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At Write India 2. Write India: Register to participate. Write for Anand Neelakantan. Indu Sundaresan. Nandini SenGupta. Vikas Kumar Jha. Swapna Liddle. Stephen Alter. Shubhrangshu Roy. Count: We have sent you a verification email. To verify, just follow the link in the message. Updated: Apr 30, , IST. The actor had a long battle with cancer, for which he had undergone treatment for close to a year in New York in The legendary actor was full of life and was even shooting for his next film earlier this year, before he fell sick again.
Reports suggest that the actor had a cancer relapse. Rishi Kapoor had penned his first book, which was his memoir titled 'Khullam Khulla' in The memoir is written the Rishi Kapoor way --brutally honest and totally frank.
The 70s romantic hero does not mince words whether it is about his Dad's affairs, his own temptations, crushes on Bollywood actresses, his own quirks that wife Neetu has to put up with, or why his relationship with son Ranbir is not quite how it should be! In honour of the legendary actor, here are some Khullam Khulla facts by Rishi Kapoor taken from his memoir: 1. On his father, Raj Kapoor's, extra-marital affairs Rishi Kapoor honestly admits that Raj Kapoor was involved with other women even while he was married to Krishna Raj Kapoor.
Talking about Raj Kapoor's affairs Rishi shares, "I was very young when my father had an affair with Nargis ji, and so was not affected by it.
My mother had decided to put her foot down this time. From the hotel, we shifted for two months into an apartment in Chitrakoot. My father had bought the apartment for Mom and us. On being madly in love, but not with Neetu!
Rishi Kapoor writes in his memoir that his first steady and serious girlfriend was a Parsi girl, Yasmin Mehta, whom he dated much before Bobby was out. Dimple, who by this time was already married to Rajesh Khanna, was not greatly affected by it.
But it put an end to my relationship with Yasmin, I tried hard to get her back in my life, but she did not agree" says Rishi. Why Rajesh Khanna threw away Rishi's ring "Yasmin Yasmin Mehta, Rishi Kapoor's first girlfriend had presented me with a ring when we were dating, a simple one with a peace sign on it. When we were filming Bobby, Dimple would pull it off and wear it on her finger. She ended up keeping it. When Rajesh Khanna proposed to her, he saw the ring and flung it into the sea near her house in Juhu.
The truth is that I was never in love with Dimple or even infatuated with her," says Rishi Kapoor. Rishi has a bone to pick with Amitabh Bachchan In his memoir Rishi Kapoor says that during his era, roles were specifically written for Amitabh Bachchan and he was credited for the success of all his films, despite the fact that the secondary characters were also superb actors in their own rights.
Putting across his point, Rishi writes, "To go back to Amitabh, I must confess here is still a lingering issue I have with Amitabh Bachchan.
A big disadvantage of working in an all-star movie in those days was that everybody only wanted to make action films, which automatically meant that the star who could carry off action with the most flair would get the meatiest part. He further added saying, "Although we may have been smaller stars, we were not lesser actors.
But this is something that Amitabh has never ever admitted to, in any interview or book. He has never given due credit to the actors who have worked with him. During one such shoot, Rishi Kapoor confesses that he once ended up wearing women's trouser for the shoot!
After the bubbly Bobby, I should have stuck to something similar and not gone for a film so drastically different The one enduring memory of the Zehreela Insaan shoot was the black trouser I had bought from Beirut. I was in the habit of shopping for my costumes and this tight-fitting beauty with flares caught my fancy. In depression, he blamed Neetu for his failures Every actor has to go through his share of ups and downs in his career, so did Rishi.
In his memoir, the veteran actor says that with his first film Bobby being a superhit, his expectations from his other films were quite high but they all bombed at the box-office. By this time he was married to Neetu, not only had he began suffering from depression for his failures but ended up blaming Neetu for them, thus straining their relationship. Rishi almost refused a movie because Neetu's role was more prominent While Rishi Kapoor's film Kabhi Kabhi was a huge hit, the veteran actor says that he had almost rejected the film as his wife Neetu had a more prominent role in the movie.
The second reason was that I felt Neetu had a more prominent role than I did. Naturally, Yash-ji was confused," Rishi shares. But he later agreed to work in the film only after his uncle Shashi Kapoor intervened. Rishi personally never liked his songs Rishi Kapoor is known not only for his acting but for his numerous hit songs too. But the actor, who has given us memorable songs like 'Khullam khulla pyar karenge', 'Dafli wale' and others confessed that he never liked his songs!
I gave Boney an earful, saying what a lousy number it was and wondering how LaxmikantPyarelal could come up with such a number for me. When Neetu felt threatened by Dimple. Visual Stories Right arrow. Only, Rishi Kapoor was and is so much more.
Few actors in Hindi cinema have had this sort of a career arc: from the gawky adolescent pining for his schoolteacher Mera Naam Joker, to the naughty ninety-year-old Kapoor and Sons, , Rishi Kapoor has regaled audiences for close to fifty years. He won a National Award for his debut, became an overnight sensation with his first film as a leading man Bobby, , and carved a niche for himself with a string of romantic musical blockbusters in an era known for its angst-ridden films.
