Published on May 2nd, 2020 | by Sandeep Patil0
And then there was Rishi Kapoor
He always lived in shadows. He came to industry in the shadow of his father. There were two generations of Kapoors who had earned their name ahead of him – each in his own way. He had to come out of their shadows and create his own place. In his movies, the directors would mostly place a second hero alongside. Exception was movies made by RK films like Bobby and Prem Rog, made by Kapoors for one of their own… or occassionally a Karz or a Khoj or a Sargam here and there. Otherwise, for all his superhit movies, he had to share the stage with one or other top star… Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bacchan, Jitendra, Shashi Kapoor, even Sunny Deol.
But people did not measure his success on how many superhits did he carry on his own shoulders… that rule was for ordinary mortals! For this angelic actor, his charm was everything! His charm would grace his songs, his charm would blossom his heroines, his charm would blend in with the surrounding Himalayan or Alpine sceneries and his charm would match the colorful designs of his exotic sweaters! Everything his charm touched, was turned into gold! It was era of superstars like Amitabh Bacchan, Vinod Khanna and a fading Rajesh Khanna… stories used to be written solely for them… Rishi Kapoor was a different class. Not stories, but songs were written for him! And then to fill the gap between two songs, they would write some stories – his Bobby, Sagar, Hum kisise kum nahin, Jamane ko dikhana hai, Prem Rog, Chandani, Karz, Deewana… are all testimony to his musical success.
There is (or rather was) a class of heros which would make its living by flirting with the heroines in first few songs and running around the trees with them in the remaining other. Villians, gangstars, dacoits and fighting scenes were almost non-existant in their world. They were called the romantic heroes aka chocolate heros. Heroes like Dev Anand (the pioneer), Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna come in this class. They carried this tradition successfully, of delivering – the most beautiful songs, with most beautiful heroines, in the most beautiful locations – to the viewers. Rishi Kapoor was the last of these glorious princes and personally the most favorite of mine, because here’s a thing… although Dev, Shammi and Kaka ruled the romance all along, there was some small pinch of something still lacking. Dev Anand had more of an element of teasing his heroines and draw his pleasures off their pungent glances… Shammi kapoor would be too busy with his piercing looks, his emotional expressions and his and exclusively his dancing style… Rajesh Khanna would appear to be more in love with his own charms than the heroine paired opposite! And then there was Rishi kapoor!!!
It was only Rishi, Rishi and Rishi who knew so well how to treat his girl – with utmost attention, dignity and love – on the screen!!! It is hardly any surprise that the women in Rishi’s songs – Neetu, Sridevi, Dimple, Poonam, Padmini, Meenakshi – come out with their feminine best in his presence!!! The way he calls an unknown girl across the table as “Sagar jaisi ankhon wali”, it is but obvious that Dimple (and many more in the theater) will blush at those charms. The way he bows gracefully at Poonam in the song “Ye wada raha”, only one thing is imminent, that the next moment she is going to run in his arms.. I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t know in the movie if Poonam and Rishi were already in love when the song begins… but it seems secondary! Even if they were just acquaintances, but with that kind of advance from Rishi in the beginning of the song… I still cannot imagine what other choice Poonam had got… particularly that kind of song in the background! Let alone his big heroines, but while singing “Om Shanti Om”, he calls a random girl from audience at stage and again waltzs with her in such a graceful manner that for that odd half minute in the movie, she was the best woman in the world! My wish is that someday, someone does a video with Billey Joel’s “She’s always a woman to me” or Brayan Adam’s “love a woman” with some such special moments from the Rishi Kapoors songs in the foreground!
Now that the charmer has gone, only charm persists!