Rishi Kapoor was a legendary Bollywood Actor. His magnificent acting career tells us his stature in the film industry. Starting his career with the film ‘Bobby’ in 1973, Rishi worked in more than 150 films. He is considered among the longest-lasting chocolate-faced heroes in Bollywood. Rediff
Rishi Kapoor was born on Thursday, 4 September 1952 (age 67 years; at the time of death) in Chembur, Bombay (now Mumbai), India. Rishi was nicknamed as “Chintoo” by his elder brother Randhir Kapoor. India Today Since childhood, he was very fond of acting and used to make laughing and crying expressions in front of the mirror.
He attended Campion School, Mumbai and Mayo College, Ajmer for his schooling. Rishi wasn’t good at studies, and he failed in 8th grade; Deccan Chronicle a fact that was revealed by his son, Ranbir Kapoor when in an interview, Ranbir said,
My family’s history isn’t that good. My father failed in 8th grade, my uncle in 9th and my grandfather in 6th. I am actually the most educated member in my family. I got 56 per cent in my 10th boards and my best of five percentage was 60.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 90 kg
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
Rishi Kapoor belonged to the famous Kapoor family of Bollywood. Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni Mehra were the grandparents of Rishi Kapoor. He was the third child of legendary filmmaker Raj Kapoor and Krishna Kapoor.
He had two brothers, Randhir Kapoor (Actor) and Rajiv Kapoor (Filmmaker), and two sisters, Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain.
Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor were his uncles, and Nandi, Devi, and Urmila Sial were his Aunts.
Relationships, Wife & Children
After five years of courtship, Rishi got married to Neetu Singh on 22 January 1980.
Reportedly, Rishi and Neetu got engaged to each other secretly while they had gone to attend a friend’s marriage.
According to Neetu, while Rishi was shooting for the Bollywood film, Barood (1976), he sent her a telegram in which he wrote –
Sikhni badi yaad aati hai.”
On 15 September 1980, his first child, Riddhima Kapoor was born, and his second child, Ranbir Kapoor (actor) was born on 28 September 1982. His daughter, Riddhima Kapoor is a designer and got married in 2006 to Bharat Sahni who is a businessman, and the couple has two children.
His first appearance in films was in the song “Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua” from the film “Shree 420” (1955).
Rishi Kapoor made his acting debut with the film Mera Naam Joker (1970) in which he played the role of “Young Raju.”
His first lead role came in the 1973 Bollywood film “Bobby” opposite Dimple Kapadia. The film did wonders at the box office. Amid the rumours that Bobby was used as a launchpad for Rishi, he clarified and said,
There was a misconception that the film was made to launch me as an actor. The film was actually made to pay the debts of Mera Naam Joker. Dad wanted to make a teenage love story and he did not have money to cast Rajesh Khanna in the film.”
After the success of Bobby, he went on to do many films; however, most of them flopped at the box office, and only a few became successful, Prem Rog (1982), Nagina (1986), Chandni (1989), Henna (1991), and Bol Radha Bol (1992).
After doing solo roles, he started his second inning in supporting roles and gave many performances in various films, such as Hum Tum (2004), Fanaa (2006), and Love Aaj Kal (2009). He appeared in a few Bollywood films alongside his wife Neetu, such as Love Aaj Kal, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), and Besharam (2010).
In 2007, he appeared in an English language film “Don’t Stop Dreaming” in which he played the role of “Groovy.” Rishi was such a versatile actor that when he played the role of “Rauf Lala” in the 2012 Bollywood film Agneepath starring Hrithik Roshan, he set a new benchmark for playing the antagonist in films.
Apart from acting, he also tried his hand in directing films, and in 1999, he directed “Aa Ab Laut Chalen” starring Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna. When asked about the reason why he decided to try his hand in direction, he said,
I wasn’t doing much I wasn’t signing films that excited me and I thought that it’s time to direct a film. My wife Neetu also egged me on to do so. That’s how it happened.”
When he appeared as “SP Jairaj Rawal” in Emraan Hashmi starrer film “The Body” (2019), it proved to be the last film of his career.