He was the youth icon that is still the toast of the satellite TV circuit. The songs he lip-synced are the bread and butter of all radio stations even today. Then there was the second coming after a brief hiatus in the s as one of the finest actors in mainstream Hindi cinema with powerhouse performances in films like Do Dooni Chaar, D Day, Agneepath and others. This is as up close and personal a biography as any fan could have hoped for. He writes about growing up in the shadow of a legendary father, skipping school to act in Mera Naam Joker, the workings of the musical hits of the era, his streak of rotten luck with awards, an encounter with Dawood Ibrahim, his heroines their working relationship, the gossip and the frisson that was sometimes real , his approach to his craft, his tryst with clinical depression, and more.
A heart-warming afterword by Neetu Singh rounds off the warmest, most dil se biography an Indian star has ever penned. All Books. Children's Books. Picture Book Characters. Even More Interests. And a Few More! Interests A-C. Interests D-M. Interests N-R.
Interests S-Z. Language Learning.
His first role in the lead came with the blockbuster Bobby. Over the last decade, Rishi Kapoor has delivered some of the finest performances of his career in a diverse array of roles.
HarperCollins Labirint Ozon. Khullam Khulla : Rishi Kapoor Uncensored. Rishi Kapoor. Son of a famous father. Father of a famous son. I am the hyphen between them. Only, Rishi Kapoor was and is so much more. He won a National Award for his debut, became an overnight sensation with his first film as a leading man Bobby, , and carved a niche for himself with a string of romantic musical blockbusters in an era known for its angst-ridden films.
He was the youth icon that is still the toast of the satellite TV circuit. The songs he lip-synced are the bread and butter of all radio stations even today. Then there was the second coming after a brief hiatus in the s - as one of the finest actors in mainstream Hindi cinema with powerhouse performances in films like Do Dooni Chaar, D-Day, Agneepath and others.
This is as up close and personal a biography as any fan could have hoped for. He writes about growing up in the shadow of a legendary father, skipping school to act in Mera Naam Joker, the workings of the musical hits of the era, an encounter with Dawood Ibrahim, his heroines their working relationship, the gossip and the frisson that was sometimes real , his approach to his craft, his tryst with clinical depression, and more.
A foreword by Ranbir Kapoor and a stirring afterword by Neetu Singh bookend the warmest, most dil se biography an Indian star has ever penned. While my acting debut as a toddler is well known, few know of a very early foray into Hindi theatre when I was about five years old, as a junior artiste at Prithvi Theatre. That is the closest I have ever come to doing theatre, but I do have the distinction of having worked with my grandfather in that play.
I have no other recollection of my theatre debut. I may have been a reluctant two-year-old actor, but before I turned eighteen, my father had me hooked to the movie business for life. By now I was old enough to know what I was doing, and it is crystal clear in my mind that Joker was when I began to enjoy the film-making process.
For something that would prove to be a pivotal moment in my life, even fetching me a National Award, it began rather undramatically. My father casually handed me the script across the dining table one evening.
The whole family was having dinner together when he asked my mother for permission to let me play the young joker.
Papa assured her that he would shoot my sequences only over weekends, so there would be no question of bunking school. I pictured us taking the Deccan Queen to Pune on Friday evening, filming for two days, and returning by Sunday evening to resume school on Monday.
I could feel the excitement steadily growing, until I could hold it back no longer. I rushed to my room, pulled out a pad from my drawer and furiously started practising my signature, for future autograph hunters!
Shashi Uncle insists that he always knew I would become an actor, from the time I was four years old, because he would see me running to cry before a mirror every time my mother scolded me for being naughty. Perhaps there was some sort of subconscious desire to be an actor. In hindsight, I have to admit that whenever I visited my father on set, I could not stop playing with his makeup, using dark pencils to draw a beard or a moustache on my face and examining the effect in the mirror.
For me there could have been no film institute better than RK Studios. Since film sets were not out of bounds for us, we grew up comfortable in that ambience. The language, the stories and the discussions at home were almost entirely about films. Growing up, our lives revolved around cinema. The studio was like a temple for us, although we were not allowed to visit a set when a shoot was in progress. From very early on, we were also exposed to another side of the acting profession, the seductive, heady and gratifying aspect of it.
I am speaking of the fame and adulation that follows success. We saw it every time my father put a foot out of the door. Any outing would have people gawking at him or rushing to do things for him or requesting him for an autograph. It was incredibly exciting and we grew up revelling in it. But for all the fame that my father brought into our lives, my mother worked hard to keep us grounded and did her best to bring us up like regular children.
My life as a student began after we shifted to our bungalow in Deonar, near Chembur, and became a nuclear family. My school life was fragmented as I went to four different schools and fared badly in all of them. From there I was packed off for a brief stint at boarding school, to Mayo College in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Joker was filmed during my Campion days. Despite the promise made to my mother, from the moment I started filming for the movie, attendance at school and studies receded into the background.
My initial presumption that my part in Joker would be completed over a weekend in Pune was soon dispelled my first shot was actually filmed on a skating rink in Shimla. Decades later, when I returned there to shoot for Student of the Year, I was flooded with memories of those first steps I had taken as an actor. My father fine-tuned my performance by making me rehearse each shot to the last detail before the camera rolled.
