Rishi Kapoor, a shining star across generations

The evergreen heartthrob turned versatile actor

Cinema

April 30, 2020

/ By / Kolkata

In less than 24 hours Irrfan Khan’s co-actor joined him in the final resting place while the entire fandom across generations beyond borders is left speechless and in utter shock. Rishi Kapoor, the evergreen chocolate boy, and the son from the famous Kapoor dynasty of Bollywood died at a Mumbai hospital. He was 67 and was suffering from bone marrow cancer.

It was never an easy task for a child from a family to make his own mark in the film industry, where almost every other member is a superstar, and the patriarch of the family is considered the god of Indian cinema! Kapoor family kids, especially the boys also had very little choices but to avoid the attraction of the fandom and popularity their family elders enjoyed and Rishi was no exception to that.

But it was a time of angry macho heroes who were ruling the scene and Rishi Kapoor with his somewhat next-door boy soft look, more similar to his uncle Shashi Kapoor, who was also considered urban women’s favourite, tried his luck in films. His initial small performance in Mera Naam Joker (1970), his father Raj Kapoor’s cult film was appreciated much later; while it was the blockbuster young adult movie Bobby (1973) against Dimple Kapadia that made him a youth icon of India.

Though Rishi was cast in many movies as lead, but he was also known for appearing in superstar-led films where he was offered a second lead. It was a very tough call for an acclaimed hero to accept a second lead next to Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna or others. Once he said, “I was signed in a film to bring in romance and music because it was the era of the ‘action’ hero. I would get the raw deal; I often ended up playing the second fiddle to the hero. But it was okay with me… Achha kiya, bura kiya…(Did good or bad) I believe in moving ahead. I enjoyed every film I did; I took a fee for it. I gave it my best.”

He maintained this evolving approach and changed his look and characterisation over the years. In the last few years, he was offered more meaty roles, as he got himself transformed in an outstanding way to suit all kinds of characters. He did excellent work in villainous roles against heroes his son’s age like Hrithik Roshan starrer Agneepath (2012); as a gay professor in Student of the Year (2012) and even portraying gangster Dawood Ibrahim in D-Day (2013) co-starring Irrfan.

Understanding the changing pattern of audience choices, he did not stick to silver screen only and was open to new-age entertainment and moved to Netflix movies and was eager to work with new directors. An outright straightforward person, he had his share of spats with the industry people, but Rishi Kapoor fell under the rare league of actors who worked with three to four generations of legends, heroes and heroines at same ease and maintained equal charm among his fans. He was one of the last of the Mohicans.

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