What Rishi Kapoor delivered in films like Mulk, Agneepath, D-Day, and Kapoor And Sons, can undoubtedly be placed above dozens of films he made in the 1970s and 1980s. He agreed. that Bollywood had yet to find a replacement for Rishi’s charm, chocolatier appearance and romantic image that he enjoyed in the prime of his career, but his transition to author-supported roles during his second innings gave it to him and the public. to enjoy the kind of weight that was missing all these years.
Rishi, who made his acting debut at the age of 15 in Mera Naam Joker (1970), became an overnight sensation with Bobby (1973). What followed was a filmography comprising hits of all genres like Khel Khel Mein, Kabhi Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, Kabhi Kabhi, Doosra Aadmi, Prem Rog, Heena, Damini, Bol Radha Bol, Deewana and several other.
Reflecting on his films, Rishi said at the Vadodara Literature Festival in 2017: “For the first 25 years of my career, I only sang and danced. In my second run, I have the chance to act.
In the early 2000s, he began to mature into father roles in films like Yeh Hai Jalwa, Hum Tum, Fanaa and Namastey London. But then they remained either extended cameos or supporting roles, rarely with meat.
What changed the game for Rishi Kapoor? Was it Love Aaj Kal or Dooni Chaar? Probably both, and a few other films he signed at the risk of the image he had created all this time. In Do Dooni Chaar, winner of the Habib Faisal National Prize, Rishi donned a character he had never chosen before: a middle-class school teacher struggling to keep his family happy and dreaming of buying a car. . Rishi made us laugh and cry at the same time in this delicious slice of life comedy. This earned him his first Critics Award for Best Actor.
“In my old avatar as a romantic hero, I never had to do homework … But what I didn’t do as a lead actor, I had to do as an artist. character and I have to admit I really enjoyed that “an excerpt from Rishi Kapoor’s autobiography – Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored reading.
In the revealing book, he confessed that the first role he prepared for was as Rauf Lala in Agneepath (2012). The character was the darkest he had ever played – a don from the underworld, a drug dealer who also ran a ruthless prostitution business. Kudos to producer Karan Johar and director Karan Malhotra for seeing past Rishi’s quintessential romantic hero and turning him into a cunning, rude villain with kohl-rimmed eyes. Despite being opposed to Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha Cheena, the central villain, Rishi Kapoor’s evil act impressed audiences.
I think his performance as a villain in Aurangzeb has remained underrated. Those who have seen his corrupt cop avatar will swear by his performance there. But Aurangzeb was eclipsed because of another film in the same year – D-Day (2013) where he played a don from the underworld with undertones of Dawood Ibrahim.
And just when we thought Rishi Kapoor was slipping into darker territory, Kapoor & Sons came in 2016, and we all fell in love with his Dadu, the 90-year-old grandfather who reminded us of The Strange. Benjamin Button story. Of course, Rishi had the same makeup artist Greg Cannom, who worked with Brad Pitt. Rishi’s dedication for his part was tested when he sat down for five hours every day to do his prosthetics. He once revealed that his makeup alone cost Rs 2 crore!
Rishi however confessed in his book Khullam Khulla, that Kapoor & Sons was not an easy walk as he didn’t like the way director Shakun Batra worked. “Shakun wanted to cover each shot from many different angles. But I’m an old school actor. My strength is spontaneity. I couldn’t recreate the same expression for all the shots. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it turned actors into robots. However, once the movie came out and the praise poured in, I had to admit that my anger was misplaced, ”he wrote.
Looking at it closely, when Rishi played the main hero, most of his roles were as a rich, romantic kid in a picturesque location or on the dance floor of a lavish club. They were all rich boy lovers, opposed to equally beautiful female roles. He was the face of the glittering world of mainstream Bollywood and, therefore, for the “ art-house ” filmmakers who wrote scripts around the real India, or a poor family in distress, Rishi was never in lice.
But this time, Rishi wasn’t in competition with anyone. Aside from a few, most of his contemporaries had retired from the theater, and the current cast of actors had to compete with Rishi’s son, Ranbir Kapoor.
“As I got older, the offers kept getting better. A lot of movies didn’t perform well, but I started to enjoy an unexpected benefit of being a character actor – I no longer had to take on the responsibility of making a movie at the box office. It was the leader’s burden. Instead, I might just love working in the movie and enjoying the performance that came to me, ”Rishi confessed.
Even though he had a starring role in a movie like 102 Not Out, there was a difference. Here he reunited with his co-star Amitabh Bachchan after two decades. As a heartbroken son, suffering from his own pain, he had less dialogue than Big B, but his body language and expressions were scene stealers. It was a perfect act, so to speak.
One movie that can be called the highlight of his career, something that was destined to come to him, was Mulk. Murad Ali Mohammed can be classified as a dream role, and Rishi dove into his role with dedication. Murad did not cry innocent. He was gentle, but energetic. Leading a personal but relevant battle, he gave a sensitive and nuanced performance, totally rewarded.
“I also have a high price as a character actor, but the filmmakers have been more than willing to pay it. In return, they get a very sincere, professional actor and give them what they want in front of the camera, ”he adds frankly in his autobiography.
With the exception of films like Housefull 2, Student of the Year, Chashme Baddoor, Shuddh Desi Romance, All Is Well and Bewakoofiyaan, where he played playful supporting characters, Rishi Kapoor 2.0 was a force to be reckoned with at Bollywood. He came, he saw, and he conquered with much more enthusiasm, and we all continue to dwell on the magic he deployed on screen in his later phase. His characters will remain a reference and forever engraved in our minds.
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