor these days. But R.K. Studios cannot be revived?.

To be fair with Kareena and Karishma, they have their priorities, their families. Ranbir is still the most desirable bachelor and has recently tasted the much deserved success that matters the most – a commercial blockbuster like SANJU. Is this not the right time to give R.K. Studios the facelift it needs the most for the sake of our rich film heritage, legacy and history? By keeping Ranbir Kapoor as the face?. According to Kapoor’s, money is the issue, then why not concerned people who claim to be passionate about Indian cinema, other top studio owners, the industry in general get together to save the legacy of India’s first showman – Raj Kapoor.

But the question is what will be saved?. The clown mask of MERA NAAM JOKER, publicity material, the grand piano used in AWARA, SANGAM, probably the ‘The Tramp’ inspired shoes and coat worn by the legendary Raj Kapoor? Those classic mansions seen in RK’s classics, may not be safe?. It was the iconic stage no.1 that got gutted last year.

Who is stopping the Kapoor’s to ask for grants from Government. Other bodies to turn R.K. Studios into a museum which we all deserve?. If the Kapoor’s cannot save it, the industry can and of course the admirers of R.K. why not?. Time for Kapoors to make a call?.

What an irony, things which should be kept in safe archives in well built museums are found gutted in fire due to ‘negligence’. The Kapoor’s call their own studio a ‘white elephant’. Was it the elephant’s fault to be white?. What happened to the cinematic legacy of the great R.K. banner which blended romance, music, entertainment with a socially relevant comment in each of its films be it AWAARA, BOOT POLISH, SHREE 420, JAGTE RAHO, JIS DESH MEN GANGA BEHTI HAI, SANGAM, MERA NAAM JOKER, BOBBY, SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM, PREM ROG, RAM TERI GANGA MAILI. It’s been 19 years, almost two decades; no movie has come under R.K. banner after the disappointment by AA AB LAUT CHALEN. 

It may have been difficult for the Kapoor’s to begin a new film under those circumstances but today the legacy can be saved if worked out properly. We have already lost those iconic studios like Bombay Talkies, Ranjit Studios etc.

The Kapoor’s have the ‘Brahmastra’ of the prints of the movie which is said to be safe, the studio’s canteen that carries tremendous nostalgic significance, Raj Kapoor use to have his sandwiches and ginger tea. Even after the loss of iconic materials in the fire, the studio still carries tremendous historic significance for a cinema aficionados round the globe. Another ‘Brahmastra’ is Ranbir Kapoor, his father Rishi may differ and argue which he did in that Mumbai Mirror report and said that its time for him to concentrate on his career now especially after the ‘market’ recognition for Ranbir post SANJU.

But at what will be the ‘price’ of that ‘joker’ and his ‘stage’ for that buyer who can be a corporate, a builder or anyone. It can take months, years for the best deal, but can anyone justify the ‘price’ of that dream realized by the joker we all loved – Raj Kapoor? And at what ‘cost’- The legacy of Kapoors, The industry, humanity or just a case of unfortunate fate?. The answers are hard to get.

As an admirer of the cinema the great Raj Kapoor has given to us, the legacy, property of RK, his films and his cinema may be legally owned by The Kapoors but it’s a treasure of Indian cinema which deserved better care and protection. The Kapoor’s may have taken their decision but it should be a wakeup call for the Indian film industry and its lovers in general which should come together for a dedicated heritage museum to preserve and celebrate our cinema.

Otherwise, every legendary ‘joker’ will lose the stage..

(The above article is the feeling of the author, the website doesn’t hold any responsibility)

Ranbir Kapoor, Raj Kapoor (image combined for illustration)
Ranbir Kapoor, Raj Kapoor (image combined for illustration)
Raj Kapoor with Rishi, Rajiv and Randhir (image courtesy: rediff)
Raj Kapoor with Rishi, Rajiv and Randhir (image courtesy: rediff)
R.K. Studios Logo
R.K. Studios Logo