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Rishi Kapoor Indian cinema

Tracing Rishi Kapoor’s contribution to Indian cinema

April 30, 2020

Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor passed away on Thursday morning, battling cancer at the age of 67 years. Rishi Kapoor, who debuted as a child actor in his father Raj Kapoor’s film, Mera Naam Joker in 1970 was popularly known as Bollywood’s romantic hero and a powerhouse of talent. He’s played lead roles as a romantic hero in 92 films from 1973 to 2000. His last released movie was The Body, a remake of the eponymous Spanish mystery thriller. Also starring Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala and Vedhika, it released in December 2019. He was working on the movie Sharmaji Namkeen with Juhi Chawla when he passed away.    

Kapoor, known by his nickname Chintuji, has played diverse roles throughout his career from being a romantic hero in films like Bobby (first lead character in 1973), Chaandni (1989), Prem Rog (1982), Bol Radha Bol (1992) to character roles later in his career in films such as Hum Tum (2004), Fanaa (2006), Namastey London (2007), Love Aaj Kal (2009) and Patiala House (2010). He reunited with his wife and actor Neetu Singh onscreen in the film Do Dooni Chaar and Besharam which also starred their son Ranbir Kapoor. In 102 Not Out, a comedy-drama released in 2018, he played the role of a 76-year-old son of Dattatraya Vakharia, a 102-year-old man played by Amitabh Bachchan under the directorial of Umesh Shukla. Bachchan and Kapoor shared screen space together after 27 years in this film.  

Kapoor won several accolades for his immense talent and exemplary contribution to Indian cinema. His first film Bobby in which he played the lead role fetched him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor in 1974. He received the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for Mera Naam Joker where he played the younger version of his father Raj Kapoor. He was also honoured by the Russian government for his contribution to cinema. Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor was awarded to him for Do Dooni Chaar, a film where he played a teacher from a middle-class family who is trying to make his family happy by fulfilling their dream of buying a car. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 58th National Film Awards in 2011. Kapoor also won the best actor in a supporting role award of Filmfare and Zee Cine Awards for the drama Kapoor and Sons. He also won Zee Cine Award for the best actor in a comic role for Kapoor and Sons where he played the role of a grandfather in a dysfunctional family. Kapoor was also felicitated by Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and General V K Singh at the inauguration of the BRICS Film Festival in 2016. He released his autobiography titled Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored, in January 2017.

Kapoor was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018 and was undergoing treatment in New York City. Following a year-long treatment in New York, he returned to India in September 2019. After complaints of breathing difficulty, he was admitted to Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai on 29 April 2020 and passed away the following day at 8.45 am. Medical staff reported that he kept them all entertained till he breathed his last. His demise is indeed a huge loss to Indian cinema. 

Also read: From Hindi Medium to Piku: Irrfan Khan movies to watch with your family

Akhila Damodaran

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