I can never forget a scene with Achla Sachdev, who played my mother, in which she had to slap me a few times. Papa instructed her to really get into character and execute the scene as realistically as she could.
We ended up doing eight or nine takes of the scene, by the end of which I was red and blue in the face and weeping copiously. My father was unaffected. But that was him film-maker first, father later.
Mera Naam Joker failed but my debut was applauded. I loved the buzz around it and watching the reaction of my ecstatic family. I was a clueless teenager, so the credit for my performance must undoubtedly go to my father.
I distinctly remember wearing a suit and attending the stiff, formal function in Delhi to receive the award from V. Giri, the President of India at the time. Once I had received the award, I automatically gravitated towards Papa with it. He was overwhelmed.
Back in Mumbai, he packed me off to visit my grandfather for his blessings. Dadaji was ailing then he passed away the following year, in But he was visibly moved as he took the medal in his hand and kissed it. He also warned me sagely that it was only the beginning of what would be a long and difficult trek, and to equip me for it, he narrated the story of a madari, a street acrobat, and his two-year-old son. The madari played the dholak while his wife, with her young son fastened securely to her waist, balanced on a high rope and carefully walked across it.
In acting, as in life, you can never claim to have done it all and rest on your laurels. You are always a student, constantly learning and honing your craft. It is the same passion I saw in my father. He invested all his earnings from cinema in the films he made. It was only after Mera Naam Joker failed that this dawned. And only after the success of Bobby did he buy his own house.
Papa was driven by a zeal that simply could not be dampened. It was his one true and constant companion. The harder he fell, the stronger he bounced back. When Aah flopped, he made Boot Polish with two newcomers, and it became a massive hit. When Mera Naam Joker flopped, he responded with Bobby , once again with newcomers. He took risks, and some paid off while others were epic disasters, but whatever the outcome, they were a testament to his indefatigable spirit. My father was also immensely gifted.
His understanding of music and direction was phenomenal, and he was a brilliant actor too. I feel that Joker is a much misunderstood film. We have a strange approach to comedy in our country, where physical deformities are played for laughs and people slipping on banana peels are a staple. Mera Naam Joker was anything but. It was a deeply philosophical meditation on the joker and what being one entails.
No wonder the audience could not relate to it. Much later, J. Chowksey, a family friend, urged Papa to cut the film to three hours. Eventually, a three-hour version was released to full houses in a number of places. Incidentally, all the cuts pertained to the second and third parts of the film; the first part was left intact.
In fact, Satyajit Ray had initially asked Papa to release the first part which starred me as an independent film, saying that with its lyrical storytelling it would go down as one of the greatest films in the world.
The failure of Mera Naam Joker threw the family into a financial mess. RK Studios was mortgaged and my father faced a number of problems. The film, which was to launch my brother Randhir as a lead actor and on which I was an assistant director AD , was grossly illtimed. India and Pakistan went to war in December and all the evening shows of the film had to be cancelled.
Kal Aaj Aur Kal crashed at the box-office. My father had to think on his feet and quickly make another film to pull RK Studios out of the red. In the early s, Rajesh Khanna was the superstar who ruled the box-office; the other reigning stars included actors such as Sharmila Tagore. Any one of them would have given their right arm to work with Raj Kapoor. Manoj Kumar and Dharmendra, who had worked in Joker, offered to work for free in any new film he announced. Love stories of that era were built around mature lead actors in their thirties.
Sathe, and once that was ready, the hunt began to find a girl for the title role. Contrary to popular belief, Bobby was never meant to launch me as a lead actor. The opening shot did not have me riding a motorcycle or a horse, nor were any scenes written to showcase me as an actor. For my father, a movie was about telling a story, and the story always came first. Personal relationships were never allowed to get in the way. During the filming of Bobby, Dimple became like a part of my family.
Despite all the ups and downs in my own personal equation with her, she is still close to the Kapoor family. That I was cast in Bobby, one of the biggest box-office successes of , was sheer chance or destiny, perhaps.
Nothing I had done until then had been a runaway success. I failed in my Senior Cambridge exams and then, despite this string of failures, I got the lead part in Bobby! Had I fared well in academics, I may have ended up charting a very different course and gone to England to earn a degree in business administration.
So I had plenty of reasons to stay back too. Everything fell into place when Bobby did stupendous business and the spotlight suddenly turned on me. Dimple had got married before the movie was released, so I ended up benefitting from the full blast of attention. I was just twenty years old and a real brat. That reality hit me only a little later. But not even my extraordinary family legacy could protect me from the realities of life.
After my hugely successful debut as a leading man, there was no magic wand to gift me an unbroken string of blockbuster movies. Bitter disappointment and paralysing defeat awaited me and I could do nothing about it. Bobby was followed by my first flop as a hero, Zehreela Insaan It prompted the question: was Bobby just a flash in the pan? Fortunately, I had begun work on a few other films, and before I could be completely written off, Rafoo Chakkar , a semi-hit, came along and rescued me from certain oblivion.
But since I was made up like a girl for a major part of the film, I could not be endorsed as a bona fide heart-throb whom female fans could swoon over. I had to wait a while longer before I could be emphatically hailed as a romantic lead. It finally happened with Khel Khel Mein , whose phenomenal success ushered me once again into the limelight and established me as a singing, dancing romantic star.
