This week would have seen Rishi Kapoor, one of Indian cinema’s finest actors celebrate his 68th birthday. The veteran actor, who passed away in April earlier this year after suffering from leukaemia, had more than 150 films to his credit. BizAsiaLive.com looks back at his journey as we pay tribute to the life of the superstar.
Born in the illustrious first family of Bollywood, to the legendary actor Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor made his debut in the industry in 1970 in his father’s film ‘Mera Naam Joker’. He followed this up with his first film as lead artist in the blockbuster ‘Bobby’ (1973). Portraying the roles of a romantic lead led to Kapoor cementing his place in Hindi cinema as the ‘Chocolate Hero’. At a time when a majority of films were all action and angst, Rishi Kapoor stood out for his charming and quixotic characters in films such as ‘Khel Khel Mein’ (1975), ‘Kabhi Kabhie’ (1976), ‘Hum Kissi Se Kam Nahin’ (1977), ‘Sargam’ (1979) and ‘Karz’ (1980).
Kapoor in his autobiography, Khullam Khulla, spoke of his battle against the wave of Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan – two of cinema’s stalwarts – in order to carve his own niche. Yet from the very beginning till the early 1990’s, he stood his ground against all challenges. At the turn of the century however, a new generation of superstars such as Hrithik Roshan, Vivek Oberoi and Shahid Kapoor were introduced to the industry whilst the Khan’s (Salman – Shahrukh – Aamir) were still enjoying consecutive successes at the box office. After a brief break from films, Kapoor felt ready for what he described as his “second innings”.
Choosing to become a character actor thereafter, Kapoor had allowed himself the luxury of being very selective with the roles he accepted. Gaining critical acclaim for films such as ‘Luck By Chance’ (2009), ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ (2010) , ‘Agneepath’ (2012), ‘D-Day’ (2013) and ‘Kapoor & Sons’ (2016), Kapoor was nominated four times for the ‘Filmfare Best Supporting Actor’ award during this period, winning it twice.
In 2018, Rishi Kapoor was diagnosed with cancer forcing him to travel and undergo treatment for the disease in New York. Having successfully completed his treatment, the actor had returned to India after almost 12 months away hoping to finish off some pending projects, including the currently unreleased ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ co-starring Juhi Chawla. However, after experiencing difficulties breathing, he was admitted into hospital where he passed away following complications from his battle against leukaemia.
Despite his untimely death, Kapoor will continue to be remembered for the incredible prowess he possessed, ensuring his legacy lives on through the countless memorable roles he brought alive onto the big screen.
– Written by Kirat Raj Singh