RIP, Rishi Kapoor. Very Instinctive, Very Politically Incorrect

Very Instinctive, Very Politically Incorrect

Deepa Gahlot pays a tribute to the just departed actor with whom she interacted frequently over the years

Plain-speaking was part of his nature, as his frequent scraps on Twitter over his politically incorrect posts proved. That, and the inability to humble brag like so many stars– Rishi Kapoor knew he was a fantastic actor, and an instinctive one at that–none of the Method techniques for him. Which is why he was immensely proud of his performance as a cash-strapped, middle-class teacher in Do Dooni Chaar. “I have never lived that life, yet I played him convincingly,” he said. He was disappointed that he didn’t get a National Award for that film, or for Kapoor & Sons and Mulk. He got one as a child actor for Mera Naam Joker, in which he played a young Raj Kapoor, but never as an adult, though he did win innumerable popular awards over the years.

“The media keeps calling me an underrated actor,” he grumbled, “yeh underrated kya hota hai? Either I am a good actor or I am not.”  There was never any doubt about his great talent, nor about his post-Bobby stardom. He said, with characteristic candour, that he was the only star who withstood Amitabh Bachchan’s Angry Young Man phase, and continued to play the romantic hero successfully, while other stars adapted to action or fell by the wayside. Later, he went on to do many films in parallel roles with Bachchan.

His performances were effortless– he could play cute (Bobby, Khel Khal Mein), intense (Doorsa Aadmi, Prem Rog), self-mocking (Luck By Chance, Chintuji), and, in that phase when his career got second wind, pure evil (Agneepath, D-Day).

The Kapoor family was studded with stars, and it was difficult to live up to that legacy; his brothers Randhir and Rajiv gave up after a few tries. But Rishi ‘Chintu’ Kapoor was a winner. After a career studded with memorable films, including several hits with wife Neetu Singh, he enjoyed being star dad to Ranbir Kapoor.

Rishi Kapoor, RIP.

About Deepa Gahlot

Deepa Gahlot is one of India’s seniormost and best-known entertainment journalists. A National Award-winning fim critic and author of several books on film and theatre, she has had an extremely successful run as head of theatre and film at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai, during which she helped nurture several original productions.

View all posts by Deepa Gahlot

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