And the best was yet to come. What really swept me to major stardom was Laila Majnu , a spectacular solo success. With that I consolidated my position in the industry and settled down as an actor. Luckily, I was still too young and brimming with spirit to be felled by my setbacks. In fact, the silver lining to all those early failures was that they turned me into a fighter, prepared to stand up to anything that life might throw at me.
If success gave me confidence, the screw-ups humbled me. When I was cast in Bobby, one of my first tasks was to lose weight for the role. Before the film went on the floor and all through its making, my steady girlfriend was a drop-dead gorgeous Parsi girl called Yasmin Mehta. She was my first serious girlfriend. I adored her and used to see her every day. There was a popular slimming centre in Mumbai in the s called Jussawala.
Sanjeev Kumar had enrolled there to lose weight for Love and God released only in after a long and troubled production history. I am a beef-eating Hindu, although my mother did not allow it at home. Yasmin made me change my Punjabi food habits.
She whittled down my diet to a single lean beef steak with salad for every meal and that was what helped me lose weight and get into shape for my big break.
By the time Bobby was released in , Stardust, which was the most popular magazine of its time, published a story about a budding romance between Dimple and me. Dimple, who by this time was already married to Rajesh Khanna, was not greatly affected by it. But it put paid to my relationship with Yasmin. Yasmin was my support system for three years till She lived on Marine Drive in south Bombay while I stayed with my parents in Chembur, a faraway suburb. We grew immensely fond of each other and soon became inseparable.
When I was shooting in Pune for Bobby, I would go to the post office and book lightning calls to talk to her every day. Admittedly, life changed for me after Bobby. I became a huge star and my attitude transformed into one of brash arrogance. Yasmin realized that somewhere along the way I had ceased to be the boy she had liked and dated.
So she did what she thought was right she dumped me. My friends tried to persuade her not to call it off but she was adamant. I thought her decision was unacceptable and tried everything I could to win her back. Immediately after our break-up, I had gone for an outdoor shoot for Zehreela Insaan, to Chitradurga in Karnataka, where I used to get drunk and make my co-star Neetu Singh whom I later married telephone Yasmin and try to cajole her into talking to me.
I would go to the post office and wait for lightning calls to come through. It was cold in Karnataka and the wait was often long. One evening, one of my calls went through at Soon after I returned to Bombay from the shoot, I headed to the Apollo Bar at the Taj Mahal hotel to drown my sorrows in alcohol with two of my close friends, Bittu Anand being one of them. As I entered the hotel I saw Yasmin with a friend of mine whom she was now dating. It completely threw me. The two of them went up to the restaurant, Rendezvous, and we followed and sat a few tables away.
After downing two drinks, I had a bottle of champagne delivered to her table, and she promptly sent me a message through Bittu, asking me to stop making a fool of myself. By this time I was devastated and was drinking heavily too.
Towards the end of the binge, I wound up arguing with the manager of the restaurant. Years later, I met him at the Taj in New York and we reminisced about what had happened that night. The manager threatened to call the cops when I threw my stardom in his face. He was not impressed. Then my assistant Ghanshyam Rohera joined the group.
It was all very unpleasant, but I was too drunk to realize it at the time. The next morning, hung-over but sober, I had a vague recollection of my shenanigans and fervently hoped that I had not misbehaved with Yasmin. But my friend Bittu brought me up to speed soon enough and I could only regret what I had done.
I met Yasmin on a few occasions after that, but by then I had come to terms with our break-up and handled myself with a lot more dignity. She later married a very dear friend of mine. Neetu was always very cordial with her and her untimely death a few years ago saddened me greatly.
Yasmin had presented me with a ring when we were dating, a simple one with a peace sign on it. When we were filming Bobby, Dimple would pull it off and wear it on her finger. She ended up keeping it. When Rajesh Khanna proposed to her, he saw the ring and flung it into the sea near her house in Juhu. The truth is that I was never in love with Dimple or even infatuated with her.
I was probably a little possessive after working with her in Bobby. A day circled on the calendar of every prominent person in the city, and certainly those with ties to the film industry. My mother would be on the phone all week, reminding people about the event. Not that anyone needed reminding it was an occasion they waited for all year.
Our bungalow in Deonar was always party-ready. Mom, dressed in her immaculate white sari, was also always prepared, a hostess extraordinaire, used to entertaining a dozen or more guests every other evening. But the famed Kapoor hospitality had as much to do with Papa as with Mom. He had a thumb rule. The attendance roster was a good gauge of who the rising stars of the day were. My parents would start planning the menu with the caterers months in advance, fine-tuning it until the very end. Parathas and rotis hot off the grill were another speciality of the house.
Black Label whisky, wines and champagnes were stocked. The directive from my father was clear: the bar was never to run out of liquor. While my parents, especially my mother and elder sister, Ritu, bustled around to ensure that everything was flawless, I was busy too. Except it had nothing to do with helping out. Since this was one day when the adults had no time to pay attention to the kids, we had our own little party, away from the bright lights. Smoking on the sly was the high point of the evening.
