Rishi Kapoor

  • Actor, Director, Producer

Sep 04, 1952  in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Also Known as: Chintu

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Rishi Kapoor was fondly known as Chintu in Bollywood by his peers and Chintuji, with respect by his juniors. Known for his uncensored innuendos on Twitter and in his interviews, Kapoor launched his biography called Khullam Khulla in 2017. The actor entertained audiences for 50 years with a career arc that starts from awkward teenager infatuated by his school teacher in Mera Naam Joker (1970), to impish 90-year-old in Kapoor and Sons (2016). He won a National Film Award for his debut role as a child actor for his father Raj Kapoor`s movie Mera Naam Joker. Though most of his films were multi-starrers and only 11 of his films as a single hero were successful, Rishi carved himself a niche with his romantic musical movies in the 70s and 80s. He withdrew from the silver screen in the 90s only to return with strong character roles in films such as Do Dooni Char and Agneepath among others. In April 2020, the veteran actor passed away.

Early Life
Rishi Kapoor was born to Krishna Malhotra, sister of actor Prem Nath, and Raj Kapoor on September 4th, 1952 in Chembur, Mumbai. He attended Campion School with his brothers. Fourth of the five siblings, Rishi grew up with two brothers and two sisters. While both his brothers, Randhir and Rajiv, are actors, his sisters Ritu Nanda and Rima Kapoor Jain are not part of the film industry.

Personal Life
Rishi married Bollywood actress Neetu Singh on the 22nd January 1980. Both Rishi and Neetu broke a million hearts when they confessed their love for each other as Rishi was the famous chocolate boy of Bollywood and Neetu, at the time, was the most sought after actress. Neetu quit the film industry after she got married to Rishi but she returned with Rishi as a couple after 30 years for the movie Love Aaj Kal, which was followed by Do Dooni Char and Besharam. Together, they have two children, Ranbir Kapoor, an actor, and Riddhima Kapoor Sahani, a designer who is married to Bharat Sahani.

Movie Career
After winning the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his work in his father Raj Kapoor`s 1970 drama Mera Naam Joker, Rishi Kapoor became a heartthrob overnight with the 1973 teen-romance Bobby, which marked Dimple Kapadia`s Bollywood debut. In an interview with DNA in 2012, he mentioned, "I landed in Bobby by default. There was a misconception that the film was made to launch me as an actor. The film was actually done to pay the debts of Mera Naam Joker. Dad wanted to make a teenage love story, and he did not have money to cast superstar Rajesh Khanna in the film. Moreover, he wanted a fresh face for the film because the script was very much hero-centric. By chance, I got the opportunity to play the lead and became a star by default. I am grateful to my dad for this." In 1974, Rishi won the Filmfare Award for this role, and in his biography, he admitted to buying the prestigious award under the category for which he was nominated alongside Amitabh Bachchan, who was nominated for the movie Zanjeer.

Rishi`s second release was the movie Zehreela Insaan with Moushumi Chatterjee and Neetu Singh, which was a remake of the 1972 Kannada movie Naagarahaavu. The movie was a box office failure, but the song `O _Hansini` sung by Kishore Kumar went on to be loved by the audiences. His 1975 releases Zinda Dil and Raaja failed to impress the audiences, however, Rafoo Chakkar, which was inspired by the American film Some Like it Hot, was a hit, while Khel Khel Mein opened to mixed, yet mainly positive, reviews. Rafoo Chakkar, which also starred Neetu Singh, is considered to be an important film as it was the first time in Bollywood that same-sex love was picturized in a light-hearted manner. After a series of flops in 1976 with movies like Rangila Ratan, Laila Majnu, Ginny Aur Johnny, and Barood, the year ended on a good note for the actor after he was cast in Yash Chopra`s Kabhie Kabhie, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee Gulzar, Shashi Kapoor, and Waheeda Rehman in leading roles. Amar Akbar Anthony, an action comedy based on the lives of three estranged brothers who are brought up in three different faiths, saw Rishi play the role of Akbar Allahabadi, a singer, in 1977. The movie went on to become a blockbuster and was the highest-grossing film of the year.

For his work in the 1979 drama Sargam, which marked Jaya Prada`s debut, Rishi won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. After a string of flops, Rishi played the lead in Subhash Ghai`s 1980 thriller Karz, which resurrected his career. The movie starring Simi Garewal and Tina Munim, was not only the highest-grossing movie of the year but is also best remembered for its hit songs like `Om Shanti Om` and `Dard-E-Dil`.

In 1982, he played the lead in the Raj Kapoor-directed movie, which was received with high critical acclaim, Prem Rog opposite Padmini Kolhapure, who won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, and Raj Kapoor won Best Director and Best Editor at the same award function. Despite the movie opening to positive reviews, Rishi only received the Filmfare Award nomination for Best Actor and, unfortunately, did not win it, which continued his unlucky streak at award ceremonies. He, next, played the supporting actor to Amitabh Bachchan in the 1983 movie Coolie. Two of his famous and hit films during the late 80`s were with the actress Sridevi in Nagina (1986) and Chandni (1989). Chandni is considered a monumental movie in Rishi`s acting career because it brought an end to Yash Chopra`s lean phase and demonstrated that Rishi was still a profitable hero to invest in. The 90s were not the best for Rishi`s career apart from the movies Henna (1991) and Bol Radha Bol (1992) that were solo hero hits, and ensemble cast films like Damini (1993) and Deewana (1992).

Although he signed Karobaar in roughly 1995, the movie only released after a five-year delay in 2000, after which Rishi became selective and revived his career with supporting roles in movies. His performance is movies Fanaa (2006), Namastey London (2007), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Agneepath (2012) and Kapoor and Sons (2016) have been received with immense critical acclaim. Rishi teamed along with his wife Neetu Singh in 2010 as the lead couple for the movie Do Dooni Chaar, which was well-accepted, and Anupama Chopra wrote, "It is a film with grace with inherent niceness and decency," but it was a below average grosser at the box office. Rishi was honored with the Filmfare Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 and the Screen Lifetime Achievement in 2016. He won the Filmfare Award and the Screen Award for Best Actor in Supporting Role for Kapoor and Sons in 2017. His last few released include Jhootha Kahin Ka and The Body.

As a Director
Under the RK Films banner, Kapoor directed the romantic drama Aa Ab Laut Chalen with Aishwarya Rai, Akshaye Khanna, and Rajesh Khanna in the lead in 1999. However, the movie did not perform well at the box office and was declared a flop.