The passing of an icon | HT Editorial – Editorials
When Rishi Kapoor first appeared on the big screen, playing a young student who fell in love with his teacher in Mera Naam Joker – His acting talent was highlighted and he won a national award. But he also evoked curiosity about his lineage: he was the son of Raj Kapoor and the grandson of Prithvi Raj Kapoor. Belonging to what many may consider the first family of Bombay cinema is what gave Rishi Kapoor the opportunity to enter the world of cinema.
But it is truly a testament to his acting prowess that Kapoor so quickly overcame this element of his identity. With Cop, and a variety of other romantic movies in the 1970s, emerged as a movie icon with its own independent identity, loved by fans, particularly women, and praised by critics for its time. He excelled in both films where he was the solo star, as well as several protagonists. But Kapoor’s greatest strength was his ability to evolve. After a difficult time in the 1990s and an indifferent attempt at directing, he found his niche, playing roles of characters of his age. Whether as the hero’s father or an elderly friend, or an underground gift, or a middle-class protagonist, or more powerfully, a Muslim in contemporary India (Mulk), Kapoor brought his distinctive touch to each role. Fans also got to know the man behind the actor through his open tweets in recent years.
The death of Kapoor, who had been battling cancer, on Thursday, and the outpouring of pain he caused is a testament to how much it meant to so many people. He has left an incredible body of work spanning almost five decades. But few things made him more proud than the success of his son, Ranbir Kapoor. The family tradition will continue, but Rishi Kapoor will remain apart.