RIP Rishi Kapoor: Lesser-known facts about the veteran actor
Bollywood's beloved Chintu, the plain-speaking, and the evergreen heartthrob Rishi Kapoor has left us, leaving a void in the entertainment world that won't ever be filled. Starting his career as a romantic hero in the 1970s and 80s to portraying some of the most memorable characters onscreen in recent years, Rishi had quite a journey. Here are some lesser-known facts about the legendary actor.
Born to Bollywood's showman Raj Kapoor, Rishi got the chance to start quite early in the movies. His first-ever silver screen appearance was as a toddler in the blockbuster song Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua in Shree 420. He then starred as young Raju in Raj Kapoor's iconic Mera Naam Joker. He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for this role.
Long before our generation met Ranbir Kapoor, it was his father Rishi, who won the title of the original chocolate boy of Bollywood. With his charming looks, he was a romantic hero from the word go. After adult Rishi debuted in Raj Kapoor's superhit romantic film Bobby, there was no looking back for him. Reportedly, he featured in more than 100 romantic movies.
Sure, Rishi was lovingly called Chintu by his colleagues. But he also had another nickname. Rishi had a Nigerian nickname "Mace," which means woman. And, it's not hard to guess why. He often dressed as a woman in many of his movies.
Before they developed a never-dying bond in real life, Rishi and his wife Neetu Singh enjoyed great onscreen chemistry. The two starred in various movies together such as Khel Khel Mein, Amar Akbar Anthony, Kabhie Kabhie, Doosra Aadmi, and others. The couple tied the knot in 1980. Rishi was 29 years old at the time.
Interestingly, in one scene of Amar Akbar Anthony, Rishi mistakenly called Neetu Singh by her real name. However, the mistake was deliberately left uncorrected and goof-up can still be seen in the movie.
Rishi did not shy away from experimenting. He also tried his luck at direction with Aa Ab Laut Chalen in 1999. The movie starred Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna in the lead. However, the film could not achieve commercial success. He also starred in an English-language movie Don't Stop Dreaming (2007), directed by Shammi Kapoor's son Aditya Raj Kapoor.
In his autobiography, Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored, which was published in 2017, Rishi revealed that he once bought a Best Actor Award for Rs. 30,000 the year Bobby released. However, he didn't have to continue the practice. The veteran won several awards throughout his career and was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
The role of the obsessive antagonist in Yash Chopra's Darr was initially offered to Rishi. However, the actor did not wish to play a baddie at the time. He was then offered Sunny Deol's role, but he rejected that too. Rishi then suggested his "smart and capable" Deewana co-star Shah Rukh Khan for the role. And, that's how SRK got the iconic role.