My buddies and I would collect all the leftover liquor and cigarette stubs, sip and blow smoke and have the time of our lives. On one occasion, just when our kiddie party had really got swinging, my maid caught us. She went straight to Mom and whack! My mother was not one to spare the rod. Another time that I really riled her was when I drank so much milk that I threw up.
Every time I overstepped, I got a smack from her. I grew up surrounded by fame and fortune, was exposed to things most ordinary kids were not.
I was a ridiculously pampered child much more than my siblings Dabboo and Ritu yet I had a more or less regular childhood, much like that of my other classmates. A big part of this was the treats and trips that my parents organized for us, which I looked forward to eagerly. Among the most memorable outings of my school-going years was a drive through the city on Republic Day. More than fifty years ago, Republic Day was a very different affair in Mumbai.
The city and all the major landmarks were beautifully lit up to mark the occasion. Driving around town on 26 January to see the lights was a special outing for most families. As with everything, the Kapoor khandaan did this too in style. The whole clan would get into a truck, along with our security personnel, and weave through Mumbai after sundown.
It was a major thrill for us. Invariably, the Esso building and Mantralaya would be the best-lit monuments. After the war and subsequent curbs on extravagance, this unique celebration of Republic Day was significantly toned down. I remember my early school years as being extremely happy and carefree. He had even chaperoned my uncle Shashi Kapoor when he was a schoolboy.
But we were always aware that Papa was a very important man, largely because of the way people reacted to him wherever we went. Our bus journeys stopped when we started attending Campion School in Colaba, where we were taken by car. I recall with some chagrin that I was the reason why one of our chauffeurs quit his job.
I used to while away the time on the long journey every day from Chembur to Colaba and back by terrorizing my siblings. Dabboo, the eldest, was the calm and collected one, while Ritu was always a mild lamb.
I had a favourite window seat and I bullied everyone else to get it. When my younger sister, Rima, joined us, I found one more hapless victim. I browbeat both my sisters, pulling their braids. Each day, the car turned into a battlefield with constant fights between my sisters and me and sometimes between my two sisters too. Then, one day, the driver had enough. Chintu, in particular, fights all the time. I would take my friends there often.
Our usual order was a coke float a huge glass of cola with a dollop of ice cream on top and something to eat. Not only was I a brat, I was a cheapskate too.
I also started smoking when I was in my last year of school at Campion on the sly, of course. There was a Coca-Cola stand close to the school, run by a man called Ahmed.
Only we were not interested in his Coca-Cola, we wanted cigarettes. We would sneak behind the stand to smoke them. I was petrified of this happening but the poor man never did. In , when I went back to school for an event, Ahmed, who was still there, gave me a big salaam and I hugged him. My dad caught me at it and the result was a stinging slap. I was always on the verge of being thrown out of school and fared miserably in exams. I rarely showed my report card to Papa or Mom.
My father attended a PTA meeting only once in his life, when Campion wanted to rusticate me. This was because I had started acting in Mera Naam Joker and the school had a policy not to allow children to work. Papa pleaded with them to reinstate me and even donated a swimming trophy to the school. Growing up, my father was never around because he was always working.
It was my mother we went to for everything and it was she who made the decisions in the family. We mostly met Papa late at night, at whatever late hour he chose to come home. There was a point in time, when I was a young boy, when his arrival was anything but pleasant.
Those midnight moments haunted me for a long time, although I steadfastly refused to share my feelings with anyone, until now. My father would not only come home very late, but also very drunk. He would rave and rant loudly in his stupor. Our house in Deonar was huge, but haphazardly planned. There were one or two rooms upstairs and a couple on the ground floor. At night, my mother and all the children would sleep in a common room.
From the moment my father staggered home, I would hide under my razai, shivering but alert, my eyes wide open, straining to hear what he was saying or doing. It was only when I heard his voice growing faint, as he moved towards his room, that I would relax and breathe easy. Every day I would wonder what mood or condition he would turn up in at night, dreading the thought of him being drunk and picking a fight with my mother. For a very long time I remained terrified of my father, and I am convinced that this fear sprang from those early drunken scenes.
Although I was just a little boy then, I made a promise to myself that, when I grew up, I would never drink and frighten my kids like that. As I grew older, I began to understand and accept that my father was an exceptionally creative and eccentric man.
Some nights, after drinking, he would go to a buffalo shed to hear the bhaiyas sing. Often, he joined in and even played the drum or the harmonium with them. During Dussehra he would go to Shivaji Park to listen to Bangla songs. Although I like my drink too, I have kept my promise of never frightening my children in a drunken rage, at least not intentionally. My norm has always been to drink, eat and fall asleep. I am not entirely sure when I stopped fearing my father. It may have happened with my own rising stardom.
My father and I had a strange relationship. One day, I remember, soon after I had become a star in my own right, we inadvertently shared a bedroom. I was quite high and wanted to go to the bathroom.
On my way back, in my drunken stupor, I turned right instead of left. Without realizing it, I ended up sleeping next to my father. After all those years of fearing him, I ended up sharing a bed with him! When I finally got over the fear of my father, it was replaced by an indescribable love and respect that just kept growing, especially after I had the opportunity to work closely with him. For me, Raj Kapoor was both father and guru, the person who taught me everything I know about my craft.
