Remembering Rishi Kapoor: The romantic's romantic
On Rishi Kapoor’s 68th birth anniversary, we look back at the star's eventful life and illustrious career.
Born on September 4, 1952, in Mumbai, Rishi Kapoor was a man who was in love with all things cinema. And therefore, it is no surprise that when he professed love to his sweetheart in Bobby, a nation fell in love with him.
“Acting was in my blood and there was simply no escaping it,” Kapoor wrote in his autobiography Khullam Khulla, describing his growing up years in a household that was living and breathing cinema. His grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor, father Raj Kapoor, and uncles Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor were legendary figures in the Hindu film industry. And soon, Rishi Kapoor joined his brothers Randhir and Rajiv to become an actor too.
His first full-fledged role came in 1970 as the lead in his father's Mera Naam Joker. The movie fetched him the National Film Award for Best Child Artist.
But it is his debut as a leading man in Bobby opposite debutant Dimple Kapadia that captured the imagination of the nation. The film was a roaring success and despite a career laden with the customary ups and downs, the audience continued to stay in love with Bollywood's romantic heart-throb.
However, it would be unfair to the legacy of Kapoor to overlook his versatility. Even as he danced like a dream and sang like a hero, Kapoor did not shy away from dabbling in comedies, thrillers, historicals and socially themed dramas that were way ahead of their time.
After 25 years as a leading man, Kapoor deftly stepped into the shoes of a character artist, lending his weight to author-backed roles. He played pimp and patriarch with equal finesse, and proved just as dependable in 2020 as he was in 1970.
Despite an arduous battle with leukaemia, Kapoor had shot some portions of his comeback film, Sharmaji Namkeen, in Delhi in February, 2020 and was waiting to begin shooting for the Hindi remake of Hollywood comedy The Intern.
But on April 30, at the age of 67, Kapoor lost his two-year battle with cancer. In a statement, his family had said that he kept the hospital staff ‘entertained’ even in his last moments, and having witnessed the charm and talent of Rishi Kapoor we would have not expected anything else.
Watch Asiaville's tribute to the actor here: