Fun, Fierce & Flawless.
These words quite fairly encapsulate actor Rishi Kapoor’s persona.
The veteran actor, whose stellar Bollywood performances remain etched in our hearts, passed away in a Mumbai hospital at the age of 67 on April 30. He combated a long battle with cancer.
But it wasn’t just with his brilliant onscreen performances that he won millions of hearts. His quick wit, ability to crack jokes and unmissable charm made him an instant hit even with the youngsters. It was precisely his sense of humour which even the Kapoor family mentioned in its statement. It said, the actor "remained jovial" and "kept doctors entertained till the end." So yes, he would always be remembered with a smile and not with tears.
Rishi was born on September 4 1952 in Mumbai to the Kapoors - the first family of Indian cinema. And the world got to fathom his acting potential when he made his debut as a child actor in his father's films Shree 420 (in 1955) and Mera Naam Joker in 1970.
But it was his first appearance as the protagonist in the 1973 Raj Kapoor film Bobby that had him acknowledged as an overnight star. He was just about 21 when he was referred to as the perfect heir to carry forward Raj Kapoor’s rich legacy.
His looks, his charm, his acting chops and ability to dance – every bit played an instrumental role in turning most of his films – like released during 1980s and 90s into highest Bollywood grossers.
Rishi further strengthened his position as a the ideal lover boy by taking up films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Laila Majnu, Chandni, Saagar, Karz, Prem Rog, Heena, Bol Radha Bol and among many others.
The success of romantic thrillee Khel Khel Mein in 1975 cemented the bond between Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. Besides their crackling onscreen chemistry, their fashion choices which included bell-bottoms, shirts with floral-patters, mini-skirts turned them into fashion icons. They got married in 1980.
With over 100 films to his credit, and after having played the lead for decades, Rishi made his second coming by taking up character roles. During 90s and 2000s, he left an impact in films like Deewana, Damini, Aa Ab Laut Chalein, Fanaa, Love Aaj Kal and Namastey London.
In Agneepath, he dropped his image as a nice man to play a pimp. It was interesting to see how he shared the screen with wife Neetu Kapoor In Do Dooni Chaar and also with son in Besharam.
Even in his later years, he didn’t show any signs to slow down. He reunited with Amitabh Bachchan after three decades in 102 Not Out and Mulk.
While he was last seen in web series the Body on Netflix, his upcoming projects included the Bollywood remake of The Intern.
To call Rishi Kapoor “versatile” is an understatement because he played more types of roles than most actors could ever think of. He had the ability to seamlessly play funny and sweet and distressing and shocking and weird in more than a hundred films, and bag accolades for doing justice to the emotional spectrum.
Rishi Kapoor wasn’t just a superlative star, but also because he is funny, doesn’t hold back his opinion and to an extent he is a true blooded Punjabi.