As an adult, I shared a few drinks with Papa, but I never smoked in front of him. It was just something that came from a deep sense of respect he knew by then that I smoked. He even smoked on the sly in the hospital when he was seriously ill with chronic asthma. I was very young when my father had an affair with Nargis-ji, and so was not affected by it. My mother had decided to put her foot down this time. From the hotel, we shifted for two months into an apartment in Chitrakoot the building still stands on the curve of Altamount Road.
My father had bought the apartment for Mom and us. In an interview published a few years ago, Vyjayanthimala denied ever having an affair with my father. She claimed that he had manufactured the romance because of his hunger for publicity. I was livid. She had no right to distort facts just because he was no longer around to defend the truth.
When her book hit the stands, several friends in the media contacted me for my reaction and I told them exactly what I thought. With time though, my anger has ebbed. My father lived large and, most of the time, on his own terms.
Holi, too, was a spirited annual affair. My father loved his cinema, his booze, his leading ladies and his work. But for a man legendary for his hospitality, he was very possessive of his whisky. When we started drinking together, for him it was always Johnny Walker Black Label bought in London, while we were served locally procured whisky.
When he passed away, we found heaps of unopened Black Label bottles stashed away in his cupboards. After a shower in the evening, Papa would light an agarbatti. I do that too. My favourite fragrance is Naag Champa and I carry it everywhere I go. Neetu points out that whenever we stay at a hotel, the entire corridor smells good, courtesy my agarbattis. My father was a devotee of Lord Shiva, and performed Shiv aarti every day.
I continue the practice. Many years ago, the legendary singer Asha Bhosle had given my father a pendant of Lord Shiva on one of his birthdays because he was such a great believer. When my father passed away, my mother gave me the pendant. In fact, my mom gave away all his little things. Someone got a watch, another got a pen. My father loved piggy banks, and all the loose change collected from different parts of the world would go into them.
There was one that he had with him all through the making of Bobby. After his death, Dimple started chasing me for it, which I thought was rather sweet and sentimental. He always carried one, though he never drank from it. He also had several high-end watches. Dabboo and Chimpu my brother Rajeev got one each. He also had two or three very rare guns. Today, each of those guns must be worth a fortune. I inherited one of them and it needs special care and cleaning.
During every election, the local police take it away and keep it in their custody. One major difference between Papa and me is in our attitude towards America. I have always loved the US. Ranbir, like me, loves America too.
I need only the slightest of excuses to go there. The fascination goes far beyond the shopping. It is the whole American experience. Papa, on the other hand, was never very fond of America. For him, it was always Russia. And Russia loved him back. He was a huge star in India but he was a demigod there.
The Russians treated him like royalty. Elderly women were so overwhelmed to see him in flesh and blood that they wept and kissed his hand. Young men emulated the Raj Kapoor look. Thousands of people lined the street outside his hotel, waiting for a glimpse of him.
My father himself seemed unaware of how widespread his fame was. When diplomatic relations and protocol were established between India and China in the mids, we learnt to our great surprise that his films, which had been officially sent to Russia, were being shown in China for free.
The Chinese government requested the Indian authorities to send Raj Kapoor to their country on an official visit. Although he was excited to begin with, Papa eventually decided against making the trip. Papa was extremely fond of Chinese food and so is the rest of the family. I did, but I also know that my father felt very proud that I did.
I loved to see him enjoy a good meal with his family around him. Some of the happiest memories of my youth are from the time when I started earning both money and a name for myself and could indulge my parents in a little treat every now and then.
My father was well-pleased that his son was working there while all of them were holidaying. There was one particular trip to New York, after I married Neetu, which turned out to be unforgettable for many reasons. It was I was going there for a stage show while my parents were on holiday. The organizers had booked certain seats especially for me and Neetu but once onboard, my dad insisted on appropriating them. Flying Concorde was an amazing experience, sitting anywhere. Imagine flying from London to New York in three-and-a-half hours!
To welcome us in New York, the organizers of the show had arranged a grand reception. The press were waiting for me with their cameras video cameras had only recently been launched. When we walked out, all the cameras were trained on me and flashlights started popping everywhere. I was embarrassed to see my father being sidelined and insisted that they focus the attention on him instead of me. My father did everything with great pomp and show and that included our wedding ceremonies.
It was a typical Raj Kapoor event that started at Chowksey later told me that something unexpected had happened on my wedding day too. However, that day, she came with Sunil Dutt to attend the ceremony. She was apparently very nervous about attending a Kapoor event after twenty-four years. He is also a romantic. I can understand the attraction.
You have come to my home on a happy occasion and we are here today as friends. We used it years later in the film Henna , which Dabboo eventually directed. However, the film had been entirely conceptualized by my father, who had even started screen-testing girls for the title role.
In Henna, like Bobby, I was once again cast in a film that was named for the lead actress. My father had always wanted a Pakistani girl to play the role and he had even screen-tested an actress from a popular Pakistani television series. But she too had not fit the bill. We found the perfect fit in Zeba Bakhtiar much later, after Papa had passed away, and it turned out just as he had wanted it a girl from Pakistan played Henna. When my father died on 2 June , due to complications related to asthma, Farouq Rattonsey, a friend of mine and a film producer, was informed of his passing by a cab driver in Tel Aviv.
