Rishi Kapoor: Super Star Passed Away
Rishi Kapoor belonged to the illustrious Kapoor lineage. His grandfather, Prithviraj Kapoor, is counted as one of the pillars of Indian cinema. The status of his father, Raj Kapoor, is no less high. His uncles Shashi Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor too are considered icons in the film industry. Like most Kapoor men, Rishi’s screen life started quite early. He appeared as a toddler in the song Pyar hua iqrar hua hai from Shree 420 (1955). Rishi made his debut as a child artist in his father Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker (1970), playing his father’s younger self. The film was feted by the critics but was a commercial disaster. The story goes that Raj Kapoor needed a quick hit to tide over the financial loss created by his magnum opus. He made a teenage romance starring his son Rishi and newbie Dimple Kapadia. Bobby (1973) turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the banner, not only clearing away debts but turning in a handsome profit as well. Dimple and Rishi were soon flooded with offers but she gave up all that for marriage with superstar Rajesh Khanna. Rishi won the Filmfare Best Actor trophy for his performance in Bobby. He won the Filmfare Critics’ Best Actor Award for his performance as a middle-aged father yearning to buy his own car for Do Dooni Chaar (2011) and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actor trophy for his role in Kapoor and Sons (2016) as well. He was bestowed with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
After Bobby’s success, Rishi came to be counted as a saleable star. Filmmakers wanted to cash in on his chocolate boy image and wrote roles especially for him. Hits like Khel Khel Mein (1975), Rafoo Chakkar (1975) — based on Some Like It Hot (1959). Both he and Paintal appeared in drag in the film, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977) bolstered his image. The young stud was linked to his heroines like Shoma Anand, Ranjeeta and Neetu Singh off-screen too and his playboy image was played up to bolster the ticket sales. He had come close to Neetu Singh during the making of Khel Khel Mein. She became his friend and confidante. The couple tied the knot in 1980. They had one of the most successful Bollywood marriages going and were blessed with son Ranbir and daughter Riddhima.
Rishi tried to break his chocolate boy image with films like Subhash Ghai’s Karz (1980), a reincarnation drama and Ek Chaddar Maili Si (1986), directed by Sukhwant Dhadda, an arthouse kind of drama, based on Rajinder Singh Bedi’s classic novella of the same name. The book won a Sahitya Akademi Award. Rishi plays a man forced by customs to marry his widowed sister-in-law, played by Hema Malini. But his lover-boy image refused to leave him. He continued to romance young girls till Karobaar (2000). But the effort was showing. He tried his hand at direction with Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999) but the film starring Akshaye Khanna and Aishwarya Rai failed to make a profit.
Rishi finally said yes to character roles and showed his mettle in films like Hum Tum (2004), Fanaa (2006), Dilli 6 (2009), Do Dooni Chaar (2010), where he appeared with wife Neetu Singh after more than 25 years. He appeared in a rare negative role in Agneepath (2012) and was admired for it. He broke another taboo by appearing as a gay character in Student Of The Year (2012). The actor was revelling in author-backed roles which were denied to him earlier. He played Dawood Ibrahim in D-Day (2013) and appeared as Amitabh Bachchan’s 76-year old son in 102 Not Out (2018). Both he and Amitabh were doing a film together after more than 20 years and it was an emotional reunion for them. His performance in Mulk (2018), where he played a Muslim lawyer, too won him accolades.
Rishi Kapoor was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and went to New York City for treatment. After successful treatment for over a year, Rishi Kapoor returned to India in September in September 2019. He had been unwell many a times since then and was admitted to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday night. He passed away on 30 April 2020 (Thursday morning) .