Awards, Honours, and Achievements
- 1974: Best Actor for Bobby
- 2008: Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2017: Best Supporting Actor for Kapoor & Sons
- 1970: Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards: Special Award, and National Film Award for Mera Naam Joker
- 2009: Honoured by the Russian Government for contribution to cinema
- 2010: Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Love Aaj Kal
- 2011: Zee Cine Awards: Best Lifetime Jodi along with Neetu Singh, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for Do Dooni Chaar
- 2013: The Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), Best Actor in a Negative Role for Agneepath
- 2016: Screen Lifetime Achievement Award, in the same year, he was felicitated at the opening ceremony of the 1st BRICS Film Festival by then Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod.
- 2017: Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor for Kapoor & Sons, Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male for Kapoor & Sons, Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Kapoor & Sons
- In 2015, his beef-eating remark on Twitter created a huge controversy. He was denounced heavily by the Hindu hardliners.
- In 2016, he criticized the Indian National Congress for naming public properties after the Gandhi dynasty through a tweet, and in retaliation, the Congress supporters named a public toilet after Rishi Kapoor.
- In 2016, Rishi created controversy again at actress Asin and Rahul Sharma’s marriage. Reportedly, Rishi was annoyed with the loud music and the lighting at a party at the marriage venue. Rahul Sharma had to intervene there. The party lasted only an hour after Rishi left.
- Food: Yakhni Pulao, Khatti Dal, Fish Fry, Paya
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Beverage: Black Label whisky
- In an interview, he revealed that previously, he used to be a chain smoker; however, he called it a quit after his daughter complained to him about it. Lehren Retro
- Rishi Kapoor was well known for his drinking habit, and he was often spotted enjoying alcoholic beverages on various occasions.
- He was the only actor in the Kapoor Family who had worked under the direction of his father Raj Kapoor and brothers, Randhir Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor.
- In his debut film, Bobby, there is a scene in which Rishi meets Dimple in her house at night, which was inspired by the real-life meeting of Raj Kapoor and Nargis.
- Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan both marked their presence in the film industry in the same year, i.e., 1973 – Rishi Kapoor with “Bobby,” and Amitabh with “Zanjeer.”
- The pair of Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan has given many commercially successful films, like Amar Akbar Anthony and Naseeb, and when the pair appeared in the 2018 Bollywood film “102 Not Out,” it was their reunion in films after a gap of 27 years. Interestingly, their age gap in the film was also 27 years. On Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor once said,
Amit is an incredible actor. Who will look at anyone else if he’s in the frame? All of us who accepted roles with him knew that we were at best supporting heroes — he was such a towering personality. But working with him was most enjoyable. I’ll always remember those days. He’s a fine actor.”
- In the film, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Rishi (character Akbar Illahabadi) called Neetu by her real name “Neetu” in the first scene. She was called by this name in the whole film.
- Initially, Neetu was irritated by Rishi Kapoor, but once, Neetu went abroad for her film shoot, and when she returned, Rishi went to her and said that he missed her. Neetu also missed Rishi. They fell in love and got married in 1980.
- He underwent depression for some time when his movie, Karz turned out to be a big flop.
- Rishi is considered as the original ‘Prince of Romance’ in Bollywood.
- He is also very popular in Nigeria, and people in Nigeria have nicknamed him, “Mace,” which means woman.
- His last film as a romantic actor was Karobaar: The Business of Love (2000).
- Reportedly, more than 20 Bollywood actresses made their debuts opposite him.
- Before Ranbir Kapoor’s “Towel Drop” act in his debut film Saawariya (2007), Rishi had already done the similar act in his debut film “Bobby” (1973).
- Rishi Kapoor was known for his active engagement on various social media platforms. Initially, he was not interested in social media, but it was Anushka Sharma and Abhishek Bachchan who had convinced him to join Twitter.
- On 15 January 2017, he released his autobiography, “Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored” in which he disclosed that to get the best actor award for his role in his debut film, ‘Bobby,’ he had paid Rs.30,000.
- In 2018, it was speculated that he had stage III cancer. However, his brother, Randhir Kapoor, rubbished the report and said,
Rishi himself doesn’t know what he’s suffering from. He has not even started undergoing tests there; how can people speculate that he has cancer and that too, one that has escalated to an advanced stage.”
- Rishi went to America for his health tests and was accompanied by his son Ranbir and wife Neetu, and he tweeted about this.