Nobody can replace him: Family, friends remember Rishi Kapoor on third death anniversary

The veteran star passed away on April 30, 2020 after a battle with cancer


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Published: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 10:31 AM

For three decades, Rishi Kapoor personified the Bollywood romantic hero and on his third death anniversary, family, friends and collaborators reminisce about his “charm” and “endearing” personality.

Rishi Kapoor, who acted in films ranging from 1973’s Bobby to the political drama Mulk in 2018, died at the age of 67 on April 30, 2020 after a two-year battle with leukaemia.

For his son, Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, “nothing can prepare” a person for dealing with a void a parent’s demise creates in their lives.

“The biggest thing that happens in an individual’s life when you lose one of your parents. That really is something.... Especially when you’re nearing your 40s, that’s the time when something like this usually happens... But it brings the family closer. It makes you understand life. It makes you value your loved ones, priorities, what matters and doesn’t matter,” the 40-year-old had said in a recent interview.

Rishi with son Ranbir at the Khaleej Times office
Rishi with son Ranbir at the Khaleej Times office

When Rishi Kapoor was undergoing treatment for cancer, Ranbir said he was shooting for Brahmastra Part One: Shiva and Shamshera.

“When I see Brahmastra now, there are amazing memories, but there are certain scenes I see I get reminded of oh! At this time he was having his chemotherapy or at this time he was on a ventilator... So, there have been ups and downs... but that’s life,” the actor had said.

Rishi Kapoor’s colleague Jackie Shroff remembered him as one of the finest actors Indian cinema has ever seen.

“His charm, his twinkling eyes, his beautiful smile, were very endearing. There was a time when me and friends would hang around Mumbai’s Nepean Sea road, and I would meet him there. He was my favourite. He was so good. He was so good in romance, comedy, and emotion. He was one of the finest,” Shroff said.

Even though the two had starred in ensembles Azad Desh Ke Ghulam, Aurangzeb, Badman and Chalk n Duster, they never got a chance to share the screen.

“He would always say, ‘Jackie, we should do one film together’. I always waited,” Shroff added.

Rishi Kapoor, the third generation of the Kapoor dynasty that defined stardom in the Hindi film industry, was one of the few actors who could maintain their on screen image of a romantic hero for decades and worked with female stars from across generations.

His co-star from 1993 film Anmol, Manisha Koirala said they all used to address him as “Lord Chintu ji” on the sets.

“His level of freshness, energy and charm that he would bring,... The way he would dance, I don’t think anybody can replace him. In his later films, he was doing characters but he was performing brilliantly, so naturally. There is a huge space left after he has gone. I don’t think that can be filled with anybody else.”

“Rishi Kapoor was a natural born actor,” she added.

In his career, the cinema icon starred in love stories such as Laila Majnu, Rafoo Chakkar, Chandni, Henna and Saagar.

But he was more happy with his second innings as a character actor, which included films such as Do Dooni Chaar with wife Neetu Kapoor, Agneepath, Kapoor & Sons, Mulk and 102 Not Out .

Umesh Shukla, the director of 102 Not Out, said the actor would often check if the filmmaker and his crew knew their job well.

“Chintu ji was a very spontaneous actor who didn’t believe in rehearsals and workshops. He believed that when the script comes an actor should read that thoroughly,” Shukla said.

102 Not Out also marked the big screen reunion of Rishi Kapoor and megastar Amitabh Bachchan after 27 years. They had earlier starred in films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Kabhi Kabhie, Naseeb, Coolie and Ajooba.

Shukla said it was a delight to see both the stalwarts rehearse and perform together.

The 2018 film featured Bachchan in the role of a fun-loving 102-year-old friendly father with Rishi Kapoor playing his 75-year-old son. It was based on playwright Saumya Joshi’s popular Gujarati play of the same name.

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