It was a revelation to us that my father was a celebrity even in Israel and that Sangam had run in theatres there for two-and-a-half years. Papa had been in a coma for a month. It did not happen. Dilip Kumar had been visiting his ancestral home in Pakistan when he was informed that Papa was critically ill.
He immediately flew to Delhi to see him. Visitors were not allowed into the ICU but an exception was made for him. You and I used to eat them when we were kids.
It was heart-breaking to watch and I remember telling my mother about it later. Papa and Dilip Kumar were rivals at work but the best of friends in life. That is a rare and precious thing.
They were so close that my father had actually offered him the lead role in Sangam. Bains, who headed the oncology team. The shock was too great for me to react for the first few days. He passed away in Delhi, we brought him to Mumbai, cremated him, and took his ashes to Haridwar. Rajiv Gandhi, the prime minister at the time, had graciously granted us permission to use a chartered aircraft to bring his body to Mumbai.
I was on autopilot through all of this, the enormity of the loss yet to sink in. I was with my uncle, Shashi Kapoor, and brothers Dabboo and Chimpu the day it finally hit me that my father was no more. We were sitting in the dining room where he had once presided over the table so exuberantly, when the grief came crashing down.
Loni was also where a number of movies, including Joker, Bobby, Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Prem Rog , were filmed and the memories were overwhelming. Towards the end of his life, my father sold two stages of RK Studios for a paltry sum. As his sons and heirs, Dabboo, Chimpu and I may not have succeeded in making many films but we have not sold any part of the property. A question I am frequently asked is why none of us has resurrected the RK banner. My answer is simple: times have changed.
India had just got its independence, it was a budding nation, there was so much happening. Can you name one good story that has emerged in the last twenty years in world cinema? But there is nothing to wonder at today, no great writers, sculptors or artists, because there is nothing new to narrate or portray. The West has offered us new ideas in animation and futuristic films but there is little else. There is a void everywhere, not just in RK. I have seen my father lament about the lack of talent in his own time.
Towards the end of his life, he was horrified by how busy actors had become and how wages had shot up, and how little actors were involved in a film as a whole. He was the only actor required for the sequence and since he was also the director, he took off with his cameraman, Radhu Karmakar, with a studio van and a hired truck.
He began to chase the clouds and reached Kolhapur. From there he landed in Belgaum and finally found himself in Ooty.
So what was to be two days of shooting in Thane ended several days later in Ooty, all in search of the perfect shot. We did that during Bobby too. We had originally gone to Kashmir to film just one part of the film. We ended up staying there for a month and a half. There was no problem of dates. It was one big RK family. Everybody was there only for Bobby and nothing else.
By staying on without any constraints, we got the winter and the snow, we got spring with its flowers, and we got the meadows. We got Kashmir in full bloom. Films are just not made like that anymore. After that kind of relaxed film-making, when Papa had to work with actors who doled out a precise number of dates, he found it maddening.
For my dad and his contemporaries, the film-maker was supreme. The film was his baby, his project. My father and Dilip Kumar were both huge stars, but they were petrified when they shot for Andaz. Let me illustrate this with a little example. All his life, my father had a small pit on his face that was caused by a pimple which was badly treated by a doctor.
When that happened, Mehboob Khan actually came to the hospital to see whether Papa was shamming or whether he was really taking time to heal.
Papa was sixty-one years old when he made his last film, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, which became a super hit. He passed away at sixty-four. Today, we are businessmen more than film-makers. Papa was never a nafa-tula businessman who looked only at the profit line.
Over the years, the sprawling RK bungalow in Deonar, with its badly planned rooms, has been rebuilt completely. Spread over two acres of land, it has a separate wing for each of us. Everybody is welcome to treat it as home at any time. Mom often calls us over to visit her in Deonar.
When I was nursing a bad leg a couple of years ago and Neetu was in London, she asked me to stay with her for a couple of days. I love the laad, the affection, she still showers on all of us. I have, of course, stayed over with her on a number of occasions. On 26 July , when there was a cloudburst in Mumbai and the suburbs were flooded, I had to spend the night in Deonar. Dabboo and Chimpu have homes in Pune.
Chimpu, who is the youngest, and I share an uneasy relationship. My sister Ritu was married by the time I was seventeen. We may not meet often, given the distance between Deonar and Bandra, but we do talk at least once a day.
One of the reasons I starred in a wacky comedy like Housefull 2 was because I got a chance to act with Dabboo for the first time. To be able to spend time with him in London, where it was filmed, was a huge incentive. We had come together earlier to make Henna as a tribute to Papa, to give shape to his last dream.
All those experiences cemented our bond and made it even stronger. It is Dabboo who holds the family and the banner together. I worry a lot about Chimpu and feel sad that he has never been able to realize his true potential. He is the most talented of us and has an uncanny ear for music.
He plays the piano superbly without ever learning it. He did a commendable job as editor on my film Aa Ab Laut Chalen and could have been the best in the field, if only he had applied himself better. My sister Rima continues to be the life and soul of all family gettogethers. She is vivacious, has a great sense of humour and is great company when any of us falls sick. I have mentioned how she and I used to fight in the car on our way to and from school, and we continue to fight even now.
