Rishi Kapoor
Rishi Kapoor|IANS (File photo)
Arts & Entertainment

Actor Rishi Kapoor passes away at 67 after two-year battle with cancer

NetIndian News Network

Mumbai, April 30, 2020

Well-known Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor, who started out as a romantic hero with chocolate boy looks but evolved into a fine actor who essayed all kinds of roles and amassed a huge fan following, passed away at a hospital here this morning after a two-year battle with cancer.

He was 67. He is survived by his wife, Neetu Kapoor, an accomplished actress and his co-star in a dozen films, his son, Ranbir Kapoor, who is also a successful actor, and his daughter Riddhima Kapoor Sahani, a designer.

His death was announced by megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter. "He's GONE .. ! Rishi Kapoor .. gone .. just passed away .. I am destroyed !" Bachchan said in a post.

Later, the Kapoor family issued a statement, confirming the news.

"Our dear Rishi Kapoor passed away peacefull at 8.45 am IST in hospital today after a two-year battle with leukaemia. The doctors and medical staff at the hospital said he kept them entertainment to the last.

"He remained jovial and determined to live to the fullest, right through two years of treatment across two continents. Family, friends, food and films remained his focus and everyone who met him during this time was amazed at how he did not let his illness get the better of him.

"He was grateful for the love of his fans that poured in from the world over. In his passing, they would all understand that he would like to be remembered with a smile and not with tears.

"In this hour of personal loss, we also recognise the world is going through a very difficult and troubled time. There are numerous restrictions around movement and gathering in public. We would like to request all his fans and well-wishers and friends of the family to please respect the laws that are in force. He would not have it any other way," the statement added.

Kapoor, the second of the three sons of actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor, had been admitted to the Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital here yesterday after complaining that he was not feeling well.

"He is hospitalised. Neetu is by his side. He is not well," his elder brother and actor-filmmaker Randhir Kapoor had told the media in the early hours of today.

Rishi Kapoor was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and spent nearly a year in New York to undergo treatment. He returned to India in September 2019.

Kapoor, who was active on social media and often courted controversy with his outspoken views on current affairs, had not made any fresh posts after April 2.

In his last post on Twitter on April 2, he had appealed to people from all strata of society and all faiths to not resort to violence against doctors, nurses, paramedics and policemen who are in the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. He said they were endangering their lives to save people. "We have to win this coronavirus war together. Please. Jai Hind," he had said.

The news of Kapoor's death came just a day after the Hindi film industry lost another accomplished actor, Irrfan Khan, in the early hours of yesterday.

Rishi Raj Kapoor, whose nickname was Chintu, was born on September 4, 1952 in Mumbai to "showman" Raj Kapoor and Krishna Raj Kapoor. Apart from Randhir Kapoor, his siblings include Rajiv Kapoor, also an actor and filmmaker, and sisters Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain. He did his schooling with his brothers at Campion School, Mumbai and Mayo College, Ajmer.

Raj Kapoor and his brothers Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor were the sons of the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor and the Kapoor family is often referred to as the First Family of Bollywood. It was, inevitable, therefore that Rishi would follow their footsteps into filmdom.

His first appearance in a movie was in Raj Kapoor's Shree 420 in which he was seen with two other toddlers, walking in the rain in the the song, "Pyaar Hua, Iqraar Hua". He once said that Nargis, who acted opposite Raj Kapoor in that and many other films, had "bribed" him with some chocolate to do that scene.

He made his debut as a child artiste in his father's Mera Naam Joker in 1970 and received the National Film Award for his role.

His first lead role as an adult was in 1973 in Bobby, in which he was cast opposite another newcomer, Dimple Kapadia, and he won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for that role. The movie turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the decade and came as a morale booster for Raj Kapoor after his magnum opus Mera Naam Joker proved to be a financial disaster.

Rishi Kapoor went on to play the romantic lead in more than 50 films which included hits such as Laila Majnu, Rafoo Chakkar, Sargam, Karz, Prem Rog, Nagina, Chandni, Heena, Bol Radha Bol and Yeh Vaada Raha.

He also appeared in two-hero films and multi-starrers such as Khel Khel Mein, Kabhi Kabhi, Hum Kisise Kum Nahee, Amar Akbar Anthony, Pati Patni Aur Woh, Duniya Meri Jeb Mein, Badaltey Rishtey, Aap Ke Deewane, Sagar, Deewana, Damini, Gurudev, Daraar and Karobaar.

He bagged the Filmfare Critics Award for Do Dooni Chaar in 2011 and the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Kapoor & Sons in 2017. He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

In 1999, he directed the film Aa Ab Laut Chalen, starring Rajesh Khanna, Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna in the lead roles. He also acted in Henna, directed by his brother Randhir Kapoor and his father, Raj Kapoor, and in Prem Granth, a movie produced by the three Kapoor brothers (Rishi, Randhir and Rajiv Kapoor) and directed by Rajiv Kapoor.

By the turn of the century, he moved on to supporting roles and appeared in movies such as Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002), Hum Tum (2004), Fanaa (2006), Namastey London (2007), Love Aaj Kal (2009) and Patiala House (2010). He also appeared in the British films Don't Stop Dreaming (2007) and Sambar Salsa (2008). He reunited onscreen with his wife Neetu Singh in Do Dooni Chaar (2010).

He appeared as hiimself in the move Chintu Ji and played in a villainous role in Agneepath and in the multi-starrer Housefull 2, in which he

He also acted in the movie Chintu Ji in which he played himself. In 2012 he acted in a villainous role in Agneepath and in the multi-starrer Housefull 2 where he appeared with brother Randhir Kapoor for the first time after 'Khazana' in the mid-1980s. He made a cameo appearance in Yash Chopra's Jab Tak Hai Jaan along with his wife.

The 2018 comedy-drama 102 Not Out, directed by Umesh Shukla, brought Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor back together again after 27 years.

In 2019, he appeared in Jhootha Kahin Ka, a comedy-drama, and The Body, a mystery-thriller, with Emraan Hashmi. That was Rishi Kapoor's last-released film.

Rishi Kapoor married Neetu Singh on January 22, 1980.

His autobiography, Khullam Khulla: Rishi Kapoor Uncensored, written along with Meena Iyer, was published in January 2017.