Even as the country was still mourning the loss of Irrfan Khan, another cinema legend, Rishi Kapoor, died on April 30. The actor passed away at the age of 67 after battling leukemia (blood cancer) for two years.
Fondly known as Chintu, Rishi Kapoor left the mortal world with the diverse characters he played – ranging from one end of the emotional continuum to another – in almost 50 years in the Indian film industry.
He had started his career as a child artiste in 1970 with Mera Naam Joker , playing the younger role of his father Raj Kapoor, one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema.
Later, he debuted with Dimple Kapadia in a quintessential romantic film Bobby, which was, one could say, a rough adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in the Indian setting. Bobby is remembered by its music even today, where the young debutantes are seen romancing in the iconic song Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Hon.
It was then that Rishi Kapoor became a heartthrob; a man every young woman at the time wanted to fall in love with.
From the Vicky of Kabhie Kabhie, who was the perfect beau for Pinky (Neetu Singh), to Ravi of Saagar, who is a more mature, multi-layered character, Rishi Kapoor complemented his co-stars well.
Akbar in Amar Akbar Anthony is probably one of his greatest hits, where he lent the film the right amount of delicacy, and his character and impish charm.
Directed by showman Raj Kapoor, Prem Rog is often touted as one of the most romantic films of the 80’s, with Rishi Kapoor as Dev driving the audience to tears and making them smile all at once.
His angelic looks, mischievous eyes and charming dialogue delivery often got him to play the lead roles of the romantic hero, but Rishi Kapoor’s versatility compelled him to play characters of intense villains, which he performed even better.
The first that comes to mind is the towering Rauf Lala in Agneepath. Rishi Kapoor played the character of a gangster, who indulged in trafficking young girls, with such finesse that he made you hate him.
In Bol Radha Bol, Chintu ji played a double role – a decent businessman Kishen Malhotra, and the classic villain Tony Braganza.
He played wanted gangster Iqbal Seth in D-Day, which also starred Iffran Khan, who left for his heavenly abode a day before.
Him as Murad Ali Mohammed almost implanted a dilemma in the audience while convincing the judge of his innocence in his thought-provoking Mulk.From a doting father in Hum Tum; to a sex-obsessed grandfather who keeps preparing for and playing his death in Kapoor & Sons, Rishi Kapoor matured like old wine. In fact, he had once said, “Given my lifestyle, I won’t live that long. But people say, if I do, I will look like my character Dadu in Kapoor & Sons. Though I hope I don’t behave like him – a spoilt kid.”