I am amazed at how she connects to people she knows more people than all of us put together. All through 14, we huddled together as a family to see Ritu through a major illness.
Although Ritu had her retinue of staff from Mumbai and Delhi, and brilliant doctors taking care of her, nothing could be a substitute for family. It requires a lot of inner strength to dedicate yourself to looking after an ailing family member. Rima has it in abundance. She was in the US for over a year, which was not easy on anybody. She was only able to see her after she returned to Delhi.
During the two years that Ritu was gravely ill, I realized what a brave person my sister is. She stoically bore the many days and nights of excruciating pain, the endless procedures. It was a time of terrible upheaval physical and emotional but she handled it with a rare courage. Seeing her deal with her illness has been an inspiration to us all. Ritu ultimately won the battle and returned to Delhi.
It was our strength as a family that saw us through that devastating time, and it is reassuring to know that even without Papa, our bond remains intact. I have a vault filled with priceless memories, and a unique vantage point since birth.
I have seen four generations of Kapoors at work from my grandfather, my father, uncles and brothers, to Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir. My inheritance does not include only the Kapoor legacy but also the great privilege of knowing huge marquee names, across several eras, stars most people have only admired from a distance. Even some of the actors linked to Prithvi Theatre, like Trilok Kapoor and Sapru, were distantly related to us.
Each one of them has enriched my life in untold ways. Families are of many kinds. Each had his unique style of acting and a distinct appeal, and all three had equally fanatical fan followings. Although they reigned concurrently, they shared an easy camaraderie. Their professional rivalry never spilled over into their personal lives.
Dilip Kumar, whose real name is Muhammad Yusuf Khan, has been like a father figure to me. There was always a lot of coming and going aana jaana, as we say between our homes. I had seen him work with my grandfather on the sets of Mughal-e-Azam. But beyond the personal, I have always been in awe of him. He was and remains a legend of Hindi cinema. So when I was offered my first chance to work in a film with Dilip Kumar, I was ecstatic. I have an awkward, disconcerting story from our days on the set of Duniya.
Dilip Kumar had got embroiled in a scandal during this time. His secret marriage to a lady named Asma was the talk of the town. What a study in contrasts they made. He was very eloquent. We had just stepped out of a place steeped in old-world culture and hospitality and landed straight into a room full of books on Hollywood and everything American.
You guys are looking damn good. You guys have girlfriends? Unfortunately, by then, he was ailing and thoroughly disoriented. Mom had to console him. Tears welled up in my eyes when she told us about it, thinking back to that time in the hospital as my father lay dying. I practically pleaded with, telling him that I wanted to begin my career as a director with him in my film, just as I had started my acting career working with him in Bobby.
He would be required to film for only six or seven days in Delhi and the weather would be lovely too. I reminded him of his long association with the RK banner and urged him to agree to the role. But he steadfastly refused. He said that if anything happened to him during the filming, he would not be able to face Raj Kapoor. Then he explained that his health was failing and if he succumbed to his illnesses midway through the shoot, the continuity would suffer and I would be left stranded.
I am getting on in years. Anything can happen to me anytime. Alok Nath played that role eventually. I have been privileged to live in the time of legends such as Pran and of having worked alongside them. I am constantly reminded of stories about their commitment, dedication and sense of honour qualities that are generally not associated with those in the movie business.
We do not all lead false and empty lives. Under all the tinsel and sparkle, there is heart and soul. Life has come full circle. So have many other actresses, including Raveena Tandon, whose father, Ravi Tandon, directed one of my biggest hits, Khel Khel Mein Then there are Pooja Bhatt and Alia Bhatt, whom I have known from birth and whom the entire film fraternity feels avuncular about.
I have very fond memories of my aunt Jennifer Jennifer Kendal , the British actor Shashi uncle married. Christmas was earmarked every year as a special day to spend with the half-British Kapoors. We would go to their house for a delicious Christmas lunch and Jennifer aunty would organize a treasure hunt for us, to find our presents. After she succumbed to cancer in and Shashi uncle withdrew into a shell, their son and my cousin, Kunal, has taken over the responsibility of organizing the Christmas get-togethers.
Kunal and I continue to have a great relationship. We get together for dinner occasionally and always have lots to talk about. There was a sizeable age difference between my father, the eldest of six children, and his brother Shammi Kapoor. There were two more children in between, Devi and Bindi, both of whom died in infancy.
One died of measles and the other ingested rat poison by accident. We were close to all our mamas and chachas, each of whom influenced us, especially Dabboo and me, in their own ways. Shammi uncle was our absolute favourite. He lived close to us in Deonar. He was not only a dynamic hero and a rebel star, but also vivacious in person. However, we got all the stardust we wanted from watching Shammi uncle.
He had such flamboyance, it was exhilarating. If I remember right, he once had two tiger cubs in a cage as pets. They had to be handed over to the zoo when they grew into adults, I think.
And what a treat it was to visit him! He had a projector at home and would show us his films when we went over. She regularly planned interesting picnics for all her nieces and nephews. Today, Chembur and Deonar are a concrete jungle. But there was a time when our house was surrounded by marsh and jungle.
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