Welcome Home, Chintuji, I Have Always Known You As A Conqueror, The Big C Was Too Small To Beat You Down
Ali Peter John
On this birthday of Mr. Rishi Kapoor or Chintuji as he is still known, I feel I should give him all the credit for making me believe that stars could also be human.
I first met him when he had just completed the shooting of his first film, “Bobby” and he gave me the feeling that he didn’t know what had happened to him and how he had grown into a star almost overnight.
My second meeting was when I was officially deputed to cover the holy festivities at R.K Studios. I was in for a surprise which later turned into a shock when Chintu ji and his friends physically lifted me and flung me into a pond full of coloured water. The shock was too much for me to bear and I tumbled in the pond and almost lost my breath and when Chintuji knew what had happened, he was the first one to pull me out, cover me with a large towel and then took me to the bar and made me gulp down a bottle of strong beer and I was normal again to Be a witness to the much talked about holy celebration at R.k Studio. We had become friends on that holi day…
He was busy shooting after the grand success of “Bobby” and was the most wanted young romantic hero after Dev Anand, he was doing several films at the same time but all of them being made with almost the same kind of subjects and only the heroines were changing. He had soon done nine films with Neetu Singh during which time, they fell in love and Chintuji ” cared a damn” for what people would say and what would happen to his romantic image and got married to Neetu Singh who became Neetu Kapoor and gave up on her career to look after Chintuji and his family to come.
From Dimple Kapadia to Divya Bharti and Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla , Sri Devi, Jaya Prada and down to some unknown actresses (21 in all). He was the eternal romantic all the way till he got “sick” of romancing the same girls in the same way and with the same kind of songs and dances and even the same kind of clothes and dialogues that he got bored of it all. He tried playing the action hero in a couple of films, but the distributors, financiers and producers wanted him as the romantic hero or didn’t want him at all.
He had now grown into a more angry young man than Amitabh Bachchan in his films, and decided to direct his first film, Aa ab laut chalein( incidentally, his father always wanted him to be a director, but had to give up his ambition for his son when his film, Mera Naam joker bombed at the Box Office and he had no money to sign the big stars and decided to cast Chintu ji as the hero in Bobby).
However, the film Chintuji directed with all his heart and with all the big stars failed to make any impact and Chintuji was left high and dry. He kept looking for new subjects for two years and when he still couldn’t find one , he was surrendering to his fate, when his friend the director Rahul Rawal asked him to try his luck as a character actor. The very first film he did as a character actor was called Mr. Chintu and then there was no looking back and he was considered one of the better known character who could play any kind of role. He found the opportunities to prove himself as a complete actor which he couldn’t do for more than 25 years.
The only rank bad film he did was Besharam. With his wife Neetu and son Ranbir.
He was at the peak of his career till he was 65 and developed some complications in his body,which was ultimately diagnosed as cancer. He has been under treatment for more than a year and has now been declared Cancer free and is expected to come back home soon and restart his career from where it had stopped.
He may have not loved what he was doing as a romantic hero, but he is the Rishi Kapoor as we all know today only because he was Rishi Kapoor, the romantic rebel who loved breaking rules and traditions, but was not given the right opportunities. Was Rishi Kapoor then a good actor or bad ? That is a very very heavy question which only time and genuine historians will pass judgement on
Incidentally, I find it both amusing and interesting to know that my friend Chintuji is still known as Chintuji inspite of being the father of Ranbir Kapoor Riddhima and her grandfather when he is only sixty-seven years young.
And as I complete writing this piece,there is good news. Rishi Kapoor,also known as Chintuji is back home after fighting a brave battle against cancer for more then 1year and is back to conquer the world which has been his world all his life.
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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Rishi Kapoor