- Actor, Director, Writer, Producer, Executive Producer, Screenplay
Feb 11, 1961 in Delhi, India
Feb 11, 1961 in Delhi, India
A noted thespian, writer, director, and producer, Rajat Kapoor is known for his work in both parallel and commercial cinema. Alumni of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Rajat started his career as a theater artist and when he found it difficult to find work in the cinema industry, he started writing and directing short films. After making his debut in the satirical comedy on prostitution and politics Mandi (1983), he rose to fame with his role in the experimental film Khayal Gattha (1989), which was written and directed by Kumar Shahani. The three-time National Award winner got his major break in the mainstream Bollywood cinema withDil Chahta Hai (2001). A few of his other popular films include Monsoon Wedding (2001), Mixed Doubles (2006), Corporate (2006), Bheja Fry (2007), That Girl in Yellow Boots (2010), Agent Vinod (2012), Ankhon Dekhi (2014) and Kapoor & Sons (2016). Apart from films, the actor has also work in the TV industry and a few of his popular TV appearances include the chat show Lounge and Rishtey.
Born in a Punjabi family, Rajat Kapoor grew up watching films with his family and by the age of 14, he had already decided to become a filmmaker. In 1983, Rajat Kapoor joined the theater group Chingari in Delhi to learn the nuances of acting before moving to Pune to study acting at the Film and Television Institute of India.
Rajat Kapoor tied the knot with Meena Agarwal, photographer and production designer in 1996. The two had met at a promotional event of an elite brand and Rajat fell in love with her. The couple has two children, a son named Vivan Kapoor and a daughter named Rabia Kapoor.
As an Actor
Rajat Kapoor started his career in the film industry with experimental films. In his debut film Mandi (1983), he played a small role as the son of a politician. The satirical comedy on prostitution and politics was written and directed by the stalwart director Shyam Benegal. The film featuring noted actors like Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, and Smita Patil was showcased at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 1984. Failing to make any mark with his debut film, the actor next starred in the experimental film Khayal Gatha (1989) directed by Kumar Shahani. The film, which traces the relationship of Khayal genre with Indian classical dance received international acclaim and received special appreciation at the Rotterdam Int’l Film Festival where it was screened in the main competition section.
Post-1989, the actor struggled to find work in the cine industry and so he started writing and directing short films. He got his break in a Bollywood film with Dil Chahta Hai (2001) where he played a small role as Mahesh, the uncle of one of the lead character played by Preity Zinta. The film also featuring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Sonali Kulkarni and Dimple Kapadia won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. After his debut, the actor collaborated with the internationally acclaimed director Mira Nair for Monsoon Wedding featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah, Vasundhara Das and Vijay Raaz in pivotal roles. The film won wide international appreciation and won the Golden Lion award and received a nomination for Golden Globe Award.
After the success of Monsoon Wedding, the actor over the next few years did mostly supporting roles in films like Kisna: The Warrior Poet (2005), Corporate (2006) before doing a lead in Bheja Fry (2007). The film, co-starring Vinay Pathak, Sarika and Ranvir Shorey received positive critical reviews and performed well at the box office. His next big release in a lead role was the Bollywood satire Phas Gaye Re Obama (2010), which was directed bySubhash Kapoor. The film co-starring Neha Dhupia, Manu Rishi, Sanjay Mishra and Amol Gupte receive wide positive critical reviews and it performed well at the box office.
In 2012, the actor once again collaborated with director Deepa Mehta for the Canadian-British film, Midnight’s Children, which was based on a novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie. The film featuring an ensemble cast including Shriya Saran, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shahana Goswami, Rahul Bose and Soha Ali Khan. Two years later, the actor starred alongside Seema Pahwa and Sanjay Mishra his own directorial venture Ankhon Dekhi (2014), which opened to immense critical appreciation and several laurels including three Filmfare Awards for Best Film (critics), and Best Story.
The actor next played a small role in the critically hit Drishyam (2015) starring Ajay Devgn, and Shriya Saran. The following year, he appeared in a supporting yet important role in the comedy-drama Kapoor & Sons where he played the father’s role of Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra. For his brilliant performance, he won a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Filmfare Awards. His 2017 release includes Mantra, a family drama directed by Nicholas Kharkongor.
As a Director
Rajat Kapoor who aspired to be a filmmaker since his teenage years, he made his directorial debut with the Short-film Tarana (1994), which won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film. He won his second National Film Award for Best Short Fiction film with his next short film Hypnothesis (1996). After the huge success of his short films, the actor-turned-director made his first Bollywood film, Raghu Romeo (2003), which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. His other popular directorial ventures include Mixed Doubles (2006), Mithya (2008) and Ankhon Dekhi (2014).
As a Producer
The actor-director made his production debut with Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi? (2009), a film that he also starred in alongside Neha Dhupia and Vinay Pathak. His other production ventures include Fatso! (2012) and The Owner (2012), a multi-director, international feature film.