One of the finest actors of the country, Rishi Kapoor passed away last year at the age of 67. Known for his great contribution to the Indian cinema, the veteran actor died after a two-year-long battle with cancer.
The veteran actor has left behind a legacy of some of his iconic movies. We still remember him for his extraordinary work. On his birth anniversary, let us take a look at how Rishi Kapoor won the hearts of millions.
Born on 4 September 1952, the star was born in one of the most prestigious families, the Kapoor family. Being the second son of the ace actor-film director Raj Kapoor and grandson of actor Prithviraj Kapoor, Rishi had acting skills in his blood. His mother, Krishna Raj gave birth to him at Chembur, Bombay. The actor has a large Punjabi family with most members including, son Ranbir Kapoor, wife Neetu Kapoor, his brothers, Randhir Kapoor, paternal uncles, Shashi Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor working in the film industry.
Due to Rishi Kapoor's family background, doors of the film industry was wide open for him. But, it was his passion and hard work that made him a star, who ruled on the hearts of his fans. He landed his first-ever role in his father Raj Kapoor's movie Shree 420 at the age of 3. It was a small role, wherein he was seen in the famous song Pyaar Hua, Iqraar Hua. In the video of the song, he was seen walking through the rain with 2 other small children. He got his first actual role in 1970, again in one of his father's blockbuster flicks, Mera Naam Joker. He appeared as the young Raj Kapoor. While all these were under the shadow of his father, Rishi was cast as the main lead opposite Dimple Kapadia in Bobby in the year 1973. Rishi garnered much appreciation for his work in the film, whose song is still much popular among the fans.
While most of us know him as the star, who delivered several chartbuster movies, the truth is he gave around 40 flop films out of 51 films in which he was the solo lead hero. This means only 11 films managed to be blockbusters. However, this was only from 1973 to 2000. The list of his hit flicks includes his debut film Bobby, Laila Majnu, Rafoo Chakkar, Sargam, Karz, Prem Rog, Nagina, Honeymoon, Chandni, Heena, and Bol Radha Bol, Yeh Vaada Raha.
Rishi Kapoor, or as we lovingly know him as Chintu Ji made even the supporting roles look like the main character. There are many super hit films that couldn't have been turned out to be a great success as it is without his powerful supporting character. He switched from playing the lead character to supporting somewhere around the 2000s. He proved his acting prowess by appearing in amazing films such as Yeh Hai Jalwa, Saif Ali Khan-starrer Hum Tum, Aamir's 2006 hit film Fanaa, Namastey London, Love Aaj Kal, and Patiala House, wherein he was seen alongside his debutant actor Dimple Kapadia. However, he was reunited onscreen with his wife Neetu Kapoor in the film Do Dooni Chaar in 2010. He was also seen playing some powerful negative roles. 102 Not Out, a comedy-drama film directed by Umesh Shukla, turned out to be his last film.
The chocolate boy of the Indian cinema was conferred with several awards during his long Bollywood career. Starting from the National Film Award he received for his debut role as a child artist in his father's Raj Kapoor's 1970 film Mera Naam Joker, he went on to achieve the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor in 2011. For his role in Kapoor & Sons, starring Alia Bhatt, Fawad Khan, and Sidharth Malhotra, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2017. One of the biggest achievements of his career was receiving the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Rishi Kapor tied the knot with actress Neetu Singh in 1980 by throwing a grand wedding at the prestigious Bombay Presidency Golf Club in Chembur on January 22. The couple, who is loved by all, have two children Riddhima Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor together. While their daughter is a fashion designer, their son is a famous Bollywood actor. Rishi was also the dear paternal uncle of ace actresses Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor.
Rishi Kapoor Relationship With Neetu Kapoor
This duo was a celebrated Bollywood couple considering that the love and passion of Rishi and Neetu was as good on screen as was off it. They both worked together in around 15 films, including Kabhi Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Doosra Aadmi, Khel Khel Mein, and many other projects. The veteran actor and Neetu Singh's love story dates back to 1974 when they were cast opposite each other for the first time in Puttanna Kanagal's Zehreela Insaan. In the beginning, the two were very close friends. Rishi used to share his secrets and other stories with the actress. After a few ups and downs, Rishi and Neetu began dating in 1975.
Despite them being one of the most loving couples of the Bollywood industry, not many people are aware of the fact that there was a time when they were supposed to take a divorce from each other. The reason for their trouble was Rishi Kapoor's drinking habit. As per the media reports, Rishi Kapoor also raised his hand on Neetu many times. After which she took the step and filed a domestic violence case against Rishi Kapoor. Neetu also left Rishi's home and opened a saloon.
Rishi Kapoor Relationship With Son Ranbir Kapoor
Rishi Kapoor's relationship with his son Ranbir was not always good. The father and the son have been quite open about it and talked about it on a few occasions. The bond between them only improved after the veteran fell sick and was diagnosed with cancer. While Ranbir shared a few incidents which made him feel scared of his father, Rishi also admitted of "screwing up" his equation with his son, according to the media reports. In 2015, during an interview with one of the leading news dailies, Rishi talked about how poorly he and his wife Neetu took Ranbir’s decision to move out of the family home, and live with his then-girlfriend, Katrina Kaif.
