Rishi Kapoor – one of the most romantic personalities of Bollywood.
Rishi Kapoor, born on September 4th, 1952 can be considered as one of most romantic heroes who glorified bollywood during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. As he inherited the grand legacy left behind by Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor, he had a great challenge of matching the performance of his father, uncles and grandfather who had entertained the Indian filmlovers for the last 60 years. He showed his acting potential while playing the younger stage of Raj Kapoor in the film Mera Naam Joker, 1971.
But his romantic image was created in the film Bobby, 1973, where Raj kapoor introduced stories relating to teenage romance and both Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia established themselves as romantic actors of that age. Rishi Kapoor also received film fare award for best performance in the film. Typically in the mid seventies, a lot of producers and directors got inclined to make anti-establishment films where Amitabh Bacchan, (in Deewar, Sholay, 1975), Shatrugun Sinha (in Kalicharan), Vinod Khanna (in Khoon Pasina), raised voice against the evil practices of society. All these actors had strong personalities and their performances were well appreciated by film lovers across India. In the same period, whenever producers and directors thought about launching romantic characters name of Rishi Kapoor automatically came in their mind.
In Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977, Rishi Kapoor balanced the personality of Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bacchan’s sense of humour, with his image of singer. His lips in the songs “parda hai parda”, “shirdiwali saibaba” sung by Mohammad Rafi and composed by Laxmikant Pyarellal stands out as some of the best lips ever given in bollywood films. Rishi Kapoor developed the capability of giving brilliant lips in qawallies, which are not easy to sing. No other hero before Rishi Kapoor, had popularised qawallies the way he had done. Rafi’s qawalli in the film Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahi, 1977, titled “hai agar dushman zamana gham nahi gham nahi”, and Shailendra Singh’s qawalli “zamane ko dikhana hai” in the film Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, composed by RD Burman gave the impression before the film lovers that it was Rishi Kapoor who was singing. He also contributed in the musical competition in the film Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi, where Rafi, Kishore and RD Burman sang a number of songs.
In the film Sargam, 1979, Rishi Kapoor played the dafli opposite Jaya Prada, to perfection and the songs of the film including “koel bole”, “dafliwale daflibaja”, “ramjiki nikli sawari” entertained the film lovers with the romantic story. In Karz, 1980, Rishi Kapoor’s performance transformed the murder mystery created by Subhas Ghai, into a musical blockbuster, as his lips in the songs “darde dil, darde jigar” sung by Rafi and “Om Shanti Om” sung by Kishore Kumar, entertained the filmlovers.
It was due to Rishi Kapoor, the producers showed the courage of picturising a romantic story like Laila Majnu, 1977, in the background of middle east countries, where Rafi’s songs like “tere dar pe aya hoon”, “barbad muhobbat ki dua saath liye ja”, etc., were all superhits. In the 80s, Rishi Kapoor provided decent performance opposite Dilip Kumar in the film Duniya, where Dilip Kumar took revenge against the perpetrators of crime who ruined his life. In films like Saagar, 1985, Rishi Kapoor balanced the strong performance of Dimple Kapadia and Kamal Hassan in a film related to tripartite affair. The exotic location of seashores, colourful costumes and decent acting was the hallmark for success of the film Saagar. Films like Sitamgar, Chandni, Bol Radha Bol, etc.,were also successful. His performance in Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog and Henna produced under RK Banner is worth mentioning.
In the 90s also he made his presence felt in films like Damini, where the story was based on the bravery showed by a middle class housewife in unfolding the truth relating to evil practices taking place in a rich family. Rishi Kapoor had to balance the strong performance of Meenakshi and Sunny Deol in a film which had depicted crude realities of life. With the arrival of new stars in bollywood, Rishi Kapoor switched over to character roles. The biggest victory of Rishi Kapoor lies in the fact that he created his own style of acting without imitating Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor or Shashi Kapoor. Further the strong dominance of Amitabh Bacchan as angry young man did not affect Rishi Kapoor’s romantic image and filmlovers loved to see both of them in films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Kabhi Kabhi, Naseeb, Coolie, Ajooba, etc. With the debue of his son Ranbir Raj Kapoor (this was the actual name of Raj Kapoor) in the film Sawaaria, there is lot of expectation of the film lovers of strong performance from his next generation as the Kapoors are probably the only family in Indian filmworld where the 4 generations have contributed to the development of bollywood films and kept their mark in all aspects of film including acting, direction, production, etc. Rishi Kapoor’s films should be restored to show the film lovers the art of doing justice to good songs created in good locations and proper display of characters of romantic stories.