Well Chintu Ji, as he was warmly addressed in filmy circles, was a man with many shades. The chocolaty boy in his 30’s, to the recluse yet whacky person in his 60’s, he was all. One of the most intriguing facets about Rishi Kapoor happens to be his quality of acting, that distinguished him. He made his debut in the movies as a child artist in his father Raj Kapoor’s 1970 film Mera Naam Joker, and his first lead role was against Dimple Kapadia in 1973 with the film Bobby, which gave him his break into Bollywood. He last appeared in 102 Not Out, meanwhile, his romantic movies like Karz, Damini, Yeh Vaada Raha and Prem Rog are yet unmatched.
Raj in Bobby (1973)
During an interview about ‘Bobby’, Rishi exclaimed “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.”
His character Raj Nath made ladies swoon over him. The teenage love story was set against the backdrop of rich vs poor and was a trendsetter in the truest meaning of the word. Rishi Kapoor won the Filmfare award for best actor and his chemistry with actress Dimple Kapadia set the screen on fire.
Till today, one cannot just stop looking at his face which had eyes that cast a spell
Monty in Karz (1980)
This Subhash Ghai directorial was a reincarnation thriller and features Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim and Simi Garewal in the lead. While the movie featured the rebirth concept, Rishi’s lover boy image was liked by audiences. People witnessed Rishi’s irresistible charm as Monty.
As Shekhar Gupta in Damiani (1933)
Co-starring Meenakshi Seshadri and Sunny Deol, the film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi is considered as one of the actor’s finest works. In what went on to be considered as a cult feminist film, it saw Rishi play the role of a businessman who falls in love and marries Damini played by Meenakshi. However, things go awry when she witnesses her brother-in-law sexually assaulting their house help. With the family trying to cover up the assault, all roads finally take Damini to a drunken lawyer played by Sunny Deol.
Although there is no denying that Sunny had some hard-hitting dialogues, it was Rishi’s performance as a helpless husband that was best appreciated.
Dev in Prem Rog (1982)
In a poll by magazine Cosmopolitan, ‘Prem Rog’ featured as one of their top ten ‘Most Romantic Films Ever’. Treated as one of the best classics directed by the showman Raj Kapoor himself, ‘Prem Rog’ can drive you to tears and make you smile at the same time.
The soul of the movie lay with Chintu Kapoor, obviously. As Dev, the lover who sacrificed his love for a better life for (Rama), Rishi struck the right chords with the viewers. On learning that his forfeit did not ensure a better life for Rama, he takes steps to change her life from worse to good.
He depicted all shades of love, from being unable to express his love in the song, “Bhanware Ne Khilaya Phool” to the emotion of being separated from her in “Meri Qismat Men Tu Nahin Shayad”. His phenomenal acting earned him the Filmfare award for best actor.
Chaand in Heena (1991)
Directed by Rishi Kapoor’s brother actor Randhir Kapoor, this movie was a critical and commercial success. A love story between an Indian boy who accidentally reaches Pakistan and loses his memory was considered the most epic love story of all times.
As Chaand, Rishi Kapoor gives a convincing performance. He tells you that you need not be in your complete senses to experience affection towards someone. Even though, he gets entwined between cross border enmity his love doesn’t fade away.
Heena was India’s submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film that year and Chaand became the romantic hero who taught you the true meaning of love