"I know I’ve screwed up my relationship with Ranbir even though my wife kept telling me about what I was doing. It’s now too late to change it; both of us will not be able to adjust to the change. It’s like there’s this glass wall, we can see each other, we can talk, but that’s it. He doesn’t live with us anymore, which is also a very big setback to Neetu and me. We’re building a new home where there will be a lot of places for him and his family. Till then, life goes on," said Rishi.
Rishi Kapoor Relationship With Father Raj Kapoor
For Rishi, Raj Kapoor was both his father and guru. While Raj Kapoor taught him all about acting, he also learned a few other life lessons from his father. Rishi was also honest about his father's extramarital affairs. Talking about Raj Kapoor's affairs, Rishi shares, "I was very young when my father had an affair with Nargis ji, and so was not affected by it. I don’t remember feeling anything was amiss at home either. But I do remember moving into the Natraj Hotel on Marine Drive with my mom during the time Papa was involved with Vyjayanthimala. My mother had decided to put her foot down this time. From the hotel, we shifted for two months into an apartment in Chitrakoot. My father had bought the apartment for Mom and us. He did all he could to woo her back, but my mother wouldn’t give in until he had ended that chapter of his life."
Before marrying Neetu, Rishi Kapoor also dated actress Dimple Kapadia. But after his father's denial, the actor ended his relationship with Dimple. As per the reports, the veteran star was crazy about his debutant co-star and so was Dimple. While it is not clear whether Dimple knew anything about Neetu's importance in Rishi's life, but the two youngsters enjoyed a brief romance while working together.
Rishi Kapoor disclosed about his first steady and serious girlfriend, who was a Parsi girl, Yasmin Mehta. They both were together much before Bobby was out. "By the time Bobby was released in 1973, Stardust, which was the most popular magazine of its time, published a story about a budding romance between Dimple and me. Dimple, who by this time was already married to Rajesh Khanna, was not greatly affected by it. But it put an end to my relationship with Yasmin, I tried hard to get her back in my life, but she did not agree," wrote Rishi in his book khullam khulla.
It was 2018 when the original chocolate boy of the Indian cinema was diagnosed with cancer. He then went to New York, USA to receive the best of the best treatments. He stayed there for more than one year, during which many Bollywood celebrities including, Deepika Padukone, Anupam Kher, and many others paid him a visit. He returned to India in 2020, after which he was again hospitalised in New Delhi in early February, while on a visit to New Delhi.
His memoir also talks about his battle with depression. While every actor faces stardom and failures in their career, Rishi was no exception. In his memoir, the veteran actor expressed his high expectations from his Bollywood career post the release of his first film Bobby, which was a blockbuster. He more or less blamed his wife Neetu for not being able to deliver great chartbuster films. “Neetu was pregnant with Riddhima and had to endure my breakdown in that fragile condition. I finally came through it with the help of supportive colleagues, family, and friends, but I can only imagine how agonizing the experience must have been for her,” he said, as per the media reports.
Rishi Kapoor was known for his temper. He often was seen screeching and shouting at the paparazzi and posting controversial tweets. Often he was trolled brutally and used to quit Twitter, and then return. While he was an extremely entertaining person, he sometimes used Twitter to share anecdotes, opinions, trivia, and admonishments. However, his last tweet was sweet, wherein he appealed not to attack medical workers and the police. "We have to win this Coronavirus was together," he tweeted.
His Issues With Amitabh Bachchan
The star who seems devasted by Rishi Kapoor's death shared some professional issues with the veteran, about which Rishi talked about in his book, khullam khulla. The problem was with the roles that Rishi thought were specifically written for Amitabh Bachchan. Not only this but he also thought, Amitabh was credited for the success of all his films. "To go back to Amitabh, I must confess here is still a lingering issue I have with Amitabh Bachchan. A big disadvantage of working in an all-star movie in those days was that everybody only wanted to make action films, which automatically meant that the star who could carry off action with the most flair would get the meatiest part. That’s how, with the exception of Kabhi Kabhie, which was a romantic film, none of the multi-starrers I featured in had an author-backed role for me. And it wasn’t just me. Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna faced it too. Although we may have been smaller stars, we were not lesser actors. But this is something that Amitabh has never ever admitted to, in any interview or book. He has never given due credit to the actors who have worked with him," said Rishi.
Buying A Film Award
It was because of the cold war that was between the megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, that the veteran took this step. But, he was also honest about buying the award and called himself "naïve" for taking such a step. "I think that Amitabh was sulking because I had won the best actor award for Bobby. I am sure he felt the award was rightfully his for Zanjeer, which released the same year. I am ashamed to say it, but I actually ‘bought’ that award. I was so naïve. There was this PRO, Taraknath Gandhi, who said to me, ‘Sir, tees hazaar de do, toh aap ko main award dila doonga.’ I am not the manipulative sort but I admit that I gave him the money without thinking," he said.
The late actor was all set to work alongside Deepika Padukone in an official Hindi remake of the 2015 Hollywood film The Intern. While Deepika is said to essay the role of Anne Hathaway in the remake, Rishi Kapoor was to play the role originally essayed by Robert De Niro. Rishi was looking forward to working with Deepika. “The Intern is a very relevant film for the present-day Indian workplace milieu and it showcases human relationships beautifully. I am very excited to be working with Deepika and being a part of this heart-warming story. It is great that Warner Bros. and Azure are officially making this film in India,” he said in a statement given to the media.
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